Morris Chair #4: Upholstery - Seat

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Blog entry by PPK posted 04-27-2017 04:18 PM 2161 reads 3 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Chair back, pegs & final dye touch ups Part 4 of Morris Chair series Part 5: Back Cushion Upholstery and Finish »

First off, all credit is due fellow Lumber Jock pintodeluxe, who’s tutorial I copied many ideas from. Thanks Pinto!

I built a frame from Hickory. I chose hickory, because it is really tough stuff. The frame gets a lot of tension from the webbing pulling on it, getting sat on, etc. It turned out well, and there was zero discernable deflection after I stretched the webbing over it.

I used half lap joints, and added corner blocks to make it even stronger.

Next, I started fastening the webbing. I used a upholstery stapler (quite cheap – about $35, and worth every penny), and a webbing stretcher that I made for myself awhile ago in anticipation for this project.

Weaving the jute webbing over and under.

I finished by folding over the ends and stapling them down to prevent fraying and make the connection more strong. I hope I never have to pull out all those staples… :-)

I checked the frame for fit. So far so good.

I cut a piece of 5” thick high density foam. The bandsaw works very well for this. WAY better than a knife or anything else I’ve tried. I used the frame for the template, and made the foam the exact size of the frame.

I made a template to cut out my leather with. Good thing too, or my leather would have been an inch short both ways. I forgot seam allowance the first go-round. Anyway, this method works very well.

I tested the template on the cushion and frame. The living room floor is a great upholstery area… hahaha

And as it turns out, I have help!!! I laid the pattern on the leather, threw some scraps on to hold it down, and cut it out.

I marked my seam allowances with a pen and stapled the seams together

Then I sewed the seam, using my “heavy duty” singer that I bought just of the purpose. It worked fairly well, although the machine doesn’t really like this thick of material. I bought leather needles and nylon upholstery thread.

I test fit the leather cover on the foam and frame. It fit pretty well. A little bit loose if anything. I’ve worked with leather enough to know that leather stretches. Especially on certain parts of the hide. The belly stretches more than, say the shoulder. This cut was a belly cut. At any rate, I still needed to wrap dacron around the foam so I figured it’d be ok.

I missed taking a picture of wrapping the dacron. (you can see it laying in the background of the pictures) It was nothing amazing – I used spray adhesive, and wrapped it around the cushion and frame. I also spray adhesive glued the foam to the frame. THe little square chunk of foam my son is holding got sandwiched (with some adhesive) in between the large foam and the frame to give the cushion some crown. I then stretched the leather cover over it all, and stapled it to the frame. Nothing real fancy, just fold everything over and staple it down good. It turned out better than I had hoped!

The one thing I’d do differently is to allow a tiny bit more gap between the chair frame and the cushion frame. I left about 1/4” gap, and after getting the leather, etc. wrapped around, its a pretty tight fit to get the cushion jammed into the frame. I think 3/8” would be better. I suppose it all depends on the thickness of your leather and dacron.

The cushion for the back is next. I’ve also got the Danish oil applied to the chair. Not really looking forward to wiping on 3 coats of Arm R Seal though…

Overall, I sure enjoyed the process. THere’s something very satisfying about upholstery. I guess there’s something super satisfying about building just about ANYTHING for me!

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:2

-- Pete

6 comments so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


6488 posts in 4057 days

#1 posted 04-27-2017 05:44 PM

Nice work! I love it when upholstery requires a stapler and staple gun, what fun.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Northwest29's profile


1712 posts in 3734 days

#2 posted 04-27-2017 09:47 PM

Very nice job Pete. Looks like it will be very comfortable.

-- Ron, "Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste."

View gargey's profile


1013 posts in 2019 days

#3 posted 04-27-2017 10:08 PM

Cool, nice picture tutorial, very useful.

Where does one buy high density phome anyway?

View AandCstyle's profile


3306 posts in 3501 days

#4 posted 04-27-2017 11:55 PM

Pete, it looks like you did a great job with the seat. Also, there are few better to emulate than Willie, aka Pintodeluxe.

-- Art

View PPK's profile


1872 posts in 2053 days

#5 posted 04-28-2017 03:13 PM

I started by getting a chunk of foam from Ebay that was supposed to be “high density”. It was too soft. Then I went to my local Mac’s Hardware store, and they cut any size of foam. You can feel it and see what you want. I bought both the seat and back foam from Mac’s. I actually got the little tiny square to make the crown from Hobby Lobby one day when I was getting leather sewing machine needles.

Thanks for the compliments, all!

-- Pete

View NormG's profile


6511 posts in 4247 days

#6 posted 04-29-2017 12:15 AM

Well done

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

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