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Vodder Rocking chair webbing recommendation.

- 21 Aug 2015 -
17 posts / 0 new


I just bought a Vodder rocking chair without it's original upholstery. I think it's a job I can tackle myself, but a little bit of advice from you guys would be appreciated.

What kind of webbing should I buy? What's on there now is definitely not original. I found an image of the underside of a newly upholstered seat, would that be a suitable match to the original and what is that type of webbing called?

Any help is much appreciated!

Vodder Rocking chair webbing recommendation.


- 22 Aug 2015

The original webbing is Pirelli rubber webbing. Just get that, it's still available and it is best to redo a valuable chair like this with original materials.

I would just recommend that you use a pneumatic stapler. An electric staple gun won't drive the staples in completely, and it also uses heavier gauge staples which can actually split the wood over time. Tacks are ok but harder for a beginner to use on stretched webbing, and they can also split wood in this application.

If you're not sure about it, have an upholsterer do this part, including removing the old webbing. Or if you do want to do the stripping, at least get a Berry Staple Remover tool (google-able) so that gouging the wood is minimized.

- 22 Aug 2015

Good advice.

Spanky's the best!

- 22 Aug 2015

Thank you Spanky, that's exactly the advice I was hoping for. I was really hoping it was something I could do, but by the sounds of it I might need to give it to a professional as I only have an electric staple gun. Although my husband has always wanted to get a compressor so now that I finally have a use for it, he might jump on the opportunity!

Do any of you happen to own this chair? If so could you measure the thickness of the foam? Please and thank you!

- 22 Aug 2015

I don't own that chair but I can tell from numerous photos online that it has 1" thick foam. The seat frame is a separate unit and the foam has to be glued to the frame (but not to the webbing). It might also need to be tapered around the perimeter to get a clean rounded edge---kinda depends on the density of the foam and the weight of the fabric. And it looks like the seat frame unit sits inside the chair frame a bit so the fabric can't be too bulky, especially at the notched corners. You will have to do some snipping and trimming there, though not too much because you don't want any cuts showing, of course. Corners trip up a lot of DIYers.

The fabric needs to be stapled with very even tension all around the perimeter, otherwise the foam will be more compressed in places than in others and will look uneven. The fabric should also be glued to the foam, otherwise it'll just stretch across the curved frame like a drumhead. You have to use heavy duty spray adhesive for this. 3M brand is good, just make sure it's their heavy duty stuff. And make sure it won't bleed through your fabric. Most upholstery fabrics stand up to it---but not all.

This isn't like one of those simple upholstered dining chair seats that is an easy DIY project. If you're a meticulous and dextrous type, and willing to keep at it until it's right, you might be able to handle it. Even so, you might want to practice on some other stuff first.

If you do get a compressor, make sure it's compatible PSI-wise with the stapler you get. The Porter-Cable upholstery stapler is a very good one for the money, I think under $100 on amazon.

- 22 Aug 2015

Spanky, thank you so much for the time you have taken to explain all of that. I really appreciate it! Perfectly clear and descriptive instructions.

I have only upholstered dining chairs before, but I feel I can tackle this because I am a "meticulous and dextrous type" with a dash of perfectionism thrown in for good measure!

The person who reupholstered it before was obviously a more creative, use what I've got type. The red string in the second picture has been used to attach what appears to be a linen belt to the crumbling webbing. The wooden drop in frame was then encased in an old t-shirt with the neck and arm holes sewn closed. And then the black vinyl cushion was covered with a pillow case, beautifully hand stitched closed. Definitely a unique look!

- 22 Aug 2015

spanky is the best. No vote necessary.

- 23 Aug 2015

You guys are much too kind.

One other tip: when gluing the fabric to the foam, first lay it on and make sure it's centered and that the grain is straight. The latter is easier if you do it upside down, but just make sure the fabric doesn't shift when you flip it over. A few T-pins will help keep it in place.

Once you're sure the fabric is positioned exactly right, fold one half of it back on itself and spray both the foam and the fabric lightly with adhesive; let that dry for half a minute and repeat once or twice. If you do a heavy coat on the fabric, you increase the chances of it soaking through which you do NOT want. Also, make sure that all of the face side of the fabric is covered. Spray adhesive doesn't always go exactly where you're aiming. (Check the nozzle often and clear buildup off it as needed.)

