Customer Questions & Answers

February 12, 2020

Everyday we get asked many questions from customers asking for help and advice. Here are just a few of them! If you have anything you would like to add or comment on please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Hi there,

I am attempting redo a fireside chair and would appreciate some advice about the tools I’m going to need, as this is my first upholstery project. It’s probably an ambitious start but my mum has two of these chairs that used to belong to her Grandmother and I want to freshen them up.

I’ve identified from your catalogue the rubberised hair/fibre I need to cover the springs and the wool/cotton felt to go on top of that, but I need to know what I should use to cut them to the right size; will a stanley knife do? Also what should I use to attach the hair/fibre to the springs? I think it was stitched before, is this the best way (and what needles etc should I buy) or can I glue it instead?

Final questions; will wool/cotton felt be ok for the back of the chair or will the stuffing end up sinking? do i need a boxed cushion? how many layers of the 4oz cotton felt should I use for the seat? I’m trying to work out how many metres of things I should buy.

Your website is great, it’s very accessible for a newbie! I’ve put a list of what I think I need together:

Nail Spacer
Cabinet scraper
Cabinet scraper (goose neck)
Magnetic steel tack hammer
Tack lifter
Tacks (plain) 1 Kilo
Tacks (decorative) box of 100
Back tack strip (card) per metre
Rubberised Hair/fibre (6ftx3ftx1inch)
2.5oz Wool/cotton felt per metre
4oz wool/cotton felt per metre
Scrim (per metre) to cover the stuffing
Calico (per metre) to use between the scrim and outer fabric

Is there anything that would be vital that I have missed? Any advice would be really appreciated.


Order of work:

First work on the inside back of the chair

1. A layer of hessian, the best would be 15oz known as spring tarpaulin M4. Turn it inwards at the edges to strengthen the fastening.

2. It would help to next apply a layer of 1 rubberised hair over this to give more spring (this will need to be cut with a pair of heavy duty scissors, see T8HD. This should be glued on with spray adhesive MC5.

3. A single layer of 4 oz Wool cotton felt will suffice to top this.

4. These layers would be best held tight to the frame with a calico M2 lining which will also give both the filling and the top fabric a longer life.

5. A single layer of polyester S6 should be laid between the calico and the top fabric, not just for comfort, but to keep dust and uv light away from the filling.

The seat

1. Secure the spring unit to the back of the seat frame by tying it with lacing cord Y3. This will prevent it from pushing forward when when people sit down. Note: you may also feel that it would be better to tie a length of the twine, zig-zagging it all around between the frame and the spring unit, to pull it in tighter to the frame as it looks a little too high and wobbly now as it is getting old.

2. Cover the unit with jute tarpaulin M4 as you did to the inside back, boxing the unit in by tacking the tarpaulin to the seat frame.

3. Blanket stitch a length of jute webbing around the wire edge of the spring unit. This will again extend the life of the inside of the chair as the wire can wear against the jute tarpaulin and tear it, especially at the front.

4. Glue 2 layers of rubberised hair to the top then cover this with one layer of the Wool cotton felt taking the felt down the sides to meet the frame. You may find that you need two layers of the felt around the front and sides of the unit.

5. Again cover with calico as with the back and then lay the polyester on under your top fabric.

Outside Back

1. Put a tight piece of the tarpaulin over the whole of the back taking it right to the edges of the wooden frame (no need to turn in like the inside back as this will cause lumps on the finished outside).

2. Lightly fix a layer of the 4 oz polyester over the tarpaulin and apply your top fabric by using back tack (MC1 or MC1B). Joan’s hints and tips on the website will help with this.

3. Put a cotton bottoming cloth (M3 or M3a) on the under seat to finish it off neatly and again keep dust from your fillings.

Hope this helps. If you want to make sure all of your hard work will last, it is best to use a good seating upholstery fabric, preferably Fire Retardant. If you would like samples from our selection, please let me know your colour and design preference and I can send you samples.

Best of luck with your project.


I was just wondering as to how you mix glue and sawdust together in order to fill the numerous holes in some dining chairs I am just stripping out. Also, which glue would you recommend?



