Mahogany Kitchen Stool Project #17: Seat Upholstery

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Blog entry by sras posted 10-31-2012 04:39 AM 2503 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 16: Assembling 6 stools with pre-finished parts Part 17 of Mahogany Kitchen Stool Project series no next part

Confession – I finished the upholstery several weeks ago but have not gotten the blog updated until now. Oh well, everything else about this project has been on its own pace so there is no sense in changing now;)

Here we go. The next step is to cut seat blanks. I used a sheet of good quality 3/8 plywood.

I printed out a full size pattern.

Cut it out on the bandsaw.

Sanded it smooth.

I then used the first cutout as a pattern for the other 5 seat blanks.

I used a brad point bit to mark the hole locations.

I used a T-nut to bolt the seat blank to the stool.

As always with this project. I keep moving on and eventually I get to the end of each step.

After the seat blanks are done, its time to cut the foam. I used 1 1/2 inch thick blocks of upholstery foam. I used the bandsaw to cut to shape and then tapered the foam.

I took out the bandsaw table insert so I could tilt the table as far as possible (I would guess 50+ degrees). The seats were cut about 3/8 inch oversize and the taper ended up just over an inch inside the seat outline.

The foam is glued to the seat base with spray adhesive. After the foam is bonded, the edges are bent over and stuck to the seat. This gives a pretty good shape to the seat even before fabric is added.

After the foam, next is a layer of muslin.

This is followed by the final fabric. The pattern is located and stapled front & back.

Then the sides & corners.

Trim the excess.

Add heavy paper.

And – finally – bolt the finished seat to the frame!

Here is a view of the final seat.

I’ll save the final pics for the project posting – given past behavior that could take a while ;)

Here is the final time log:


Cutting rough stock: 2 hr

> Cutting to width and thickness: 4 hr 20 min
> Cut to final length: 3 hr 30 min
> Shaping: 5 hr 50 min
> Mortises: 10 hr 35 min
> Sand & radius edges: 19 hr 35 min
> Oxidize and Final sanding: 3 hr 10 min
> Prep for finish: 1 hr 25 min
> Finish: 12 h 15 min

Seat Back and Back Rest
> Cutting thin stock for laminations: 3 hr 35 min
> Prepping laminations: 8 hr 40 min
> Glue up Laminations: 3 hr 50 min
> Trim Laminated Parts: 2 hr 25 min
> Tenon: 5 hr 40 min
> Mortises: 5 hr 30 min
> Sand & radius edges: 6 hr 10 min
> Oxidize and Final sanding: 1 hr 20 min
> Mask & Prep for finish: 20 min
> Finish: 2 h 45 min

Back Slats
> Cutting thin stock for laminations: 1 hr 55 min
> Prepping laminations: 3 hr
> Glue up Laminations: 6 hr 5 min
> Trim Laminated Parts: 30 min
> Tenon: 2 hr 50 min
> Sand: 7 hr 35 min
> Oxidize and Final sanding: 1 hr 30 min
> Mask & Prep for finish: 40 min
> Finish: 4 hr 35 min

Lower rail parts
> Cut to width and thickness: 10 hr
> Cut to length: 1 hr 30 min
> Mortise: 4 hr 35 min
> Tenon: 28 hr 30 min
> Sand & radius edges: 15 hr 35 min
> Oxidize and Final sanding: 3 hr 40 min
> Mask & Prep for finish: 2 hr 30 min
> Finish: 12 hr 5 min

Corner Blocks
> Cut to size: 1 hr 50 min
> Shape: 1 hr 50 min
> Tenons: 1 hr 15 min
> Holes: 1 hr 30 min

Frame assembly
> Remove Masking Tape: 1 hr 30 min
> Dry Fitting: 4 hr 20 min
> Glue up: 6 hr 50 min

> Seat Blanks: 3 hr 55 min
> Foam: 1 hr 20 min
> Muslin: 4 hr 15 min
> Final Fabric: 7 hr

Total: 245 hr 15 min (~41 hrs per stool)

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

11 comments so far

View ellen35's profile


2749 posts in 4507 days

#1 posted 10-31-2012 10:42 AM

You must be pretty excited to come to the end of this massive project!
Looking forward to the posting… that bottom looks pretty nice.

