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Restoring Chairs

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In my dining room I have some rather smart Oak chairs which are now getting on for 20 years old. After about 15 years they became squeaky, the leather started cracking/fraying and subsequently the joints have started coming part  :Doh: The idea of having to find some replacement that I liked was not something I wanted to do so time to work in the brown stuff  and learn how to do upholstery  :facepalm2:

This is one of the 6 chairs:

Fist job is to pull it apart  :paranoia: Some joints have already broken the others will need the glue softened using some white vinegar or acetone. The seperating task was carried out by using two spreader clamps to pull the chair apart which required a special 30/60 degree cut away in a couple of pieces of plastic to provide a flat surface for spreading against the back legs and remembering to number the joints:

At this stage each joint has to have all the glue scraped off as glue does not stick to glue  :ShakeHead: And give the acetone or vinegar plenty of time to evaporate off.  In the meantime I ordered some new fangled wood glue only to find that the new stuff only has a 12 months shelf life  :o my old Bostik W has no such date but lets play safe use the new stuff  :ThumbsUp:

Clamping back together:

Wait 48 hours before taking the clamps off:

I am at this stage with two of the wobbly chairs and have just taken apart a third so time to look into the upholstery:

The seat is a soft leather it reminds me of an old leather jacket motorcycle jacket I once had so it could be shearling but its had it  :-\ I have purchased some good quality leatherette the sort that is used for Car upholstery. This of course came folded up so had to be hung in the sun or warmed with a hair dryer to remove the creases. I have ordered replacement Upholstery webbing  and some Corovin Lining material and am waiting for those to turn up...

In the meantime I can report pulling the staples out of the bottom of the seat is sooooo much fun  :ShakeHead:

That is where I am as of today in this restoration job  :)


Very interesting restoration job, Jo!   :ThumbsUp: :popcorn:


Hello Jo,

Nice work on the dinning room chairs. But the fun will have worn off by the time you have done all 6.

In the past I have found an industrial quality upholstery stapler is essential for attaching the leather cover to the hard (oak ?) seat frames. Manual staplers don't seem have quite enough clout and they are tough on your wrists.

You may wish to consider something like a 'Clarke CSG1C Air Staple Gun - 3110375' from e-bay for about 40 and a box of 6 or 8mm long upholstery staples. Please note; I have no connection or business interests with e-bay, just an ordinary customer.



Thanks Kim and Mike,

I did consider an electric or air stapler but have been talked out of using one by a professional Upholsterer. Lesley advised me that they push the staples too far into the seat frame and you will never get them out again. Her advice was to use a hand stapler with the staples that end in a sharp point (ceiltile staples) and finish them with a pin hammer.  I've tried it and it works  :ThumbsUp:


If you want  more practice  taking out staples, I have three more kitchen chairs that I  am in the middle of  replacing the  foam in... 12 trillion staples holding the cloth covers on...


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