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: How to replace leather on an office chair?  ( 202 )
alekdavis
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« : March 27, 2018, 06:53:07 PM »

I want to reupholster a couple of office chairs using leather I reclaimed from an old couch, and being a total novice, I just need someone to help me make sure I do not do anything crazy. Here are the questions.

1. I assume I can buy a leather stitching kit and stitch them by hand. Can I?
2. I'm planning to saw the leather pieces together with the exposed edges. How do I make the edges look even and nice? Should I cut to size first, and then stitch them together, or should I stitch them first and then cut? Doesn't need to be perfect, but more or less even.
3. Which instrument should I use for cutting leather: a utility knife, special scissors, something else?
4. Should I apply interfacing fabric to the leather back part to make it stronger (the couch leather is not very thick). I'm particularly concerned about the pockets into which the frame of the chair goes. Need to make them sturdy. Or is there something better than interfacing. If using interfacing, which one would make sense: stitch on or iron on? Is there a particular brand to recommend?
5. Any other things I need to consider?

Many thanks in advance.

I wish I could attach the photos of the pieces that I need to re-upholster (getting error: Cannot access attachments upload path!). The chair looks like this one: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Modern-Contemporary-Office-Chair-White-Leatherette-Chrome-Steel/461092346 (not exactly the same, but close enough: basically, the seat is plywood with foam on top and leather on top and bottom, the back gets attached to the frame polls and Velcro at the bottom).

P.S. I originally planned to get this done at a local upholstery shop but they asked $250 per chair (for labor only), which is way above my budget for this project.
« : March 27, 2018, 07:03:06 PM alekdavis »
MinUph
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« #1 : March 27, 2018, 07:32:29 PM »

  This type of chair has a lot of stress on the seams. I would recommend using a sewing machine. Anything can be sewn by hand but leather is the hardest. You will want to use an awl to make a hole and then a needle and thread through that hole on and on and on.
  Interfacing will do nothing especially iron on. If it were sewn in then it might help some but a stronger fabric would be better if your concerned about the leather.
  Working with old leather is not fun. Anything used is not fun.
  $250.00 is a cheap price for labor.

Paul
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kodydog
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« #2 : March 27, 2018, 07:38:38 PM »

If you are planning on using upholstery type leather you will have a very difficult time sewing by hand. Even a home type sewing machine would have a hard time sewing upholstery weight leather. Apparel weight leather could be sewn by hand although a tedious job. Apparel weight leather is not appropriate for furniture, it will not last. Upholstery weight leather is expensive. You could easily spend $200 for leather for a chair like in your link.

If you scroll down on your link you will see desk chairs with arms between $36 and $110. I doubt they are leather. Most likely they are vinyl. There are some really nice vinyl's out there these days. Some that even an experienced professional cannot tell the difference. Vinyl can be hand sewn but once again it would be a very tedious job.

$250 labor for your chair is a fair price. I know, you can buy new cheaper. This is a dilemma upholsterers often face.

There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.
http://northfloridachair.com/index.html
alekdavis
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« #3 : March 27, 2018, 09:11:27 PM »

  This type of chair has a lot of stress on the seams. I would recommend using a sewing machine. Anything can be sewn by hand but leather is the hardest. You will want to use an awl to make a hole and then a needle and thread through that hole on and on and on.
  Interfacing will do nothing especially iron on. If it were sewn in then it might help some but a stronger fabric would be better if your concerned about the leather.
  Working with old leather is not fun. Anything used is not fun.
  $250.00 is a cheap price for labor.
I do not think my cheapest Brother sewing machine will handle leather (and thread), but maybe it can. Don't want to get in trouble with wife if it breaks. I saw some videos on how to do it by hand, and I'm sure I can handle it. Will not be perfect, which is fine. Could you recommend stronger fabric? $250 may be cheap, but it's totally outside of my price range (and it may be a totally stupid idea to do it myself, but I'll take a chance, and if it does not work, well, I'll be just out of little money spent on tools, which I may use at some point in my life).
alekdavis
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« #4 : March 27, 2018, 09:15:25 PM »

If you are planning on using upholstery type leather you will have a very difficult time sewing by hand. Even a home type sewing machine would have a hard time sewing upholstery weight leather. Apparel weight leather could be sewn by hand although a tedious job. Apparel weight leather is not appropriate for furniture, it will not last. Upholstery weight leather is expensive. You could easily spend $200 for leather for a chair like in your link.

