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General Upholstery Questions and Comments => General Discussion => Topic started by: kodydog on May 03, 2017, 07:18:15 PM

Title: Recovering Metal Patio Chairs
Post by: kodydog on May 03, 2017, 07:18:15 PM
We have seen a small up tic on upholstering this type of patio chair. 3 sets in the last 6 months.

One set was PVC but still basically pull the old fabric out of the groove and slip the new fabric into the groove. Then screw it all back together. We charge $75 each not including fabric. All three customers found the mesh type fabric at Fabric Guru.

Generally we will go years without doing one. So we checked out prices last time we were in Lowes. I was very surprised to see prices range from $130 to $200. I did four today and thought that was pretty good. They did give me a pretty good workout, that old fabric is a bugger to get out.  Just thinking this may be something else manufactures can't beat us on price.

(http://i1179.photobucket.com/albums/x386/EdwinNorthuis/th_Badylak_Patio_Chairs.jpg) (http://s1179.photobucket.com/user/EdwinNorthuis/media/Badylak_Patio_Chairs.jpg.html)

(http://i1179.photobucket.com/albums/x386/EdwinNorthuis/th_Cassie_Patio_Chairs.jpg) (http://s1179.photobucket.com/user/EdwinNorthuis/media/Cassie_Patio_Chairs.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Recovering Metal Patio Chairs
Post by: gene on May 04, 2017, 08:00:24 AM
Those chairs look great.

Getting the old fabric out is a pain. The only thing I like about it is that the fabric is in metal and you can't split the metal like you can split wood when you are cleaning out channels in wood.

gene
Title: Re: Recovering Metal Patio Chairs
Post by: SteveA on May 04, 2017, 11:15:46 AM
I had a stool do do - I removed the fabric - made  template off old fabric and when I slid the new sling back into the channels it was a little loose.  Not enough to redo it but lesson learned
SA
Title: Re: Recovering Metal Patio Chairs
Post by: kodydog on May 12, 2017, 12:25:04 PM
Yep, that old fabric gets stretched more then it looks. Best to measure the frame and add your allowances. Even then the first one may come out a little loose. Better get that first one right before going on to the rest. 
Title: Re: Recovering Metal Patio Chairs
Post by: baileyuph on May 14, 2017, 09:09:29 PM
This subject reminded me of the 4 I did a few years ago.  I remembered it was a pain in the neck to get the material in and the problem was results were extremely tight.  I used heat
and pulled like never before.

Glad to see them go.

I often wondered what the factory installation technique is?

Doyle

Also, the material wasn't inexpensive!
Title: Re: Recovering Metal Patio Chairs
Post by: kodydog on May 15, 2017, 10:11:45 AM
The factory may have special gripping tools to help protect the fabric when pulling it through the channel but besides that I'm pretty sure the method is similar. What makes it hard to recover these chairs is the grime that works it way into the channel and builds up over the years. A little silicone helps with the R and R.
Title: Re: Recovering Metal Patio Chairs
Post by: D3Gilmore on August 02, 2017, 01:24:42 AM
I rewove a set of Tropitone vinyl chairs and ottoman a few months ago and it was a workout pulling and stretching the vinyl while warm so it didn't loosen up once cooled. Those aren't cheap chairs but the time added up and really took two sets of hands from time to time. I thought I could make some good money doing chairs like that but they really were labor intensive.

I haven't done slingback chairs yet but have seen how it's done.

Kodydog, how long did it take per chair? Just curious what it SHOULD take.
Title: Re: Recovering Metal Patio Chairs
Post by: kodydog on August 02, 2017, 07:41:40 PM
I did the four in the bottom picture in one 9 hour day. The first one came out too loose and had to be redone.

The four in the top picture were more difficult. If you look at the backs you can see the sides are not attached to the frame. There is nothing to pull them tight. When cutting the pattern the sides bow in ) (. If you don't get those bow's tight enough you will end up with a bunch of puckers where the top is attached. At first I didn't know what was going on and all I could do was stand there and stare at it. It took several tries to get it right. I'll probably pass on that style next time.

For me getting them apart was the hard part. A lot of crap builds up in those channels. I found if I spray the channel with soapy water it helps. I cut the old fabric right down the middle before I start pulling on it. That way I only have one metal channel to mess with. I clamped the channel to my work bench to help hold it down. Then when I get ready to slide the new fabric in I spray the channel with silicone. Before I screwed the channels back to the frame I made sure the fabric in the channels were pulled as tight as I could get it, up and down. It'll give you a good workout for sure.
Title: Re: Recovering Metal Patio Chairs
Post by: Rich on August 09, 2017, 05:54:37 AM
I did the four in the bottom picture in one 9 hour day. The first one came out too loose and had to be redone.

Just curious kody, you had mentioned that you charge $75.00 each, was that 9 hour day all labor? That's only $33.00/hour for the four you did.
seems like you could be making more per hour doing something else, no?
Rich
Title: Re: Recovering Metal Patio Chairs
Post by: MinUph on August 09, 2017, 06:19:18 AM
I personally hate this sling chairs and refuse them now. But I have seen an add someplace that they do them for 59 bucks. I will post when I see it again.
Title: Re: Recovering Metal Patio Chairs
Post by: kodydog on August 09, 2017, 07:31:36 AM
Just curious kody, you had mentioned that you charge $75.00 each, was that 9 hour day all labor? That's only $33.00/hour for the four you did.
seems like you could be making more per hour doing something else, no?
Rich

I know. In some parts of the country upholsterers can charge much higher prices, with that usually comes higher cost of living. Here in North Central Florida $30 to $40 an hour is considered good pay There are a few shops around here with commercial real estate, who have been around longer and have better name recognition that can  get $40-$50. Much more than that and your out of business.

Two things about customers around here. They compare prices and many aren't concerned about quality. Price is their only criteria. It always amazes me the slop coming out of shops who charge less than me. I try not to spend too much time on those customers. I can charge more because I have a better product and better customer service. And second, customers compare my prices with furniture store prices. It takes a good salesman to convince them that their 30 year old sofa is worth hanging onto and although my prices may be higher than furniture store prices its still a bargain. My wife is that sales person but we still loose a lot of people who simply cannot afford us. When they see my prices are $400 or $500 more then the furniture store they loose interest. The stack of invoices of estimates we didn't get is much higher than the ones we did get.

Antiques are a whole different story. Most people don't mind paying a little more to restore a family heirloom. Sentimental value is priceless. The problem with Gainesville and Lake City is they are not known for their history. Around here not many people buy a historic home and fill full of antiques. We take all we can get but its not like when we lived in Charleston or St Augustine.

But we get by and I like living here. These last couple of years our backlog has stayed 6 weeks to 3 months full.  :)
Title: Re: Recovering Metal Patio Chairs
Post by: Rich on August 11, 2017, 06:45:18 AM
Thanks for the details Kody, it's amazing how much difference there is from one part of the country to another, but certainly understandable.
Thinking about your wording " in one 9 hour day" I'm thinking you probably meant that you got them all done in a single day full of telephone calls, speaking with customers, writing up invoices etc. because I don't think you meant each chair took 2-1/4 hours of hands-on labor to complete.
Rich
Title: Re: Recovering Metal Patio Chairs
Post by: kodydog on August 11, 2017, 08:32:10 AM
Fortunately my wife handles most of the time killers like phone calls, answering questions and estimates. I still get interruptions during the day but not near as bad as when I was working alone and doing all that stuff by myself.

Definitely 9 hours for all 4 chairs. Don't forget cutting and sewing. The old stitching had come apart. So I double stitched the sides for extra strength. And the first chair had to be redone because it came out too loose. These chairs were outside. They were under an overhang by the pool but still in the elements. The screws that held the channels in place were corroded and frozen. They were put together with an allan wrench so I had to figure out how to get them out without stripping them. I sprayed WD-40 on them and let them sit overnight. Then I took a hammer and gave each one a good wack to try to loosen them up. They all came out without stripping. One chair had water inside the frame.

Then the fun part starts. Getting the old fabric out of the channel is a challenge. Because these chairs sat outside for ten years a lot of dirt and gunk built up inside the channel. I clamped the channel to my workbench. I used a pair of pliers and tried to pull them out but they wouldn't budge. So I sprayed them with soapy water and let them sit for a while. If these channels were straight they would have been much easier. But they are curved so you have to keep working with them until they start moving. I felt like I really accomplished something each time one was removed. There were 8 channels.

To put them back together was a little easier but still challenging. I used a rag and silicone to clean the channels and help give it some lubricant. The top and bottom corners have four layers of fabric. The sides have a spline that holds the fabric into the channel. To get this started into the channel I took a hammer and pounded those corners as flat as I could get them. The fabric went in smoothly until it hit that curve. Then you have to apply a little force to it.

The funny thing is to watch a Youtube video of someone doing this procedure. They make it look soooo easy.