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Brief History Of Upholstery
Tools And Workshop Requirements
Types And Styles Of Frames
Springs And Spring Units
Stuffing Materials
Cover Materials
Measuring, Cutting, And Preparing Covers
Basic Principles Of
Types Of Stitched Edges And Fronts
Making An Easy Chair With Cushion Seat
The Arm
The Back
The Seat
Second Stuffing-Calico Covers
Pin-Cushion Seat-Stools
Dining-Chairs-Loose Seats
Cable Springing And Latex Cushions
Occasional Chair-Cable Sprung
A Bedroom Chair
Modern Tensile-Sprung Easy-Chair
Adaptable Settee Unit
Upholstery Repairs
Upholstery Terminology

Making An Easy Chair - The Back

( Originally Published 1961 )

As this is going to be a sprung back the webbing will be put on the outside of the rails. There will be four webs vertically and four across from side to side. The vertical webbing is to be done first and tacked on to the tacking rail of course and not taken down to the base rails. Anchor to the tacking rail first, using again five tacks for each web. It will be found helpful to rest something under this rail when tacking on the webbing to prevent `springiness' when striking the tacks. And here is a rather belated tip regarding using web rolls. It will be found easier to use the outside end and the inside end of the webbing, and this will also give you two ends to work from at a time. Having anchored the vertical webs, stretch towards the top rail and secure with four tacks on each length. Cut off the roll, allowing an inch for hem, and the additional two tacks keep it down. The side webs are then stretched, not forgetting to interlace them. The frame should be on the floor, resting on its facings, during this job.

The webbing finished, the chair can go back on the trestles on its back ready to commence the springing. A spring layout for a chair of this type could be six springs of 6 in. x 12 gauge and three of 6 in. x 10 gauge. These will be suitable but there is no reason why more shouldn't be used but of a lighter gauge. There are some upholsterers who use the above number of springs with a modification of the lacing. They lightly lace through the centre rungs ofthe bottom row and the centre row whilst the top row is pulled towards the top rail with a twine anchored to the top rail, passed over the second and third rungs and returned to be tacked off. This method enables one to retain a softer back, the sewing of the springs to the canvas being considered sufficient to hold them in place considering the lesser strain on the back. However, there are others who prefer a softer spring and a full lacing as in the seat. Place the six 12-gauge springs at the top and centre and the three 10-gauge on the lower web. Sew in these springs in the same way as detailed in a previous chapter on springing, catching each coil three times and securing with a knot at each point. It is sometimes the practice to merely catch the springs to the webbing until they are all sewn in, and then tighten the whole length of twine and then knot it. This appears quite satisfactory when first done but with consequent wear it is surprising how loose the springs get. This naturally detracts from the sound foundation.

The springs are then laced fully but with a much lighter touch than when lacing a seat. The `lean' of the top and bottom row springs is very slight. Tack the lacing cord on to the bottom tacking rail, allowing a return of twine to pull the top rung into place and proceed to lace the vertical rows. When ready to anchor the cord just take the strain but do not pull taut as in the seat springing. The side lacing is merely to keep the rows straight.

A piece of spring canvas or burlap is now tacked completely over the springing with a hem all round. Use needle and medium twine again to sew the canvas on to the top rungs of the springs. This is caught also at three points on each top rung and knotted. If one has chosen to lace only lightly as mentioned earlier then a little positioning of the springs may be necessary. This is done by just pushing them into place through the top of the canvas.

Now we are ready for the bridling, and this will require three or four vertical rows inserted in the same manner as for the arms. Two bridles along the top rail will also be needed. The fibre is worked under the bridles until the whole of the back is covered and a firm stuffing is achieved ready for the scrim. The base of the back should carry a little more fibre than the rest as a lot of pressure is put on there both when covering and also when in use. The stuffing should also be overlapping the edges particularly where stitching is to be done. The scrim is now tacked on with temporary tacks and the holding ties put in the centre of the back pulled tightly and tied off with a knot. The hessian can now be tacked off and will be started at the bottom rail, building it up by pushing extra stuffing underneath until it is at least stuffed out to the level of the springing. And the same applies to the sides. The hessian will pass through the `gap' (the space between the rail and the last arm web) and be tacked against the face of the back rail. From the top of the arm and around to the other arm is built up in the same way for stitching the top edge. Remember to tack every halfinch and to shape this top border-to-be with the left hand whilst completing tacking the scrim.

Regulate right round the top border in preparation for stitching. In this instance there will be one blind stitch and two top stitches. When the edge is completed it should protrude past the level of the frame edge about an inch. This will make it almost level by the time a calico or cover is pulled over. The back is now completed to scrimstuffing stage.

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