If you scroll down on your link you will see desk chairs with arms between $36 and $110. I doubt they are leather. Most likely they are vinyl. There are some really nice vinyl's out there these days. Some that even an experienced professional cannot tell the difference. Vinyl can be hand sewn but once again it would be a very tedious job.

$250 labor for your chair is a fair price. I know, you can buy new cheaper. This is a dilemma upholsterers often face.
I already have leather and it looks pretty decent (cut it from someone's old couch), so I will not be spending any money on materials. Yes, I know, I can buy cheaper chairs, but I'm stuck on making my own (must be a mental thing). :-)
kodydog
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« #5 : March 28, 2018, 08:47:10 AM »

Nothing ventured nothing gained. None of us here would be where we are without trying new ideas. That's what makes the world go around.

Do not use cotton thread. Its fine for clothing but not upholstery. Its not strong enough. You will get better results with nylon thread.

 
« : March 28, 2018, 08:49:49 AM kodydog »

There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.
http://northfloridachair.com/index.html
kodydog
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« #6 : March 28, 2018, 09:00:15 AM »



1. I assume I can buy a leather stitching kit and stitch them by hand. Can I?
2. I'm planning to saw the leather pieces together with the exposed edges. How do I make the edges look even and nice? Should I cut to size first, and then stitch them together, or should I stitch them first and then cut? Doesn't need to be perfect, but more or less even.
3. Which instrument should I use for cutting leather: a utility knife, special scissors, something else?
4. Should I apply interfacing fabric to the leather back part to make it stronger (the couch leather is not very thick). I'm particularly concerned about the pockets into which the frame of the chair goes. Need to make them sturdy. Or is there something better than interfacing. If using interfacing, which one would make sense: stitch on or iron on? Is there a particular brand to recommend?
5. Any other things I need to consider?


Tandy Leather on line has a good assortment of leather tools.

Typically I would use the old fabric as a pattern cut to the same size. This includes a 1/2 " seam allowance.

No special scissors are needed to cut leather. The sharper the better. DO NOT USE WIFES FAVORATE PAIR.


There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.
http://northfloridachair.com/index.html
alekdavis
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« #7 : March 28, 2018, 12:22:26 PM »

Thank you, kodydog. After thinking a bit more, I'm getting more inclined to use my Brother LS2350 sewing machine instead of hand stitching. The manual says that it may not work on fabrics thicker than 6mm, but even with 3 layers of leather, I don't think it will go that thick. I can do the back side of the seat by hand once the plywood piece with foam is inserted or even easier, just have it attached by Velcro (so it will be stitched together on the frond and both sides and a open back with Velcro). And the back piece can be done totally on the sawing machine (assuming it works; I'd need to try first). Thanks for the ideas. Gonna buy those ultimate scissors. :-)
« : March 28, 2018, 12:23:11 PM alekdavis »
SteveA
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« #8 : March 29, 2018, 11:08:34 AM »

Tandy leather sells a pair of scissors that I have yet to find a better equivalent - With the tip you can cut through 4oz leather - worth the investment - I think they were around $ 40.00
SA
alekdavis
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« #9 : March 29, 2018, 12:01:25 PM »

Thanks, but it's a bit above my scissors budget. I'm thinking more around something like this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FVERJGW/
SteveA
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« #10 : March 29, 2018, 01:04:02 PM »

That one says leather - it will work I'm sure -  you can always pick up a metal cutting sniper for those more difficult jobs.  Tag sales typically have them for $ 2.00

Good Luck,
SA
alekdavis
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« #11 : March 29, 2018, 04:04:06 PM »

That one says leather - it will work I'm sure -  you can always pick up a metal cutting sniper for those more difficult jobs.  Tag sales typically have them for $ 2.00

Good Luck,
SA
Thanks. I'll check.
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