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Antique Reupholstery

Reupholstering Antique Furniture

setteeSee the original article at Winters Sewing

When you are considering having a antique reupholstered, there are a number of factors that need to be considered. What is most important to you? Preserving the frame, restoring to original, just making it usable, keeping the cost down, etc.?

 

Reupholstering Antiques

When you are considering having a antique reupholstered, there are a number of factors that need to be considered. What is most important to you? Preserving the frame, restoring to original, just making it usable, keeping the cost down, etc.?
 

Recovery -vs- Reupholstery -vs- Restoration?

Some people who bring in antiques to recover just want the cover changed, they say everything else (under the cover) is just fine. To be blunt, they don't really know what the insides look like. In addition to that, the average person doesn't really look at their furniture. It's often been with them for many years and they just (want to) assume that everything under the cover "is OK". Quite often, by the time that the furniture is brought to us it has already been recovered perhaps several times. Each time before the client may have told the previous upholsterers, "Just put a new cover on it, everything else is "just fine". However, the padding and fabric tend to hide the true condition of the springs and padding to the client. Over the years the fabric, padding, support linings, springs, and webbing have been slowly aging.

As an example look at this antique. From the outside everything looks OK. When we take the cover off we can see that the burlap and webbing is severely deteriorating. (click on the pictures for a larger view.)

Warman arm burlap

 

Warman burlap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some general guidelines to go by.

  1. When you are going to the expense of having something recovered, it would generally be safe to assume that you want the springs and padding to last the lifetime of the cover. Generally you want the cover to wear out before the stuff under it.
  2. Unless the furniture was reupholstered very recently - AND - the springs and padding were replaced or thoroughly repaired at that time, then we would recommend that they be repaired or replaced now. Look through the Picture and Slideshow section of our website and you will see that the support structure (webbing and burlap) of many of the antiques are quite deteriorated, even when they look fine on the outside.
  3. Recovering (just putting a new cover over the existing springs and padding), is only an option if the frame is rock solid, if the springs and padding are in excellent shape. If the frame is even a little wobbly, or the springs are weak, then you would at least go for the reupholstery option.

Especially with antiques there is often much more work under the cover than what you can see on top.

What is your Purpose?

Restore for historical value?
Make usable for household use?

Here are some questions to consider:

  1. If you have an antique, should you go through all the time and expense of restoring* it, or do you just want to make it usable for your household?
  2. What is the furniture worth?
  3. It a rare piece? Would it be valuable it restored? Or it is it just a common antique? Where can you find out?
  4. What is the history of the piece? Does this particular piece of furniture (or this style) have any specific historical value?
  5. If it is a valuable piece, would it make sense to lessen it's value by just doing one of the lessor cost alternatives?
  6. OR - If it is just a common antique, would it make sense to go through the added expense of restoring it? Would the additional cost be worth it?

What Condition is the Furniture in?

Much of the time when clients ask us about recovering their antiques, they see their furniture in their minds as it was quite a few years ago. They see their furniture as they “want to see it”, not as it truly is today. The sofa or chair may have a fabric that is in relatively good shape where a previous upholsterer just covered over the previous upholstery. So those customers often say, “I just want it recovered. The rest of the chair is in good shape." However, the question is, have you actually thoroughly inspected your furniture? Have you tried to wiggle all the joints of the legs, arms and backrest?

Once we get the cover off, and open up the padding, then you can begin to see the true condition of the sofa or chair. When you have an antique estimated, you must have the awareness that it will cost you more than you think. It probably needs more work than you expect.

When determining how much work needs to be done, we go by the condition of the frame, springs, support linings, and the padding. We will not cover over the internal workings of a chair that is falling apart.

How can you tell what the true condition of your furniture is?

  1. First and foremost, pretend like you don’t own the furniture (or have someone else inspect it) and are inspecting it to see if you want to purchase it. Look it over very critically. Your job is to find everything wrong with it that you can. (Much of the time when client’s inspect their own furniture , they look at it through rose-colored-glasses. They don’t want to see anything wrong with it.)
  2. Firmly hold onto and wiggle all the major areas of the furniture (arms , back, legs, etc). Are the joints rock-solid, or do the the joints wiggle?
  3. Look under the furniture. Is the webbing still tight, or does the webbing bulge down quite a bit?
  4. When you sit on the furniture, does the seat give you good solid support. As you press down firmly all around the top of the seat, is it all firm, flat, and level, or are uneven or hollow spots.
  5. How long has it been since the chair has been reupholstered.
  6. At the time that it was done, were the springs reties, were the support linings replaced?
  7. If it has been more than possibly 15-20  years since the insides have been rebuilt, then there is a good chance the chair or sofa will need much work.

Upholstery Cost is Higher

Reupholstering antiques usual cost more than upholstering modern furniture because:

  1. The frames on antiques have had much more use and have been around longer than modern furniture. Unless the frames have been reglued lately, they may need to be glued. The frames are usually more brittle and we often have to reglue frame pieces that are loose and are coming off.

  2. The springs and padding usually need attention or repair.

  3. Antiques usually have wood around the edges and bottom of the furniture. The means:

    1. we have to work slower and be much more careful when tearing off the old cover and putting the new cover back on.

    2. Attaching fabric around the decorative wood involved extra work of attaching the fabric and then having to apply the trim over the fabric edges.

I've heard many times, when someone wants to have a antique recovered, "I only want the cover changed. Everything else is in good shape." The truth is that no one can see what the frame and springs look like under the cover. The fabric and padding hide the true condition of the frame. A high percentage of the time, when "recovering" antiques, I end up having to strip the furniture to the frame, removing the burlap, webbing, padding, and springs, then having to rebuild everything from the frame up. Sometimes I also have to take the frame apart and reglue it.

What is your Budget?

This will greatly influence your reupholstery options. If you are on a tight budget, then I would suggest that you either put the furniture away until you can afford to have it done right, or, perhaps sell the furniture, or give it to another family member, who can afford to have it done.

Things To Consider About Your Antique(s)

Although you see your antique as a single piece of furniture, it is actually composed of numerous elements. In reupholstery you need to consider each part.

The Frame

Structural: Are all the joints of the frame solid, or are some joint loose or squeeky? To check, go over the furniture and try to wiggle every frame part. the frame Regluing and reblocking the frame as needed. Sometimes this might completely disassembling the frame and regluing, adding new blocks (as needed) to the corners.

Finish:

Cleaning: Over a period of years dirt, grime, and wax may have built up on the woodwork of your antique.

Restoration: Assuming that the old finish is salvageable, leaving the old finish on and cleaning and restoring as possible. stripping off the old finish could lessen the value of the furniture.

Refinishing: stripping old finish off, staining as necessary, adding a new finish of your choice

Springs:

Type and condition of existing springs. Are the old springs in good shape; are they reusable or do they need to be replaced? Many of the antiques used the common hand tied springs, which are still being made today. Some antiques used unusual springs that are no longer being made. In this case, a decision has to be made to repair the existing springs (which usually costs more), or to replace the springs with another type of springs, or to remove the springs and use webbing and padding.

Here are some spring choices

  1. Use As Is: If the springs are in good condition, just covering over them might be a choice. But in most cases this would not be recommended.
  2. Re-Use Springs: reusing existing springs (replace any broken springs)
  3. New Springs: replace All springs with new springs

Padding:

Type and condition of padding. Is the padding in good shape; can it be reused? -or- does it all need to be replaced? Do you want the same original type of padding, or do you want to replace it with modern materials.

Type of Materials originally used in antiques : Horsehair, tree moss, dried grass, cotton, excelsior, wood shavings.

Cost of materials: In the old days when the furniture was originally made, upholsterers and furniture builders probably used whatever type of materials and padding that was common and easily obtainable. Over the years since then, methods and materials have changed drastically. That which was once common place is often now rare and hard to find, and therefore expensive.

Labor for installing materials: Many of the materials used in antiques require very labor intensive methods of attaching them to the support materials. For example: horsehair

Modern materials, such as foam, requires very little extra labor to attach it to the burlap.

Padding Methods:

When having antiques recovered, many clients may not care what type of padding is used in the reupholstery process. For those clients that are concerned about the padding used, here are some padding choices to consider.

*Padding Note: a. When working with antiques, rebuilding the padding using the original methods and materials can be more expensive than the rest of the reupholstering process. b. The original methods, while common to the time period, were very labor intensive. Similarly, while the original padding materials were common to the time, nowadays, many of those materials aren't as common or as readily available today, so they very expensive as compared to today's padding materials.

Re-use existing Materials:

With any of these options, new padding is added over the top of existing padding if or as needed.

  1. Leave Existing Padding in Place: Assuming that the furniture has been reupholstered recently (with new burlap and new webbing), leave all padding in place, as much as possible, and put the new cover over the top of the existing padding
  2. Re-use Existing Padding & Add New Supports: Carefully remove the padding materials (cotton, hair, dried grass, excelsior, moss, etc.) off the furniture, as needed, and replace the existing supporting materials (webbing, burlap, etc.). Then re-attach existing padding materials and handworked areas mostly undisturbed to the frame. Add new outer-linings as needed to hold the padding in place. Add new padding on top as needed. (This is our most common option)
  3. Refresh Padding: same as 2. above, except old padding is removed, taken apart, fluffed up, and restitched, as necessary, in place. New interlinings added as necessary. (see Padding Note b. above)

All New Padding:

As in 2 & 3 above, the supporting materials are all replaced with new. In addition the padding is also replaced with new padding, with one of these options:

  1. Common Modern Padding: Padding replaced with new common materials, such as polyfoam, cotton, and other readily available materials
  2. Common Antique Padding: Padding materials are replaced with padding materials that are commonly used in antiques. This may be the same, or different materials that are currently in your furniture. This choice will be determined by what type of padding materials are in your furniture compared to what type of padding materials are readily available to us from our suppliers. (see Padding Note above)
  3. Same or Similar Padding as Original: As much as possible, padding materials are replaced with the same type or similar to the existing padding materials. (see Padding Note above)

Attachment: Methods and Materials

Tacks: Most of the fabrics on antiques were commonly fastened onto the frame with upholstery tacks and Upholstery Tacksa tack hammer. Some of the drawbacks about using tacks is they  damage the frame. Upholstery tacks are, in a small way, shaped like the splitting wedges that are used in splitting  wood. When the furniture was new, and had just one cover put on, and splitting damage wasn't noticable. But, when the furniture has been recovered numerous times using tack, this results in many tack holes in the same area. This can result in the wood in that are begin to have tiny splits in numerous areas where the tacks have been. Over the many  years I've done upholstery I've seen a few furniture pieces where the wood had been damaged so badly by tacks that that wood had to be repair or replaced before it could be upholsterered. The frames of antiques can become very dry (the result of many years in a warm house) and are very susceptible to splitting, especially with furniture that has been covered many times using tacks.

Nowadays, with the coming of the staple guns, fewer and fewer upholsters use tacks very much.
Staples: most upholsterers and furniture manufacturers attach the upholstery fabric to the frames using Staples & Tacksstaples. This is a very easy and cost effective method.
There several types of staples. The type that many upolsterers use, including me, is like at very thin wire, which does almost no damage as it goes into the wood. Unlike tacks, the thin legs of the staples leave the wood almost undisturbed.In the picture at the left, compare the thickness and shape of the shaft of the tack and the staple that goes into the wood. The thinner the shaft, the less damage to the furniture frame.

