Sunday, November 30, 2014

Paws Awhile - Re-Upholstery 102 - The Beach Recliner

Our beach condo came furnished, but I think their decorator may have been Amish. The decor was more that of a quaint old farmhouse than a beach condo. We elected to keep only a few things, among which was this old comfy LA-Z-BOY recliner complete with its worn dirty herculon upholstery.

It definitely needed a facelift! I picked a beachy outdoor fabric that will hopefully be stain resistant against sunscreen, sand and salt water.

Here's what I needed in my arsenal to start this project:
Toolkit (complete with an assortment of screwdriver tips and sockets.
Staple remover
Sewing machine & extra needles
Fine tipped scissors (I love these)
Electric Staple Gun & Staples
Fabric (I used an outdoor fabric since this chair will be used at the beach).
Upholstery Tack strip
Reading Glasses
Assistant (somewhat reluctant)
Understanding Neighbors (if you live in a condo)
Sense of Humor

First I took "before" pictures. You always want to do that so you can get that sense of accomplishment when you look at your finished product. You should also take lots of pictures during the dissassembly so you can remember how to re-assemble the chair.  I'll show you those "before" pictures at the end of the blog, next to the "after" pictures.

Next, I removed the back. LA-Z-BOY had instructions on their website so that part was easy. 

I wanted to start on the arms because I predicted that would be the most difficult part. I wasn't sure how they were attached. Using a screwdriver, hammer & staple remover, I removed the fabric from the side of the chair so I could see how the arm was attached.

With the help of my reluctant assistant (my husband, Tony), we figured out that there was a screw and two bolts inside the side of the arm at the front attaching the front of the arm to the chair.  

At the back was a long screw that attaches to a little screw looking thing that slips up into the bottom of the arm. This picture shows where the back screw is located.

Once you get the fabric off, you can see where to insert the screwdriver to remove the screw. Watch for the little receiver piece that will fall out of the arm when you remove the screw. You'll want to save that for the reassembly step.

Next, I needed to remove the seat bottom so that I could get to the inside of the side panels.  Four screws on each side held the seat bottom to the metal inner workings of the chair. 

I had to kick out the foot rest to get to one of the screws holding the seat bottom.

With the seat bottom removed, I could get to the inside of the side panels to remove the rest of the fabric. I tried to leave the foam rubber in place as much as possible. I only removed one of the side panels so I would have the other one to refer to when I attached the new fabric to the other side.

I was very careful when removing the old fabric so I could use it as a pattern to cut my new fabric.  I cut notches and made markings with my sharpie on the old fabric to remind me how it should be assembled.

Since I needed two side panels and they were the same size, I was able to double the fabric and cut two at the same time.

 I was careful to notice the direction of the pattern on the new fabric and make sure I didn't cut the pieces upside down.

I matched the notches and pinned the pieces together easing the fabric at the curves so there would be no puckers or wrinkles.

I sewed the side pieces together and started attaching the piece to the chair using a staple gun. I realized that I would need to replace the fabric underneath the footrest before I could reattach the arms since one end of it needed to go under the wooden part of the arm.

I got that done, got one side upholstered and the arm reattached. The other side went very smoothly. I just had to remove footrest lever using an allen wrench. Thanks again to LA-Z-BOY for posting how-to videos on their site.

With the sides finished and arms reattached, I removed the cover from the seat bottom and prepared and attached the new cover using the same method as above. The bottom was the easiest part to cover.

Next would be the seat back, the part I dreaded the most. I started by carefully removing the back panel. I wanted to reuse the metal tack strips so I gingerly pried them loose.

The seat back had little "arms" on each side that were attached with bolts.  After taking the back panel off, I removed and recovered these little "arms" using the old fabric as a pattern.

 I removed the hardware from the side of the seat back and removed the staples holding the cover in place.

Under the cover, I found that the foam and fiber-fill was divided into 3 sections. I carefully removed and labeled the sections and set them on the bed in the spare bedroom (and shut the door so the cat would not destroy them).

The back fabric was one piece gathered at the seams between the sections. I measured and gathered my fabric to the same dimensions. I removed and reused the black backing from the chair.

I sewed the center bottom seam first, then inserted the center foam and batting and sewed the center top seam with the foam/batting in place. It was difficult to sew so I moved the needle to the left-most position and that helped. Then it was just a matter of inserting the top and bottom foam/batting and stapling everything in place.   I reattached the arms and the hardware.

For the back panel, I reused metal tack strips at the sides, carefully measuring and sticking the nails through the fabric at precise intervals to make sure the back panel was the exact size of the old one.  I used the cardboard upholstery tack strip at the top and stapled the panel on upside down so that when I turned it down, the staples were under the fabric.  Then I just tapped the metal tack strips into place, using an old piece of fabric between the hammer and the chair.
I almost forgot the foot rest, but it was quick and easy to cover compared to the rest of the chair. 

Finally, I was ready to relax in my beautiful new beachy recliner!

Here are the before & after pictures: