Thursday, March 31, 2016

Creating A Custom Chair: Part II, Prep

Dismantled Chair
Photo: P. MacLeod

Part II of the chair transformation focuses on prepping the bones for an update.

For the first step, I took off the upholstery. I used the following tools:
  • Box cutter
  • Flat head screw driver
  • Needle-nosed pliers
Using the box cutter, I cut into the upholstery along the piping line of the "V" on the front and back. Removing the padding was simple, but the piping was stapled into the wood, so I pried the staples, one-by-one, with a flat-head screw driver, and pulled them out with the pliers. This was slow going. 

Then I turned my attention to the seat. I removed the seat from the chair, and did the same thing as before. But this time, there were three layers of stapled material. Staples are sharp, and yeah, I got a little boo-boo and a blister. 

Right after I finished removing all of that, I took a trip to the library and checked out a couple of books about reupholstering furniture. I should have done that first. There are real tools for taking out staples that do a much better job than a screw driver and pliers. I went to Amazon for upholstery tools and made an order for:
  • Staple lifter
  • Tack lifter
  • Electric staple gun
  • Staples
Those are the basic tools for what I need now. Having the staple and tack lifters would have made the chore of removing all of those staples much easier and would have prevented this lovely blister.

I also bought a copy of "Spruce: A Step-by-Step Guide to Upholstery and Design." Spruce is an Austin, TX, based upholstery company. I love the projects and material choices in this book. It's very fun and colorful. (When I turn my attention to recovering those fabulous antique chairs I bought at The Scrap Exchange, I will have to add some more tools and supplies. See Part 1: Creating a Custom Chair.)

After I finished taking off the upholstery, I began sanding. I need to get just enough of the finish off so that when I prime it, the coverage will be even and none of the dark color will come through.

I used an electric sander for most of the work, but there were places where the sander wouldn't fit, so I worked those areas by hand.

Sanded chair
Photo: P. MacLeod

Water-based Kilz is my go-to for primer. I like that it is odorless and clean-up can be done with water. I will prim all of the exposed wood, but not the area for the mosaic. I'll prime that with a water-based polyurethane sealer, like Minwax.

Now that the prep is complete, it's time for Fun Part I: Mosaic Inset.

May all of your scores run true!

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