If you’ve had time to digest Part 1 of Armand’s chair, it’s time to hang on to your seat. Let’s get to it and see how he finished up this Victorian Iron Back Chair. Paul and I have a feeling that he really outdid himself by creating that squared edge that wraps from arm to arm around the top edge. Way to go Armand!
When we left off in Part 1, we saw the cotton wadding he placed on the inside back. Since then Armand has updated me and told me that he in fact, did not use any coir in this chair (coconut fiber), but prefers 100% horsehair from the tail of the horse. His edge roll and inside back roll were created using horsehair, not the less expensive coir fiber. Additionally, he traced the diamond shapes on the inside back burlap (hessian), added stuffing ties and horsehair before he laid down that cotton wadding in the photo in Part 1.
OK. Now that we’re up to date, let’s take a peek into his workshop. As seen here, he’s beginning the deep buttoning process.
He’s skewered the buttoned inside back along the sides and is working on the inside arms. So far, we’ve seen no machine stitching on this chair.
We don’t see any tacks or staples, but he told me that he prefers using tacks unless the wood is very old. Staples preserve the wood better than upholstery tacks do. Below, everything is skewered and ready for securing. He can easily make adjustments at this stage since the fabric is only skewered in place.
Looks like he chose tacks for this very old chair. Very tidy job, don’t you think?
No need to talk here. Just enjoy.
He’s cut, folded under the edges and skewered the burlap outside back in place. Notice the amount of hand stitching. By the way, you can see that he’s placed a piece of calico over the finished front of the chair to prevent any dirt, stain, or any other upholsterer’s nightmare from occuring.
After the outside back burlap is in place, he moved down to the front apron, skirt, nose, or whatever it’s called in your part of the world. Here, he’s added the stuffing ties or bridle stitches to hold the horsehair bundles in place.
He created the horsehair bundles and placed them under the ties. When it’s covered in horsehair, he’ll take a regulator or long tufting needle and sort of ‘rat’ it together so that the hairs from one area mesh with the bundle next to it. This is where you just have to know when it feels right. It’s soft, bouncy and evenly distributed across that area.
After fully padding out the front, he deep buttoned the front, then hand stitched the fabric in place.
It’s time to add the outside back fabric. Now you can see where he stitched the center outside back final fabric piece to the outside arm pieces. Look at that pattern match!
He’s secured the outside back and is now ready to pad the band all the way around the top edge.
Here, he does the same thing as he did on the front band.
This is just pure beauty, skill and talent
And finally, he hand stitched the contrasting braid all the way around to give this masterpiece depth, contrast, and elegance.
As it turns out, this chair is in the front window of A Stitch in Twine, an upholstery shop west of London.
You can contact A Stitch in Twine for a price. As with all traditional upholstery, it is very labor intense. The iron back chairs with springs in the back are a rarity, if you get your hands on one, don’t let it go.
Remember, Armand can be found here.
For more upholstery posts, just search upholstery on our home page. We love it, we live it, we teach it!
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