Cost: Unless an upholsterer is very proficient at spitting tacks, using tacks adds a significant amount of time to the upholstery process. So using staples is also a cost saving feature.
Preserving the Frame: An important point to remember that with antiques preserving the quality and stability of the frame is much more important that "how" the fabric is attached to the frame. While using tacks might be more "historically" true, using staples is less damaging to the frame.

Antique Upholstery Theories

Restoration: Restore as close to original as possible using the same types of fabrics, supplies and attaching methods as the original. (This can have various meanings depending upon the specifications of the client, the availability of materials, and the skill and knowledge level of the upholsterer. If you are considering having an antique restored, be sure to talk over specific concerns or wishes you have with the upholsterer before the price is given and the order is written.)

Here are some articles on Furniture Restoration:

To Restore or Not to Restore Some points to consider before refinishing an antique.

 

Reupholster Using Common Materials: Since the original makers of the furniture used the common material they could easily find, have the upholsterer likewise use the common materials that are available today.

Responsibilities

When you own and care for an antique, you are steward of a relic of the past. What are your responsibilities to the past and to those who will own the furniture in the future. The basic premise of an antique is that it had a life (of sorts) before you owned it and it will probably have a life after you.

Glossary

Restoration: There are various levels of restoration from reusing the existing materials to complete replacement. Also different upholsterers with different backgrounds and skill levels will do the job differently. (see Upholstery Theories above.)

Recovering: taking the old cover off and putting a new covering on.
Reupholstering: Often used synonymously with Recovering, but in a deeper sense, can be defined as doing a more thorough job, include frame rebuilding, retying springs, adding new padding, etc.

 

Down Feather with Foam Insert

Note, this page is from a message thread that was copied here when the site was upgraded. If you want to learn more about Pillow Ticking covers, go here.

Down Feather with Foam Insert

Submitted by luv2sew on Sun, 2007-10-21 21:41

I saw the pictures of the Cushions with the Foam Insert and Down feather wrap. Did you stuff the feathers by hand - of so where do you buy them? I am in California.

Thank You.

Pam

 

Down filled cushion

I am working on upholstering an antique couch and noticed how you made the down cushion on your website.  I have read all the comments and questions that are posted, but was not able to view the video that you have on an older post.  Do you still have a link available to this video?  I am hoping to make a foam filled down cushion, but am looking for a few hints.  The video I was attempting to view was posted on October 26, 2007 about building and using the bazooka.
Thanks for your help!
Becky

 

Video: Using a Bazooka to fill feather cushions

Hi Becky.

Here is the video on using a Bazooka to fill down cushions. I hope that helps.

Stephen

 

Bazooka video

Hi Stephen,
Thanks for the link to the video.  It has helped a lot to be able to see it.  I also have appreciated all the postings that went back and forth between you and Janice, from TX.  I would also consider myself a novice and I hope to complete a full sized cushion for my sister's antique couch.  I still have a number of things to try to figure out so I most likely will be asking questions in the future.  I have already spent a bit of time on your website and am very thankful that I happened upon it.  Thanks for the time you have taken to share your thoughts with us!
Becky

 

Last 2 cushions

Hello, Stephen. It's been a while since my last post. With just the 2 remaining sofa seat cushions to construct I took a longer-than-intended break from my project but am now back on track. I just finished the 2 cushions but need more feather/down before I can fill them. Now, remember I was worried whether I'd over-stuffed the first 2....well now I have the empty new shells I've done 'before' and 'after' weighings to calculate how much we actually blew into each of the first 2. Amazingly they each contain the same amount at 4lbs. Now that means there's approx 1/2 lb in each of the 8 baffled (1.5") sections (the cushions are 24x27 with a 2" foam core), which doesn't seem over-generous having read your postings on the topic. That said, I wonder whether this sounds about right to you? By the way, I'm considering replacing the medium foam insert with the soft variety for the softer, more comfy feel I prefer.
Regards, Janice

 

Last 2 Cushions

Hi Janice,

I don't know whether the amount of feathers is right or not. I'd say, just test it out and see how it feels.If you decide that you want to weight out the down for each pocket, that is one way to get the same in each. That's fine. As for replacing the inner foam insert, I'd recommend just doing one first and see how you like it.

