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Friday, July 26, 2013

DIY Upholstery - Tips for Stripping Your Furniture!

I am finally getting around to my bedroom chairs. 
 I showed you these chairs here.  
Do you remember them?  

They have beautiful lines and wood trim.  I really like the shell back. 
 But they were a little worn. 
Let me show you a close up of the nasty, dirty fabric.  
Enough said!

I look for soundly built pieces, and these chairs were no exception.  The padding was still good and it wasn't rickety at all.  
These are my second attempt at major reupholstering.  
Check out my first here.  
The shell backs on these chairs really had me the most concerned.  
I wasn't really sure how that was going to be done.  
This brings me to
  Tip #1:  Study your furniture piece.
This may sound weird, but it helps.  Look at it closely and try to determined how it was put together and in what order you should dismantle it in. 
 (You could just rip it out willy nilly, but I use the pieces as patterns and use the dismantle process as a teaching tool of how to put it back together.
 I swear I took these chairs apart 100 times in my head!!
Tip #2:  Take it apart carefully starting with the top layer.
By top layer I mean the layer that nothing else is covering.  Usually that is on the bottom.  For my chairs I had to unscrew the wooden decorative pieces first.  Then the black mesh material I call a dust protector.  After each layer you can determine which layer comes next.  

After my last chair I was prepared to take out the millions on staples.  But I soon found that because this was an old chair they used small nails or tacks.  
Not sure which I hate more staples or tacks? 
 I think it's tacks.  
Tip #3:  Take lots of pictures!
I can not say this enough!  
You think you will remember how everything goes back together, 
but you won't!!  
I like to take pictures of the little details of how each piece was attached.  You will have a million pictures, but you will thank me later!!

Tip #4: Take notes along the way.  
I found places that were going to be sewn by hand, and little tricks along the way.  Just jot down things that you want to remember or things that seemed out of the ordinary.

Here is my naked chair already to recover.
It took me 3 hours and 45 minutes to totally strip one chair! 
But patience is a virtue!  
And it makes the reconstruction much easier!!

What do you think?  Will I be able to get this thing back together?
Be back soon to tell you how to estimate how much yardage you will need!  
Thanks for stopping by!


Kala said...

I can't wait to see how you go about recovering these chairs. My Grandmother has two that I am due to inherit. One I think is almost identical to yours except a different color fabric and the other is just slightly different but they go together well, both have the shell backs. I've thought about recovering them one day when they are mine but was worried it would be too big of a task.

PneumaticAddict said...

My hat is off to you! That's ambitious! I will definitely be looking forward to the post on estimating yardage. I suck in that department and always buy WAY too much, therefore spending too much.

Cristina Garay said...

Oh yes! I know you can put it back together and more :) I've already witnessed your work! I have a couple of chairs I need to do almost the same thing but I've been a bit scare to begin that job! They are my first ones. I'll be following your progress and tips.

Unknown said...

I have reupholstered several chairs, all old, all in good shape. I can say that I despise staples with a passion! grrrr! Tacks? Not so much, but only because there is a special TOOL involved! I believe I bought it (eons ago) in the upholstery dept of my local fabric store. The tool looks just like a screwdriver, but instead of a flat tip, has a V on the tip!!! It may sound odd, but the V is the perfect thing because it cradles the tack and the slight curve of the shaft gives you leverage to rock the tack out of the wood. I would love to meet the person that designed this tool because I would kiss them! It made pliers and a flat tip screwdriver my secondary tools, and only when I have to dig something out! I don't know if you'll find this helpful, but I hope you do! Best of luck, can't wait for the chair reveal! Thanks for all your hard work and for sharing it with us.