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clearance between the seat frame and the chair rails

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Forum topic by harum posted 12-14-2018 05:45 AM 308 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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harum

364 posts in 2062 days


12-14-2018 05:45 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question upholstery leather seat frame chair rail gap

Hello, If a wooden seat frame is to be upholstered with leather, what should the gap be around this seat frame and the chair rails? I found different numbers in different sources, and was wondering what gap would work for upholstery leather which is about 1/16” thick.

In Fine Woodworking No. 215 (2010), they say 3/32” (or 5/32”—the quality is not that great) for fabric, “but leather will require a larger gap”. They don’t mention by how much larger though.

In Oct/Nov 2010 issue of woodcraftmagazine.com they say: “Allow 3⁄16” to 1⁄4” gap” between the seat and the rail “(the amount of wiggle room depends on the thickness of your upholstery)”. Again, no indication on what gap is for leather.

One reference to making a leather seat here on LJ says that the frame should be “sized 1/8” smaller in all directions than the opening” formed by the chair rails.

Another reference suggests a much wider gap: 1/4” to 3/8”.

The gap should accommodate 1/16” of leather + a layer of light cotton muslin + a layer of quilt batting and not be too loose. Should a 1/8” gap be about right?

Best Wishes, h

-- "If you're not counting the ripples when throwing pebbles in the water, you're wasting your time."


2 replies so far

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EarlS

2879 posts in 2767 days


#1 posted 12-14-2018 12:33 PM

Honestly, I think all of the above are correct. Having said that, I’d go with 1/8” all around. Alternatively, ask the upholsterer for their recommendation, or, if you are DIY, stretch some material around a frame and see how much space it needs.

When I built a set of chairs, I went with 1/4”, using heavy upholstery fabric (Stickley) and it was a little loose. There are a couple of places you could see daylight.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View harum's profile

harum

364 posts in 2062 days


#2 posted 12-14-2018 03:24 PM



Honestly, I think all of the above are correct. Having said that, I d go with 1/8” all around. Alternatively, ask the upholsterer for their recommendation, or, if you are DIY, stretch some material around a frame and see how much space it needs.
...

- EarlS

Earl, thank you for the response. Yes, I’m planning to do the upholstery myself. I haven’t shaped the seat frame yet because not sure of how loose it should be inside the rails. I guess I could wrap all the materials (leather, muslin, batting) around a stick and see how closely I could push it against a rail.

Will have to find an upholstery shop anyway to have them make the buttons.

-- "If you're not counting the ripples when throwing pebbles in the water, you're wasting your time."

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