Just finished my last project. Dining room table and chairs. Posted on abpw.
Have never built a chair before. What an interesting challenge. Used loose
tenon construction and had every individual piece of wood marked.
Table is 8/4 red oak with mahogany stain to darken it a bit. Urethane top
coat. Glass is 3/8 smoked plate glass. Table is 44x60.
I really had fun building this and got to use several tools that I haven't
used much, like a spokeshave and bull nose plane.
I bought a little gadget called MortisePal and it made cutting the mortises
in the table and chairs a snap. Just set it and rout out the mortise. Fast
and accurate. For anyone who is challenged by mortise & tenon joinery, this
little jig is well worth the cost.
There are 10 kinds of people - those who understand binary and those who
I agree, very nice, Vic.
However, if I may:
I can't tell if it is the pics, themselves (distance), as to why I
can't see clear details, but I'll assume the edges of the seat
upholstery are a little uneven.
When upholstering dining chairs, don't pull the fabric over and under
the edges of the seat with your thumb and index finger. That will
always result in indentations, or an uneven edge, along the edges.
Preferably, the bulk of the padding should not overlap the edges of
the seat base (board), for a fitted seat as that (It looks like the
seat fits into/inside the chair framing). Too much padding on the
outer edges can cause problems with (pressure on) the chair frame. Be
careful with that outer edge padding, that way. A light amount of
padding, like a polyester batting (polyester fiberfill), is okay to
overlap the edges with, to dull any sharp edges of the board it's on.
Just don't use a lot of batting (bulk padding) on the edges.
Application of the fabric:
To start, tack or staple (I use staples) the centers of the front and
back. The tension, here, shouldn't be the final tension. Somewhat
align the sides' centers, but not tight, and tack them in temporary
Align the front edge of the fabric, next to the first staple, and
staple the adjacent areas, one on each side of the first staple....
staples about 1" apart. If the fabric seems to align easily, staple
one more, each side, again. Make sure the lateral tension is good and
firm (the finish tension, laterally). Don't pull the fabric,
laterally, with your thumb and index finger... use the palm of your
hand to pressure it laterally. Work it a few times, with your palm...
you'll see the results as you work it.
Now you want to attach the center section of the back edge to its
finished tension. Instead of pulling each area with thumb and index
finger, place your whole hand on the seat's top and pet (like petting
your dog) the "whole" toward the back. The whole of the fabric will
adjust itself to conform to and over the edge, uniformly. With your
whole hand still in pressured position, remove the initial staple,
while using your thumb to hold the fabric in position at that point,
then insert a replacement staple, there. Use the petting motion for
a few more attachments at the back edge.... and don't forget about the
lateral tension, there, also.... , then....
Go back the the front edge and attach another few staples along the
front edge. At this point, the front edge conformity can be
established with the whole-hand petting motion, also. Just make sure
your lateral tension continues to be good and firm/tight. Then repeat
the back edge procedure.
Except for upholstering right at the corners, when the front and back
edges are done, attach the side edges. Do the same petting procedure
for attaching the sides. This petting procedure eliminates awkward,
excess and/or contorted fabric gathering at the corners, as often
happens when one tries the "thumb-index finger" pulling technique, for
stretching fabric across an area.
The petting procedure and the firm lateral tension will help eliminate
those dips, valleys, uneven edges. I don't suspect you have too much
padding, along the edges, for it to have caused the rippling I think I
can see (again, I'm not sure I am seeing correctly). I suspect it was
the way the fabric was attached. This petting procedure is a must for
fabrics with lines or other similar patterns, that need to be
perfectly aligned and uniformly tensioned.
You are absolutely correct Sonny. Couldn't get the tension quite right. It's
in my job jar to redo that part. Appreciate your tips.
The seats are 1/2 plywood blanks set in a 3/8 deep by 1/2 wide rabbett. I
did make corner blocks which the seat is screwed to.
Plywood has a layer of 1" foam and two layers of 1" dacron or poly cotton or
whatever you call it <g> - then the fabric.
Seems my main mistake was the initial staple - I pulled that too tight and
it was downhill from there.
I've printed out your tips and will give it another go.
I think most dining chairs have a tad more padding, on top, than
you've described. A generous layer of cotton is typical for a first
layer, against the seat base (board), then foam, then a layer of
"polyester" (there are several kinds of finish lining/padding). *Fire
retardent polyester fiberfill (a designated industry description) is
just as inexpensive as non-fire retardent fiberfill.
For when you redo your seats: For the small amount of padding you
seem to have, pay close attention to the front and back corners of the
seat base, your plywood! If the wood's corners are sharp 90�, the
wood may poke through the fiberfill and sometimes, in time, through
the fabric, at those points. When you redo the seats, at the point of
having the fabric over the corners (just prior to stapling your fabric
down), feel the corners to see if they feel too sharp (use your good
judgement). If they feel too sharp, cut the tip (1/8") off the
board's corners. This will dull those sharp "poking" corners, yet
maintain a good square contour. That 1/8" removed is not going to
affect any visible or functional difference. For seats with a bit
more padding, instead of cutting the corners, a touch more padding, at
those spots, can be used to soften sharp corners. The consideration
not to use a touch more padding on your corners is because your seats
fit inside a framing..... you want to avoid adding padding into that
fitted type of framing.
I assume everyone knows, but I'll add: Once a seat is fitted to a
particular chair frame, attach a number/symbol to the seat
corresponding to its particular chair/frame number/symbol.
I make a distinction between kitchen chairs and dining chairs. Kitchen
chairs are usually a little more upright and less comfortable, hence no
padding or at best a tie on pad. As I have read, dining chairs are meant to
be sat in longer and are designed with a more relaxed angle and a padded
Of course, there are always exceptions but that's what I found in my
research. So, I opted for almost a 10 degree back angle and a padded seat.
What was meant was padding for upholstered chairs, since I was zeroing
in on the upholstery, not literally all dining or kitchen chairs. ...
But I took krw's comment as ribbing. Them Amish folk don't grow
cotton, I don't think. LOL.
Yep. Neat place to visit. Aside from the Chinese and Indian junk in
some of the stores, the Amish villages were quite interesting. The
furniture stores and factories even more so. One gave me a cook's
tour of their production facility (no one was there over the weekend).
North-east, a bit South of Akron-Canton. I did some contracting in
Akron a couple of years ago and we spent several weekends scoping out
furniture, quilts, and such. Very nice stuff, but I have to say, I've
seen stuff you folks here have done that looks every bit as good.
This is the place we ended up buying our bedroom and dining room sets:
We'll likely have them do a breakfast set and fill out some other
pieces in the spring.
Been to ALL of the above.
My mother lived in Apple Creek.
Would go over to Kidron (less than 5 miles) for ice cream cones and a
visit to Lehman Hd'we when I would go back for a visit.
Time to stock up on Trail Bologna and real Swiss Cheese.
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