Typical Me – I Started Something… And Now I’m Not Too Sure…


So I bought these 6 dining chairs on Ebay in a fit of upholstery learning enthusiasm. I was looking for some small boxes to work on for my Furniture Restoration class but seeing these for sale nearby and managing to buy them in a giddy auction bid-out for only £22 for the lot, I thought – why not? I’ll learn to do them up, re-upholster them and perhaps sell them on, maybe not for a profit necessarily but to a loving home, and I will have learnt a lot along the way.

Well… learn a lot I certainly have. How hard can it be? Well I have learned… pretty hard actually.

First thing I noticed when I got them home was that some of them have suffered from woodworm, and some are rotting away from being stored in damp conditions. They were all really filthy and covered in cobwebs and the threadbare leather seating (or what was left of them) and hessian and webbing are held in with about 100 rusty tacks per chair.

So there I was one sunny morning, sleeves rolled up – de-tacking and painting with woodworm treatment.

oak chair - de tacked

I got one chair pretty well cleaned up and discovered that one of it’s joints was coming apart. Probably munched away from within by the woodworms. And then I stopped… for several days, possibly weeks, feigning bad weather or bad back or both… and then another sunny morning came along and I thought I had better do some more… one chair down… five to go…

 And I was busy pulling out tacks and sanding down and I was listening to my Spotify playlist on my phone and suddenly, quite appropriately the Smith’s came on with ‘I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish’ and as I was singing along and merrily pulling out my 130th rusty tack, I thought goodness… is this song trying to tell me something…


Hair brushed and parted
Typical me, typical me
Typical me
I started something
…And now I’m not too sure…

Anyhoo… here is a before and after of the two chairs I have managed to clean up so far…

before and after de-tacking and sanding
I took my wobbly joint chair into my Furniture Restoration class this week and showed it to my tutor. He made me bash it apart with a rubber mallet – poor chair! And on week one the woodwormy leg was left being held by about 4 clamps and a whole lot of fish glue.
chair having been bashed apart woodwormy leg being held together by fish glue
And the following week we plastered filler all over the corroded joint and then tried to drill new holes for the dowls and it splintered into several pieces. The damage from the woodworm although not much to see from the outside but a few small holes, has turned the inside into swiss cheese!
So – lots of umming and ahhing later… and we plasterd on more filler  – a LOT more filler and basically glued it back together with filler and popped it in a sash clamp.
filling the woodworm damage with fillerholding together in sash clamprepairs using a sash clamp and filler

And all this is before I even get anywhere near any fabric…

I must say – people have been very supportive though, despite my clearly having some screws loose somewhere… my lovely mother-in-law has passed on her upholstery tool collection. And her much loved father’s tool collection of chisels and block planes and screws… he was a carpenter and so has a very impressive collection of old wooden handled, steel bladed chisels, which my tutor helped me sharpen.


Now I just have to learn how to actually put some new upholstery on.Oh and de-tack and sand down and repair another 4 chairs…

Wish me luck… I’m gonna need it.

To be continued…




One thought on “Typical Me – I Started Something… And Now I’m Not Too Sure…

  1. Pingback: Typical Me – I Started Something… And Now I’m Not Too Sure…part 2 | How Hard Can it Be?

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