Best Wishes.

Stephen

 

Mission accomplished

Well, we did it.  Our tube was too long and at 1.5" a little too wide but it worked!  One of us controlled the feed end, the other the pillow. I made a 'sleeve' from a ziplock bag to help keep the velcro from getting too clogged with down as we filled each section.  I realized I'd made the cuts in the velcro too long, which made the job harder than it needed to be, but we filled all 4 seat cushions.  For results see my posting on the Pillow ticking covers page.  The Elkins/Winters bazooka below.

 

About the foam ... and the bazooka operation

Stephen, it looks from your bazooka video as if you selected a really soft foam insert. I think my new sofa seat cushions are about the same thickness as yours (1.5 inch baffles)with a pocket for 2" of foam. Should I choose a soft type, too, do you think?

Also, when you're filling the sections, do you just go by experience in knowing that you've blown pretty equal quantities into each? And, do you really fill each, I mean until you can't add any more? Or leave some space?
Regards, Janice
P.S. Does all that air just seep/pass out of the down ticking as you fill - or do you have to press it out?

 

The foam is a medium

The foam is a medium firmness, although you can use any firmness/softness that you like. Since the down doesn't have much body, the medium firm foam gives a little more body.

As the the amount of the down/feathers, some people weigh out the down to get equal amounts. When I fill it, I start filling the very back first and the continue filling as I back the bazooka out of the pocket. As far as how much to put in,  I go be "feel". I flatten out my hands and spread out my fingers and pat the outside of the pocket all over to see how it feels. Then I use that same method to compare the adjoining pockets. If you put too little down in the pocket, it feelshollow and doesn't give any support. If you put too much down in the pockets, it will be too firm and solid. The right amount will still be kind of loose and fluff, yet will give you some solid support. The nice thing about this type of construction and filling method is that if you don't get enough down in the pockets, you can always open up the cushion and add more. If for some reason you want or need to take some fill out, use the bazooka to take some out and put it into another bag. 

Yes, the ticking "breathes". During the filling all that air seeps out of the ticking so no reason to try to press it all out.

 Best Wishes,

Stephen

 

Stuffing with feathers & the video clip

After watching the video clip I would like to have a go at making the bazooka filler. I understand the process but don't know what the 'machine' is. I have seen some paint sprayer motors on the market, do you think that would work (if I removed the paint sprayer)? I'm in the UK and have feather sofa seat cushions that are in desperate need of re-filling and until I saw your video clip I envisaged being covered in feathers!

Thank you.
Jackie

 

Thank you so much for the

Thank you so much for the information, I really appreciate it. I haven't used an air compressor before and will be a complete novice, but eager to have a go. I've just looked and have seen some fairly similar ones here in the UK. I can always use the compressor later for some paint jobs - my son would have loved one for the jobs when restoring his beloved old mini car!
Thank you, again.
Jackie

 

    Hi Jackie, My current

 

Hi Jackie,

My current air compressor is a vertical design similar to this one from Harbor Freight (click on picture to see details.) I use this type because it fits better into the small space that I currently have for it.

Because I use other air tools, I use an air compressor with a tank, and this is the type I'm used to. I'm not sure if you use a tankless aircompressor if you'd have enough air pressure to make the bazooka work properly. If you already have that type, go ahead and give it a try. If you don't have an air compressor, would you have other uses for it besides just using it on the bazooka?

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the past I've had one the looked similar to this one. (click on picture for details) Either type (and other types) work fine.

 

 

 

 

 

Stephen

 

Measurements down cover and foam insert

I would like to try to make your down wrapped cushion with foam insert, like in the video. I have two questions. When you make the down ticking cover is it the finished size of the cushion? Related to this is the foam insert also cut to finished size?

I have some experience making tradtional foam cushions and I cut my foam about an inch larger than the finished size.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

Alicia

 

Ticking Cover

Hi Alicia,
Glad to help.
I'd make the ticking cover just a little larger than what I'd cut the fabric cover. The fabric cover will compress the ticking cover a little. Making the ticking just a little larger than the fabric cover will help the cover be tight on the cushion.

The cutting size of the foam would depend upon how firm the foam is. If using a firm foam, I'd cut it about the finished size, but if using a soft foam, I might cut it a little larger, about the cutting size of the fabric.

Stephen

 

Down cushions

I want to make a down cushion with the foam insert. How do you figure out how much down to get to fill the cushion?

 

How much down to get

A chair cushion 24" X 24" with a 4" boxing will take approximately 4-5 pounds per cushion.*

Stephen

*Info take from the Hoch & Selby Supply catalog.

 

down feather with foam insert

I have a sofa with down back cushions that have lost their loft. I love the sofa and just want to restore the cushions to their original loft. Is this something I can do myself?

Heather

 

Restore the Fluffiness

Hi Heather,
There are many things that you can do yourself, if you are experienced at using a sewing machine.
When you say that your sofa has "down" back cushions, do you mean "real" down feathers, or a simulated/imitation down, which is often some type of polyester? Have you looked at the label on the cushion liner?
Now a note about "real" down. Down can be anything from 5% down/95% feathers to 50%/50% on up to 100% down (which is very expensive.)
If it is real down, then, if it won't fluff up, probably one of the simplest thing to do is to add some more feathers/down. Just buy a new down bed pillow and use those those feathers to add more to the sofa cushion(s). Be forewarned, when you start working with down/feathers, they fly all over the place. Be sure to work out someplace where it will be easy to clean up the feathers. If you watched the video on the above message, then you see one professional method of transferring the down.
After you are finished, take the pillow to the sewing machine and sew it shut.
Stephen

 

Down Feather with Foam Insert

Here are three places in California I know working with poly-down envelops:

www.royalpillow.com

Pacific Coast Feather: 800-800-2874

Cushion's Work in San Francisco.

Good Luck

 

Down Feather with Foam Insert-addresses

Here are the addresses for the suppliers you gave:
Royal Pillow
http://www.royalpillow.com/
2110 N.W. 23rd AVE.
Miami, Fl 33142
Phone: (305) 634-3415 9:00am - 4:00pm (Eastern)
Fax: (305) 635-7192
Toll free: (866)-Pillow1 (866- 745-5691)

Pacific Coast Feather
http://www.pacificcoast.com/index.jsp
1 (888) 297-1778
1964 4th Avenue South
Seattle, WA 98134

Cushion Works
http://cushionworks.net/CorePage.html
3320 - 18th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
Ph: 415-552-6220
Fax: 415-552-6250

 

Filling the down Cushion

Hi Pam,

To answer your question, I have a (home-made) bazooka filler that I use for filling down pillows/cushions. This video* shows the process. The down/feathers you should be able to get at most wholesale upholstery suppliers. I get mine from Hoch & Selby in Portland Oregon. (Phone 503-234-6476 or 1-800-659-9904)

*video is in Windows Media player format.

Stephen

 

Down Cushion with Foam Insert

Thank you so much for sharing that with me - that was awesome, great job and wonderful idea for stuffing the down feathers.

Wishing you much success in the New Year!

Pam Lawrence
Slipcover Sensations

 

Is This Chair Worth Recovering?

What do you do when you have taken in an upholstery job, taken a deposit, ordered and received the fabric, stripped the chair, and then you find out that the chair is a lot more work that you quoted. Will the client still want to proceed? If the client doesn't want to proceed, what do do about the client's deposit, the chair frame, etc.

I had another learning session. Sometimes when we start a job, we may find that the work will be more costly than the client is willing to pay. When working with clients, it is a good practice to help her decide what best fits her budget and her desires. It sometimes takes a lot of thinking and writing things out clearly to help the client decide what she wants to do. It is also extremely important to deal openly and honestly with the client, giving her all the facts she needs to make a meaningful decision.

Recently a client contracted with me to reupholster 3 pieces of antique type furniture. Since she lives almost an hour away from my shop, and didn't want to pay any additional trip fees, she paid a deposit on each piece and agreed to pay the balance for each piece as I finished it. I would send her pictures and she would send me a check.  I've finished two of them, and sent her pictures, and she has paid for them. All that has worked fine and she is real happy with what she has seen on the pictures.

On the last piece, the frame of this antique chair......
 
(Click Pictures to enlarge)
(Click here to see all the pictures OR click here to see the slideshow)

....... is a little wobbly, the finish is kind of beat up, and the back legs are about 1 1/2" to 2" shorter than normal, which tips the whole chair backwards instead of balancing the chair more evenly on all 4 legs.

After I finished the first two pieces and tore apart the last piece, I carefully inspect the frame. Then I made notes on a picture and made a video of the results of my inspection.

After reading and watching the video she had a better understanding of the condition of this last chair. She has decided not to have me do the chair and to use the fabric on another chair that she has (which matches the loveseat I just did for her.)

Here is what I wrote her in an email about the condition of her chair.

Quote from: Stephen to client

  I realize that you said that you didn’t want to spend any more money on the arm chair, that it was at your budget as it is. This leaves me with a struggle to figure out what to do. Whenever I upholster a chair, I like to have the frame be rock solid, so it will be a solid foundation for the springs, padding, and the fabric cover. However, the frame on your chair is a little wobbly, some parts of it are more wobbly than other parts. It’s not in real bad shape at the present. Of course, you could say that the frame is useable as it is. After all, you have had it in your house for years. The reality is that as a piece of furniture is used, any loose joints will get looser with time and usage. So, the question I ask myself (and you) is should I just cover the frame as it is, with it being a little loose, or should some parts of the frame be strengthened, or should I take it all apart, reglue and clamp the joints to make a very solid chair. But then again, we have the budget to work with. Since it’s your chair, and your budget, I decided to lay out the situation and the choices before you and let you decide what you’d like to do.

Here is a video showing  the frame joints of the your chair. Please watch the video so we can discuss what you’d like to do. In addition,  I’ve also attached pdf file with a picture of the frame of your chair, with the loose joints marked, and suggested blocks placement. The picture shows the maximum block placements. Of course, you can go with any amount that you’d liked, or none.
Attached to this email is a pdf file in which I’ve also included some comparison estimates to give you an idea of what the cost to do various repairs might look like.
I might suggest, that one possibility would be to reglue the arms, and perhaps put some blocks in to strengthen them. But you can decide what your budget is and what you’d like to do.

Another thing to consider is that the back legs are much shorter than the average chair. This tilts the whole chair backward (which makes it be more prone to tipping over backwards AND it puts more weight on the back legs (when someone sits on it) rather than distributing the weight over all 4 legs evenly. This was either a poor design when the chair was made OR the back legs were cut off at some time (which it is hard to figure out why someone would do that.)

Now,  I want to mention one other thing. The finish on the woodwork of the chair is kind of in rough shape. We don’t do refinishing, but I only mention this to say that if you had any thought of refinishing it, the best time to do that would be when the cover is off, and after any frame repairs have been finished. But, since you have a tight budget, I realize that you probably don’t want to think about  the extra cost or effort for doing that. And that’s OK. But I thought that I should at least mention that.

The client decided that she didn't want me to proceed with the job. She'd pay me for what I had done on the chair, but she wanted me to use the fabric on another chair. This other chair was a matching to the antique sofa that I had just finished.