My first upholstery project

It had been a while since my last significant hands-on project, when I refinished a
table I inherited from my grandpa
. I figured I could use a padded bench/ottoman kind of thing. And I dove right in. This was my first attempt at any kind of upholstery. I got the original bench on the cheap from an antiques store. It was hideous, but I saw potential:

stripes + gold tassel fringe really ain’t my thing. First step, strip
all of that junk off of the frame. The previous owner/builder really half-assed
the internal seat support, and the frame itself:

After I added a few metal brackets to reinforce the frame, I
installed new jute webbing with some 5/8″ upholstery tacks. The webbing with the red stripe is stronger than the black-striped rolls, FYI, and hence better for areas that bear weight. I also made some
rookie mistakes at one ends by not weaving first. Whoops:

After that, I covered it with some burlap to help reduce wear and tear, and stapled it down:

I added some dense, firm foam as the bottom layer for the seat, and reused the previous
main cushion, which was still in decent shape (which also saved me another
$50-70, give or take). Both of those pads were attached to the base and
to each other with some spray adhesive:

For a little extra give, the bench gets swaddled in a few strategically-placed layers soft batting (focusing on the top of the seat and the corners of the frame), also affixed with some spray adhesive:

I completely forgot to take pictures of the final fabric-covering stage, but
basically it’s more staples and more tacks, with a little tugging and
tucking here and there to make sure the fabric is lined up correctly.
Like military bed-making, but permanent. Finished it off with a dust
cover underneath…

…et voilà!:

This simple project didn’t offer any special technical challenges, but it did provide some insight into how much of a pain in the ass it is to do a great job. So much of the material and so much of the effort is hidden when you’re all done. Shout-out to my mom, who I’ve seen refurbish
and reupholster about a million pieces of furniture, and who gave me a
great guidebook and some specialty tools that probably saved me 300-400 hours of tears and
frustration. I want to do this again.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s