I have a set of 6 chairs around my dining table and they all decided recently to start sagging. After asking around and looking at some info around the web, I found out that this is not so hard to fix. So I decided to make a tutorial around it and share it with you guys. So let’s get to it.
As you can see in the picture, you’ll need a few easily accessible tools for the job. You’ll need a box cutter (or scissors), a hammer, pliers, a pencil and a tape measure, a lighter and most importantly, an upholstery stapler. You’ll also need some webbing for the seat. The quantity very much depends on the chair’s dimensions. I’ve used some synthetic one and not jute (I think it’s nylon) because it doesn’t rot, smell or stretch as much as jute. 3/8 or ½ inch staples for the stapler should do just fine.
DISASSEMBLE the chair
The first step is taking the seat of the chair carefully apart by removing the old staples to reveal the foam underneath. My chairs are built in a way that allowed me to also unscrew the legs and the back. This made things easier. After removing the foam you’ll find the webbing. My chairs had a type of webbing that was elasticated and a bit too thin, which caused the excess sagging.
Removing the old webbing
Now you just have to carefully remove the old staples that hold the webbing using the box cutter to gently pry them a bit and then the pliers to remove them without breaking them. It’s OK if they break, you can still remove some with the pliers. I found the bent nose pliers to work well for the stubborn ones because I could gently use leverage to pull them out.
The next step is to measure your centers on each side of the chair seat so you roughly know where to put the straps of the webbing. After that you start laying the webbing strip by strip in one direction and then the other, weaving them in a basket weave. Keep in mind that chair frames are not necessarily square. So don’t follow the frame when you’re weaving the strips but instead follow the one you put in the center. That way you’ll have the straps parallel to each other and the strips will support an even amount of pressure. They’ll work together.
After you’ve fixed one end of a strap and need to staple the other end, you’ll have to tighten it to a point where if you flick it, it sounds like a drum. At the end, all straps should sound the same. For this part there is a special tool that essentially uses leverage to tighten the strip, but it’s a professional tool. I found a great work around trick that uses a monkey wrench for the same effect.
After stapling the second end of the strap you can cut it off the spool. Just leave an extra inch or so for the fold. I’ve used a lighter to melt the ends a bit so it doesn’t unravel with time. Just be careful not to overdo it at this point. Nylon is a highly flammable plastic material. It can cause serious injury if it falls on your skin when it’s hot. Better be safe and wear some working gloves. Then you can turn the fold over and staple it again. The staples should not be aligned because it can cause too much stress on the same grain of wood. This eventually splits it. Instead, inter-lay the staples.
Putting it back together
The next step involves putting back the foam cushion on the webbing and stapling back the upholstery on the back. This step requires some patience, because if the material is not evenly stretched back on the cushion it will show. But is really easy to do. You just staple around the base and stretch it at the same time. Just check the front while you’re doing it and adjust accordingly.
The last step for me was to screw back the legs of the chairs. So there you have it, easy as pie.
I’d love to see how it went for you guys, so leave a comment and let us know. Or if you need help, leave us a question.