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View Gary's profile


9419 posts in 4508 days

#2 posted 10-31-2012 11:36 AM

Beautiful work. I’m really impressed. Like to see those stools in person

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 4957 days

#3 posted 10-31-2012 12:14 PM

Congrats on work well done.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Roger's profile


21054 posts in 3879 days

#4 posted 10-31-2012 12:42 PM

All, super nicely done. Woodwork, and upholstery.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View JL7's profile


8786 posts in 4040 days

#5 posted 10-31-2012 01:03 PM

Looking good Steve! You must be extremely happy to cross the finish line!

-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View sras's profile


6052 posts in 4204 days

#6 posted 10-31-2012 03:01 PM

Thanks everyone! It’s great to have the project finished. The fun part is seeing them in use. They are so much more comfortable than our old ones.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 3263 days

#7 posted 10-31-2012 10:42 PM

Steve! Very well done sir! You were rather intentional about the upholstery. I can see that you took a couple of “extra” steps. It’s good mark mark of very fine upholstery. It looks like you used Rosin paper to cover the bottom. Very clever.

The muslin layer is meant to separate padding from fabric. In the good old days, the padding consisted of rubberized horse hair and cotton. The old upholstery cotton was not real clean. There were things in it that would stain a fabric if it got wet. The horse hair——- I’m glad those days are gone!!!

Do you know why upholsterers make such terrible finish carpenters. They work with half inch tolerances all the time. Keeping staples in a straight line is never a consideration. Most work they do can be corrected easily if they make a mistake.

One of the biggest aspects of being a good upholsterer is having the ability to secure fabric and padding without creating bumps or bulk. I’m sure that is something you are very familiar with at the moment. I’ve got to say that you passed the test beautifully.

Another aspect is knowing ‘how’ the padding will act when it is pulled tight with the fabric. You did such a beautiful job bevelling the foam that it already had the desired shape before you started.

Shaping the foam is a relatively new thing. In the good old day’s the foam was shapped into these gigantic blocks then cut to thickness. Nowadays, each individual piece can be shaped with a mold. That saves foam and the need for a little extra skill (just a little mind you).

Do you know why a fine finish carpenter makes a lousy upholsterer? They can’t make any money at it. ;) it takes over 12 hours to do the upholstery on some wrap over DR seats.

Steve – I’m messing with you. The facts are that you did some ultra fine work on that upholstery and I totally appreciate your attention to the smallest detail. If I were you – I’d give myself a 12 on a scale of 1 to 10 for a great quality upholstery job. Kick that pride of doing it yourself up a few notches. I could not have done better.

Wow – that sounds arrogant!!!! I guess I better explain a little so you can know where I’m coming from. At 6 years old, I was sweeping up my dad’s upholstery shop. By the time I was 25 – I was a master upholsterer. – THAT is WHY I have been such a lousy carpenter.

Eighth inch off? Who cares! ;)

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View sras's profile


6052 posts in 4204 days

#8 posted 11-01-2012 04:10 AM

Wow Mark! Thanks for the inspiring and detailed comment! Your compliments meant a lot to me.

I have to admit that this was my first chair upholstery. I have picked up some hints from years past, but I have to give the biggest credit to my wife’s uncle. I got to watch him re-upholster some chairs old school – cotton, horse hair, muslin and tacks. I learned a lot.

Thanks again for your feedback.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View justoneofme's profile


858 posts in 3555 days

#9 posted 11-01-2012 11:09 PM

Sure must feel good to have this very involved project completed. Be proud of yourself Steve … these hand-crafted kitchen stools are beautiful!!

-- Elaine in Duncan

View shipwright's profile


8711 posts in 3873 days

#10 posted 11-02-2012 12:13 AM

Absolutely superb Steve !
That’s all I’ve got. ;-)

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View sras's profile


6052 posts in 4204 days

#11 posted 11-03-2012 01:06 AM

Thanks Elaine – I seem to gravitate to involved projects. They take a lot of time, but the journey is as much fun as the final result!

Thanks Paul – The quality of comments are not judged by their size ;)

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

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