Repadding a drop seat dining chair

A dining chair is subjected to a lair amount of wear and will eventually become flattened and need a new cover. Repadding and recovering this type of chair is a relatively straightforward job. It is likely the wood frame will have lost all its natural oils through years spent in a heated home and will be liable to split unless handled with care. When you are stripping off the old cover, carefully push an old wide-bladed screwdriver or an upholsterer’s ripping chisel under each tack and ease it out with the aid of a mallet; make sure you work with the grain of the wood to avoid knocking out tiny pieces or splitting the frame. When you have removed all the tacks, clean up the frame with medium fine glasspaper and check for cracks and woodworm. Treat woodworm with a proprietary brand of woodworm killer and fill any cracks with plastic wood. If the chair has been reupholstered a number of times, there may be a lot of tack holes; it is best to fill the larger ones with plastic wood to give the frame extra strength.

Repadding the seat
A sagging seat usually results from damaged webbing or a broken plywood base; or the padding may have flattened through wear. Loose webbing should be replaced and covered with hessian as described earlier in the book. Traditional hair and left padding can be put back into shape if the hair has not become too knotted. Remove the felt layer first, then break up any large lumps of hair with your hands, distributing them evenly, and wash them in warm water. You may need more hair to build up the padding if it is old; this is fairly difficult to obtain and it may be easier to replace this type of padding with polyester foam.

Foam padding
Use a medium-to-high density foam for replacing old stuffing; a type which is 25mm thick would be most suitable. Carefully measure the frame seat and, using a sharp knife, cut a piece of foam which is slightly larger all round to ensure a good fit. Most dining chairs look better for a slightly raised effect and you can achieve this by sticking a piece of 13mm thick foam, about 75mm smaller all round, on the underside of the main piece in the centre. Attach the foam directly to the frame by gluing