Crafts Furniture

A Novice’s Musings on Upholstery, Part 2

….or should that be Round 2?

Today I plucked up enough courage to have another bash at removing all the tacks and staples from a dated, plush bench, which I have had a love/hate relationship with for some time, and which I am attempting to reupholster.

This time, I am ready for battle – the gloves are on, the caffeine is brewed, and the battle music is playing . I mean business!

Ding! The bell rings, and I make a good start – in the first half an hour I manage to completely strip both of the arm rests and make a start on the seat itself. I managed to rip one of the foam pads in half, by accidentally getting it caught on the leg of the bench when I moved it round. This will need repairing before returning to the armrest! A few hits are returned – in the form of various minor scratches and scrapes all over my hands from errant staples, but I emerge relatively unscathed, with a full bowl of extracted metal, one hour later.


Carly 1 – 0  Bench. Result!

More tea, and I’m ready for the next bout.

Actually, today old Dusty (yes, I’ve ended up calling the bench Dusty, after her rather faded pink covering) is actually behaving herself and I am making good progress. In fact, there is a much better fabric-to-staple ratio on the seat (one staple to every centimetre, rather than 3), which is making this a whole lot easier. It’s almost as though the arm sections were prepared by an overzealous, trigger-happy apprentice, who was beginning to lose interest by the time he got to the seat.  I feel like I was a little hasty to curse the whole project previously, especially if it continues to go smoothly! I’m almost beginning to feel a little sympathetic towards Dusty – if someone was pulling all my skin off I’d put up a fight too!

Either Dusty and I are getting used to each other, or (possibly more likely) I’m improving my techniques with this. I’ve discovered that it’s easier to loosen a row of tacks first, and then removing them all with pliers, rather than loosening and removing each one before starting on the next. I’ve also discovered that brute force isn’t nearly as effective as gently levering each pin out. This method also seems to do much less damage to the wood, which is obviously a good thing.


Therefore, at this point I change the record to allow more calm work! Time for a little bit of Frank Ocean, to put me in a chilled mood. Ah. Better.

Given that a calm demeanour seems to yield better results for this sort of activity, I’ve taken to doing little and often, rather than being in a mad dash to get it finished. If the kettle’s boiling, dinner’s almost ready or the bath is filling up, I’ll use that 3-5 minute period to tackle another little row. I’ve realised that there is no point getting stressed with it – after all, all this crafting is meant to be stress-busting!

I’m very close to having all the fabric removed now, which is a relief. All I’ve got left to do is remove the buttons from the seat back now. Hopefully I’ll get the whole thing stripped down in the next few days, so that I can get on with sanding and painting. Stay tuned!

By carlymau

Hello! Well, I’m sure someone once said that we are what we repeatedly do, so… I guess I like making stuff, cooking, swimming, sleuthing and watching old black and white movies. I live near a lake. I like feeding the ducks. I work for a trade union and generally like anything that involves rooting for the underdog. Currently I am living in Doncaster and learning one new craft at a time.

Please seek me out –

2 replies on “A Novice’s Musings on Upholstery, Part 2”

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