Monday, December 27, 2010

Recover a Chair … Christmas Project Mark II (Photographed by F300EXR)

I posted the other day about recovering my dining room chairs. My first chair came out pretty decent … I’ll reprise the image here (shot with the D700 in case you care):


So the next chair in line is that one behind chair number one. It also has issues with the front of the foam, having been crushed into a misshapen mess as was chair number one.

This time, I have the F300EXR on my shaky spare tripod waiting to capture the whole process. So, you start by looking at the horrid chair close up to give yourself the resolve to staple and staple and staple :-) …


Yuck … time to get to work. This chair has only two screws holding the seat to the frame, so remove them first.


Leave the seat with the bottom up and remove the muslin that finishes the bottom. I use a pair of wire nippers that I find work just great, You need to develop a technique though, as you need to grab the staple and give it a bit of a twist, which raises one end or the middle, depending on where you grab. Then release and grab again, leveraging it out of the wood. Takes very little effort once you get the hang of it.


Next, I add the batting. In this case, two thicknesses for reasons previously explained.


Now, obviously I will lay the batting on the back of the cover (which has been cut to size) which itself is face down. Then I lay the seat with the foam down on the batting. Take your time and don’t get confused.

Now, you follow the directions as given on pretty much every article and video. You staple each side after pulling it taught. Front, back, left, right. Once that is done, you can proceed to staple each side until you get close to the corners.

I eventually realized that the whole point of this step is to get a nice even look down each side, and to do that, you need to pull slightly away from existing staples and towards the other side. Just until things look perfectly aligned at the edge (i.e. same curve all along.) I use my thumb then to pin the cloth down and add two rose of stapled, usually two and two on the end of the existing staples. This gives me an inch and a bit for each quad of staples. That works really well for me.

Here is how the staple rows look …


And here is how the whole thing looks when done.


You can see the severe bunching around the corners. That’s just how it goes. What you have to do, and I really screwed the pooch on this with chair number one, is pull slightly away from the corner towards the next corner, folding the fabric slightly and stapling it down. You need to ensure that the fold does not start on the side. This is fiddly work, but well worth the slight extra time it takes to get it right.

Now you trim the excess cloth and thins look a whole lot better.


A close up of the corner:


Now we reinstall the muslin with staples about 3/4” apart … maybe an inch. On this chair, I replaced the label on the bottom to make sure that it is understood to be Italian furniture if I choose to sell the suite in the future.


Looks pretty professional now. And the seat looks just great. I’m very pleased, and if I had any energy at all I would redo chair number one :-)


Once installed, chair number two (rear) looks a lot better than chair number one … but not enough to justify a redo.


I must admit that it gets easier after you have done one. The second was a smooth operation with a pretty decent pace (although it took about an hour) … but the second result is also much better shaped and much cleaner of line.

So definitely try it out. It’s really not difficult. In fact, I had far more difficulty with my stapler than with anything to do with the actual recovering operation. I’m gonna head out to acquire a new stapler after dinner …. I really cannot stand a stapler that takes 20 staples to get it’s head straight every time I refill it (and I use almost four rows of staples per chair) …

This last image was shot in black and white right in the camera. There is almost no processing on this shot. The F300EXR captured this series very nicely in my opinion. Very detailed, which comes from low ISO on tripod.

No comments: