One of the most popular types of dining chair is that of the loose seat variety. Although the period and styles varied they retained one thing in common, a framework within the chair seat that can be lifted out. No longer produced in volume, they are extremely economical to reupholster. The loose seat frame is made of birch or beech and assembled by dowels or mortised and tenoned joints. Dowelling is the system most used today. The top side of the loose seat frame is chamfered so that the edge of the chair frame and seat frame are level. Make sure that it is a good fit before upholstering. It should have just enough play to take the thickness of cover. Plane a little off if you think it is too tight, and if too slack a piece of cardboard or webbing is tacked against the side or back and if necessary both. (Also see detail about taking the wadding over the frame below).
Turn the seat upside down and position centrally on the foam. Mark around the edges with a felt pen allowing a margin of approx. 6mm (¼” ) larger than the seat. Cut the foam using an electric carving knife if available or a fine toothed saw or knife. (A bread knife is fine).
The foam is then positioned on top of the seat and held in place with the spray adhesive. Care should be taken when doing this to keep the edge of the frame clear from the foam which is then covered with the polyester wadding which makes an interliner between the foam and the fabric. Use the spray adhesive again to hold the wadding in place. (If there is a lot of clearance around the wooden seat frame without fabric on then the wadding can be taken around the frame itself. If the frame is a tight fit then only lay the wadding on top of the foam.)
The cover, which needs no preparation, is cut off allowing about 3 inches (75mm) more than the net measurements. If the cover has a large pattern or stripe in design it should be placed in the centre of the seat. If it is a pile material then the pile should run from the back of the seat to the front. Fold the cover lengthways and cut a small nick across the folded corner. This will serve as your centre guide to a similar mark in centre of the front rail. Lay the cover face down on the bench and place the seat on top, foam side on the cover. Fold over the four corners of the cover and fix with four temporary tacks or staples. Check that the pattern is central and satisfactory before tacking off. This is done in the same order, back to front and then the sides, tacking or stapling about every inch. The corners are turned in neatly at the very end of the rail.
Look at our Drop In Seats Set (Ply Bases). This kit contains all the materials you need to reupholster a set of dining seats (except the top fabric and specialist tools).