Let that air dry for a few minutes, then carefully smooth the fabric onto the foam from the center line out, making sure there are no bubbles or creases. Missteps are hard to fix because the stuff grips right away and will pull foam off with it if you try to undo it.

Repeat with the other half.

Oh, also--you don't need to glue the fabric to the entire surface of foam, just to maybe within an inch or two of the top edges. The rest will smooth into place when you stretch and staple the fabric to the underside.

- 02 Jan 2018

spanky, you mentioned a Porter-Cable pneumatic stapler above. Would you be referring to model US58? That model uses 22 gauge staples. Is that gauge suitable for using for heavy fabrics and vinyl on hardwood frames? Is 20 gauge overkill?


- 02 Jan 2018

Yep, that's the one.

I have only ever used 22 gauge staples and have never had an issue with them not being heavy enough to do the job. They do tend to cut through very delicate fabrics (like silk) and also paper cord---but tacks are recommended for delicate fabrics anyway, and there is rarely a time when a staple is the only option for fastening paper cord (i would say never, but never say never).

I love my Porter-Cable stapler so much. I have fired about a billion staples with it and can't think of a single time that it jammed. (Also comes in really handy if you have to put up insulation batts or plastic sheeting or stuff like that.)

- 02 Jan 2018

great. thanks.

I'm finally upgrading from a manual stapler. 1/4" and 1/2" legs have been the two lengths that worked fine for me for the manual (with mostly 1/4" for all of the dining chair plywood seat work).

do you have a preferred staple brand you use?

- 02 Jan 2018

I have whatever the upholstery supply store had in stock, no special brand. Fasco or Senco are fine, anything as long as it's 3/8" crown. I used mostly 3/8" legs (good hold but not as much to remove as the 1/2", if and when it was necessary). I have 1/2" for doing several layers of bulky fabric, like on chair corners, and 1/4" for tacking or just going into think stuff where it might come through the other side (cheap chair seats, etc).

Get yourself a Berry Stapler Remover if you don't already have one! It will be your second best friend, after the stapler. And if you need to put temporary staples in to tack something that may need adjustment before the final stapling, angle the stapler to the side about 30-45 degrees so that one leg doesn't go all the way in.

Do you have a compressor? I had a small Craftsman one for years but it finally died after I lent to one of my kids but forgot to tell him to keep an eye on the oil gauge. Now i have a smaller but WAY quieter one that I can run in my condo without worrying about complaints from my neighbors. I love it.

- 02 Jan 2018

thanks again, spanky. 3/8" legs it is. I do have a berry remover, but find that I keep going back to the sharpened small slotted screwdriver to loosen, followed by a needlenose pliers to remove.

Since this is my first pneumatic tool, I will be getting a compressor very shortly. There are plenty of used 6gal oilless pancake compressors on craigslist here in Chicago (many Porter-Cables), so that will be my first approach.

And I've got a few run-of-the-mill Danish chairs all ready to go for trying out the new setup in a couple of weeks.

- 03 Jan 2018

cd, most of those little oil-less compressors are fine but, if you haven't used one before, they are LOUD. If you can set it up to work in a separate room, all the better. Get the lightest 25' hose possible (not a coiled one) and bleed the tank when you're done. It's one of those tools that makes you wonder how you ever managed without one.

- 03 Jan 2018

tk, I have not used one of those pancake compressors before. We have a large one in our office workshop. Since it will be used in my basement, and without a large air volume requirement for stapling, intermittent noise is not a big issue for me.

- 03 Jan 2018

I always used headphone-type hearing protectors when stapling, though more for the sound of the stapler firing repeatedly near my head. Then I would take them off to cut fabric or do whatever for awhile, totally forgetting that the compressor was still on--and then I'd jump out of my skin when it kicked on unexpectedly.

- 03 Jan 2018

Good for you, spanky. Hearing protection is something we often forget about and you're right to take precautions. It's not just the loud sounds we hear that do damage. The high-frequency noise that registers near the limits of what humans can detect are sometimes the worst.

My workshop is basically half of a two-car garage. I keep my compressor in the other half and have run the hose through a hole bored in the wall between. And, yes, I've been jarred awake by the the noise of the machine suddenly kicking on in the middle of the night more than once!

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