Fixing the Dining Room Chair Seats – Part One

The dining room chairs are vintage, maybe even antique, but they’re still useful.

Carved cane-back antique chairs - set of four
Carved cane-back antique chairs – set of four

Or they would be useful if the seats were repaired.

There were a lot of ancient tacks to pull.
There were a lot of ancient tacks to pull.

Last week I got together all the supplies to repair the chairs but was having difficulty removing the old tacks of which there were many.

Layers of the old chair cushions include cotton batting, excelsior, webbing, and burlap.
Layers of the old chair cushions include cotton batting, horse hair, webbing, and burlap.

Taking the old seats apart was really holding me up until a friend said that’s the kind of mindless work she liked to do.  So I let her take apart 3 of the 4 cushions. I’m keeping the 4th one in tact to make sure I know how to put them back together.

The cushion frames have corresponding Roman numerals pressed into the undersides.
The cushion frames have corresponding Roman numerals pressed into the undersides.

The cushions are marked with Roman numerals to identify to which chair frame they belong and I marked top and bottom just to be sure I got it right.

The first staples go into the jute webbing held in the opposite direction from its ultimate position.
The first staples go into the jute webbing held in the opposite direction from its ultimate position.

The process starts with laying a piece of jute webbing on the top of the frame. Then staple the webbing to the frame and wrap it back over itself. Staple again.

The webbing is stapled in two layers.
The webbing is stapled in two layers.

Stretch it taut across the frame and repeat the stapling process.

Cushion top
Cushion top

Fill the frame both vertically and horizontally, weaving the strips as you go along.

The underside of the cushion.
The underside of the cushion.

I filled the first frame with 3 vertical and 3 horizontal strips.

This frame looks like it was made from an old crate.
This frame looks like it was made from an old crate.

I used only 2 horizontal strips on subsequent frames to reduce the bulk and the amount of webbing necessary.

The first cushion definitely the "learner".
The first cushion definitely the “learner”.

Having almost finished a prototype I plan to finish applying all the webbing before proceeding with additional steps of adding padding and top fabric.

What’s your latest DIY project?

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Author: Jo

Welcome to The Glade, where the second generation of renovations has just begun and the mania about our home, music and other passions fill our days and nights. We’re Charlie and Jo in the music world; Mary Jo and Charles to family; and JoJo and Charlie to each other. We are renovating a midcentury house in a Victorian historic district where we want to live there the rest of our lives. It's a 1946 house located in Maryland. We were married in this house. Thus far (pre-blog) we refinished cabinets, added a window seat (still working on the cushion), rearranged a wall in the guest house due to sink/vanity replacement, planted a vegetable garden, and other quick and not-so-quick fixes. So this latest zeal for construction is the result of my having lived here since 1997 and feeling a need to ready the house for the next chapter and beyond.

8 thoughts on “Fixing the Dining Room Chair Seats – Part One”

  1. Nice job! It’s fantastic to see all of your projects. I have a lot in my head, but what I’m mostly thinking about at this point is the next nursery. And a few sewing and furniture projects that I’d like to finish before I have another year of no time…

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