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: Alternative to horsehair?  ( 2131 )
gatsby989
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« : February 01, 2012, 12:03:04 AM »

Watching Mike's great videos on upholstering a wingback chair has really been a wonderful help! I'm wondering though if there is an alternative to horsehair that is a little more easily available / affordable?
ahkahn
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« #1 : February 01, 2012, 08:46:18 AM »

We stock horse hair.  You're right - it is expensive though.  You can always use a Dacron/Fiberfill, but it doesn't have that same "crunch" that hair has.  We also have had people use our much firmer carpet pad (which is really simply a heavy bonded dacron). 

You could always hit up the barber shop with a broom....   ;)

Take care,
Andrew
gatsby989
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« #2 : February 01, 2012, 08:59:44 AM »

Hmm. Oddly, the barbershop actually gave me a thought. (Run while you can!)

What do you think about using wool instead? My parents have sheep, used to have some navajo churros, which are gnarly, shaggy little sheep with very coarse wool. Not as coarse as horse / hog hair, though. If I'm not mistaken, I think there are bags and bags of the stuff (cleaned and carded, some or most of it is probably in batts to be spun) in the attic that they'd probably let me have for free.

I know that wool tends to felt, but on a seat, that might be a good thing?
ahkahn
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« #3 : February 01, 2012, 09:17:28 AM »

If you want to go natural, I'm sure you could go that way. 

Here is the main issue with horsehair:  The majority of the time horse/hog hair is used in antique pieces.  Those pieces that are restored to original quality because of their antiquity, need to be authentically restored.  In that case, being price conscience is not an option, and you must use horse/hog hair.  Watch Antiques Roadshow and you'll get my point.

If, in the case of not needing to restore it to original quality for antiquity purposes, you want to "just fix it up" and "make it nice", reupholster the piece using the nicest "modern"/non-authentic materials on the market...  dacron, foam, etc.  You'll have a much more comfortable piece in the end, for a lower cost.

-Andrew

gene
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« #4 : February 01, 2012, 09:43:18 AM »

I don't think wool has the same loft that horse hair has.

It is interesting how many people do not know that hogs have hair.

Foam is often used to replace horse hair.

gene

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gatsby989
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« #5 : February 01, 2012, 09:58:05 AM »

Thanks for the info, Andrew. The chair is new and has never been upholstered before, so authenticity / originality is not mandatory. I do have sort of "traditionalist" leanings, however. The seat is approximately 22" x 24" If a pound of horsehair would do it, that's really not so bad cost wise. It is to be a tight seat. But if modern materials would be more comfortable, I'm certainly interested that.

Gene: if using foam instead, are we talking just 2" thick seat foam, or something like that?
kodydog
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« #6 : February 01, 2012, 09:18:30 PM »

Gatsby, your building a chair from the frame up right? And from what I remember a really nice frame at that. If you want a really luxurious feel you could go with the horsehair. If you have the money and patience to deal with it. Foam would be my choice for an alternative but its hard to get the nice horsehair look with foam. Foam tends to crown unlike horsehair which lays flat. And this is what gives old furniture that antique look.

If you go with foam I would use at least 3". With 2" you may feel the springs through it. 

 

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