The Point of No Return

The Point of No Return

I’m back in action! After some time off from projects after the master bath makeover (that was finished in July) I’ve got a couple of projects in the works. It feels nice to be working on some creative projects. I’m currently working on a project that has been sitting in my garage for almost 3 years….but better late than never, right!?

When it comes to life and DIYing you never know what you’re gonna find until you start opening something up. And that’s exactly how this chair restoration project started. I don’t do uncertainty. It’s probably the biggest cause of stress in my life. I fear the unknown on how things will play out. I like to be able to predict the possible scenarios and have a plan of attack for each one.

Living on Saltwater - Chair Upholstery

This chair was my great-grand mother’s. It’s probably 40-50 years old. I vaguely remember it being in my room, for a short time, when I was growing up. But it’s spent most of its life, since then, in my parent’s attic and most recently my garage. All I can say is, green and white polka-dot…….UGGH. To top it off the material is a vinyl texture. It’s pretty awful. But the chair has good bones; I love the heart shaped back. My plan was to reupholster it but once I started stripping it down it became a much bigger project……

To remove all of the “fabric” I pretty much had to take it all the way down to the frame and the springs. All of the cotton batting, tack strips, edge molding, etc had to be removed. The guts of the chair were pretty worn and seemed old. I don’t know what I was expecting, I’ve never opened up a chair before, but it all seemed kinda gross. The bottom “cushion” was cotton batting and this fiber mesh stuff. All I could think was “WTF is this shit!?” After some research I discovered it’s rubberized horse/hog hair…… kinda gross.

Right now the chair is pretty much down to the wood frame. I left the jute webbing intact for the chair back. It seemed to be in pretty good shape and didn’t see any reason to replace it. The wood frame needed some TLC. In the front the leg joint on one side was separated from the frame and in the back some of the wood was split. I put the leg back together with a few taps with a wood mallet and glued the split pieces back with some clamps.

Living on Saltwater - Chair Upholstery

I’ve ordered a bunch of supplies to start the restoration process from an upholstery site: Tact strips, cotton batting, edge molding, and even some new rubberized horse/hog hair. I was going to go with a piece of foam instead of the rubberized product but decided against it. It does gross me out to think about this stuff, but I’ll get over it. I still need to decide on fabric, but I’m in a holding pattern right now until my supplies come in. I think picking fabric can be more difficult than paint colors sometimes. I want something classic that isn’t too trendy and that will go out of style in the near future. I DO NOT want to redo this chair again.

This project is way more than I bargained for. And to be honest, I have zero experience upholstering anything. So here I am wingin it with this project. Part of me thinks I should have outsourced this, but a couple of years ago I got a quote from a local refinishing company for this chair. It was $300 plus the cost of fabric. I felt this chair wasn’t worth $300, but after seeing everything involved I understand the cost. I still wouldn’t put $300 into this chair. We’ll see how this goes; it might be a one and done with upholstery DIY. But I’ve said that before with other projects too, ha.

On a side note, when I think of “wingin it” for some reason the Carlton dance always appears in my mind…….

Living on Saltwater - Chair Upholstery Wingin It

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