Re-upholster an office chair?

I have an old rolling desk chair that fits me just perfectly, but has long since looked just awful. The fabric is worn out, and the padding compressed. Anybody here ever tackled re-upholstering a chair like that? Where would you go to find the fabric and padding? I wouldn't even attempt something like a couch or nice chair, but this is basically the seat, and I just wonder if it's something an ordinary human being could do without it looking like a three-year-old did it.
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It depends- may be easy, may be a major PITA. If it has internal cording, springs, etc, probably wanna leave it to a pro. If it is a typical office chair, it is a plywood/plastic/metal shell, a hunk of foam, and fabric stapled or glued over it. Hard part will be figuring out how to get it apart w/o trashing it. Local upholstery company/boat cushion/tarp company will have the fabric and the foam, or possibly even a big sewing supply store. Get a slab of <high-density> foam and carve to fit, use dabs of glue rated for foam to keep it in proper place on base, and then strech the new fabric over it and secure it however it secures. If old fabric had sewn shape, or was 'molded to shape', you will have to figure out an eye-pleasing way to fold and tuck everything so it looks right when reassembled. Fabric store will have the buttons and cord for any buttons- I usually ignore such details. Check library or big-box DIY book aisle- I'm sure somebody has a book with pictures.
Having said all that- I usually find the pivot socket on the bottom of the chair dies before the fabric does. Stand facing chair, grab the arms, and wobble it side to side. If it feels loose, time for a new chair. But if the frame is strong and tight, with no cracked parts, I'd consider paying for a pro upholstery job- quality office chairs are amazingly expensive. The fanciest plastic made-in-China junk chair at the big box costs less than the entry-level models from Herman Miller, Steelcase, et al. I usually buy mine at auctions or garage sales- pay 20 bucks, get 2-3 years before it gets annoyingly wobbly.
aem sends...
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ameijers says...
> It depends- may be easy, may be a major PITA. If it has > internal cording, springs, etc, probably wanna leave it > to a pro. If it is a typical office chair, it is a > plywood/plastic/metal shell, a hunk of foam, and fabric > stapled or glued over it. Hard part will be figuring out > how to get it apart w/o trashing it. Local upholstery > company/boat cushion/tarp company will have the fabric > and the foam, or possibly even a big sewing supply > store. Get a slab of <high-density> foam and carve to > fit, use dabs of glue rated for foam to keep it in > proper place on base, and then strech the new fabric > over it and secure it however it secures. If old fabric > had sewn shape, or was 'molded to shape', you will have > to figure out an eye-pleasing way to fold and tuck > everything so it looks right when reassembled. Fabric > store will have the buttons and cord for any buttons- I > usually ignore such details. Check library or big-box > DIY book aisle- I'm sure somebody has a book with > pictures.
This one is a Hon, and I don't detect any springs. So it appears to be just a metal base with foam and fabric. The arms and back are attached to the base with screws, and it looks like it would come apart, and go back together, pretty easily.
The original upholstery is fabric, except that the sides of the base are the skins of the elusive mountain nauga, but I would just use plain fabric on the re-do.
> Having said all that- I usually find the pivot socket on > the bottom of the chair dies before the fabric does. > Stand facing chair, grab the arms, and wobble it side to > side. If it feels loose, time for a new chair. But if > the frame is strong and tight, with no cracked parts, > I'd consider paying for a pro upholstery job- quality > office chairs are amazingly expensive. The fanciest > plastic made-in-China junk chair at the big box costs > less than the entry-level models from Herman Miller, > Steelcase, et al. I usually buy mine at auctions or > garage sales- pay 20 bucks, get 2-3 years before it gets > annoyingly wobbly.
It still seems quite sturdy, so I don't think that's a problem. I just don't want to spend $150 getting it redone, so I may give it a try.
Thanks for the reply.
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On Sun, 29 May 2005 10:09:15 -0500, Peabody

It is certainly a do-able project by the average home repair person. I recommend getting a book from the local library about the procedure. There are a few tricks to it, and some tucking and pulling. Look in the phone book for upholstry or foam shops where you can purchase material. Shops will cut foam for you if you don't have a band saw. Select material that will wear well. Cow hide leather is very nice.
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Your local Public Library should have books on upholstery. The Yellow Pages should lead you to the materials you require. Des

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Yes, me did. I replaced the back and bottom with new wood (rounded corners, but bolts now exposed), then I got one of those "Winsdor Chair Covers" off the net and covered up the unpainted wood. The body of this 1978 chair is chrome and still looks good enuf that most folks think it's a new chair. Some even wonder where they can gitemselves one.
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Peabody wrote:

Upholstery supply place. Either store or web. ___________

Sure. Two easy steps...
1. Remove old, paying attention to how it goes together. Diagrams or photos if you have a rotten memory.
2. Use old as templates/patterns, replace old with new reversing steps in #1
-- dadiOH ____________________________
dadiOH's dandies v3.06... ...a help file of info about MP3s, recording from LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that. Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico
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Peabody wrote:

Find a woman. She will direct you to the nearest fabric store.
Do not be embarrased. Very many males are into fabrics these days. Same with ladies' undergarmets.
Take the woman with you to the store. She will help you select a durable fabric/leather/vinyl/lace in the latest colors.
Puce and teal, I'm told.
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