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Upholstery For Woodworkers #1: Morris Chair / Rocking Chair Upholstery Resources

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Blog entry by pintodeluxe posted 02-27-2021 05:55 AM 1243 reads 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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As a woodworker first and upholsterer second, I struggled for years to find good information on how to upholster Morris Chairs and large rockers. Information on leather upholstery was particularly scarce in books, articles and videos. So I wanted to post this video as a skill share for other crafters that build chairs and might want to try their hand at leather upholstery. If nothing else, it may help someone know what to ask for when hiring an upholsterer.

Leather Upholstery Tutorial Video… https://youtu.be/yusagzomN3w

This is part one of a three part series upholstering a King Craft rocker. It’s a huge arts and crafts style rocker, but the upholstery process is exactly the same for a Morris chair or Morris rocker. Upholstery is a passion of mine, and I encourage you to give it a try.

If you have struggles or success stories with upholstery, feel free to share them here.

Good luck, stay safe and have fun!

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



8 comments so far

View rustytools's profile

rustytools

13 posts in 1859 days


#1 posted 02-27-2021 02:53 PM

If you subscribe to FWW, Mick Pekovich made a video workshop of the guy that upholstered his furniture, making a cushion for an arts & crafts rocker Mike made. The guy that made the cushions name is Mike Mascelli and by now he may have his own videos on youtube. FWW is kind of strange about what they make you pay for. If you don’t subscribe, I would go on their web site, search upholstery, and see how far you get before they tell you, “you have to subscribe to watch this”. It’s a four part workshop and he is working with vinyl which is not leather but closer than cloth. Good luck with your project.

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

6345 posts in 3868 days


#2 posted 02-27-2021 04:04 PM

Mike Mascelli has a wealth of knowledge on the subject. He actually reminds me a little of the fellow I learned from. He has great videos on Fine Woodworking and Popular Woodworking.

The main limitation is he’s been asked to demonstrate no-sew techniques. This really ties his hands as an upholsterer. It’s much easier to just sew long seams for a seat cushion, so long as you have access to a machine that can do it.

Thanks

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

View James E McIntyre's profile

James E McIntyre

1196 posts in 2347 days


#3 posted 02-27-2021 06:12 PM

Thanks for the great information Pinto.
I added it to my favorites for future reference.

I watched the video and didn’t realize how easy it is to upholster with leather!
(:>)

-- James E McIntyre

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

6345 posts in 3868 days


#4 posted 02-27-2021 10:52 PM

Thanks James,

Hopefully it helps someone figure out the steps along the way. With a little planning, upholstery projects can be fun and rewarding.

Thanks again

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

View lightweightladylefty's profile

lightweightladylefty

3627 posts in 4768 days


#5 posted 03-01-2021 04:27 AM

Thanks for all the great information. I’ve never upholstered in leather but have done quite a lot of fabric reupholstery—all self-taught. I borrowed videos from the library to get an idea of how to do it (before the days of youtube). The digital camera was the best improvement for reupholstery since it helps me to remember what I took apart and not have to wait for the film to be processed! My most difficult reupholstery so far was a Larkin Soap Company morris chair of my grandparents because it was a complete rebuild of the chair.

Your video really covered all the details well. I am, however, quite jealous of your sewing machine! Will the staple tip work with fabric upholstery or is it too hard to remove them without damaging the cloth? It sounds like an improvement from getting poked by pins!

L/W

-- “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin -- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

6345 posts in 3868 days


#6 posted 03-01-2021 04:46 AM

Hi LW,
Thanks for chiming in. The staple trick is really best for leather and vinyl. Stick with pins or clips for cloth and upholstery fabric.

The Juki is a sweet machine. It’s a LU-563 with servo and box style speed reducer. I’ve also used a Sailrite successfully for leather, as long as it’s not too thick for the machine.

Have fun!

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

View lightweightladylefty's profile

lightweightladylefty

3627 posts in 4768 days


#7 posted 03-04-2021 07:53 AM

Thanks for including needle size and thread weight on your second video. That’s very helpful. My cheap machine has trouble sewing bulky seams in heavy fabrics so I hammer those seams and that helps considerably. Will that work on leather, too? Or is it better to skive all those overlaps?

Thanks for sharing your expertise.

L/W

-- “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin -- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

6345 posts in 3868 days


#8 posted 03-04-2021 03:48 PM



Thanks for including needle size and thread weight on your second video. That s very helpful. My cheap machine has trouble sewing bulky seams in heavy fabrics so I hammer those seams and that helps considerably. Will that work on leather, too? Or is it better to skive all those overlaps?

Thanks for sharing your expertise.

L/W

- lightweightladylefty

Yes! Hammering works great to flatten leather seams.

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

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