Hi Georgina,

Most of the time wejust use neat PVA glue massaged into the tack holes and splits. Wipe clean with a damp cloth before it dries. Only mix this glue with sawdust for any particularly big holes.

Sue has asked me to contact you with regard to your question about whether or not you should sew down the stuffing of your upholstery pad before fixing the scrim permanently?


Your instincts were perfectly correct, it is best to do this first but make sure that you have the scrim on perfectly square before you do this. You can use the threads to line it up. I always get my students to pull out a thread through the centre in both directions to be sure it is square and the same with your fixing points on straight sides. This will help you to be sure your pad is the same height throughout.
Hope this helps.



I hope you can give me some advice? I need help with putting a cover over foam. Once foam has been applied, is there a trick to pulling the cover down over the frame other than adding a corovin strip to reduce friction?

Thank you, Mr Elwadi


Dear Mr Elwadi

Usually foam is given a layer of sheet polyester before the top cover is added. This comes in various thicknesses but normally only the 2oz or 4oz is used for this purpose. The polyester, or Dacron, as it is sometimes called, serves several purposes.

It allows the fabric to move easily over the foam

It gives a better feel to the final finish

It keeps UV light and dust from getting through to the foam which causes the foam to rot.
Hope that is of help to you.



Could you perhaps give me a an idea what products I would need to upholster a stool frame (18″ x 36″) using traditional methods? For example, springs, calico webbing, hair etc. Also, if I did it in foam, how much bigger than the frame would it need to be?


For traditional method you will need approximately

7m webbing
1/2″ (13mm) improved tacks
0.6m tarpaulin
Approx 3.5 to 4 kg hair or
3 to 3.5 kg of black fibre and 1 kg hair for top stuffing
1m of scrim
Twine (a ball would be more economical as you will need a lot)
1m 2.5 oz cotton felt
1m calico
1m Skin wadding
0.5 m bottoming cloth

For foam there are different ways of tackling the job but if you are using the same method as the drop-in seat on the hints and tips pages of the web site you will need it about 1/2 inch bigger all round.



I wonder if you could help me. I am making an upholstered headboard for a king size bed to hang on the wall. I found your company whilst searching the net for brackets, I thought the ones you have were just what I am looking for however, the problem I have is that the bed is under the eves and the wall (for fixing to) is flat where the brackets need to be which is ok but above is sloping so I don’t have the space for sliding from above to position the headboard. I can go from the sides.

Have you any suggestions ? Would your brackets work sideways? .

Many Thanks,


Dear Lesley

Thank you for your enquiry and question. Yes they would work sideways but of course the headboard would slide sideways it someone pushed it.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you would like to know anything further


How to fix Queen Anne legs to Frames

I would like to replace the legs on my coffee table with your Queen Anne legs. Information on which glue to use would would really help me as I have done very little DIY.

Many Thanks



Thank you for your enquiry. PVA (wood glue) is best because it eats into the wood to make a very strong bond. Ideally you would need to screw them on as well. You can do this from underneath via the wing sections. Countersink them and then fill in the holes with wood filler if you prefer them not to show.

I hope this is of some help to you. Please let me know if there is anything else you require.


Can you advise? I have an overstuffed bedroom chair (looks a bit like a dining room chair) that has a really nice inlay on the back and around the seat. I am worried that I might damage it when pulling out old tacks etc and wondered if there is something I can use to protect it whilst trying to lever…..


There is really very little you can do other than proceed with caution. Put masking tape around the edges of the show wood but make sure that it does not stay on too long so that it leaves a sticky residue when removed. Always use your ripping chisel so that it points away from the show-wood, preferably keeping in the direction of the grain. If you find yourself in a situation that you do need to lean it on the show-wood, put a thin piece of wood underneath the part of the show-wood that you need to rest upon. Not much help but the best a professional would do.


Please can you advise us all on a starter kit that I would need to start upholstering? Thanks for your advice, Sue Millard


It is always very difficult to give the correct advice, sometimes it depends how comprehensive you want the kit to be – basic or complete! If you are intending to do traditional upholstery the list should, of course, contain a pack of each straight and curved needles.

Please see our range of toolkits for beginners, right throught to experienced upholsterers.

Basic kit:

Webbing strainer
Tack lifter
Staple remover
Pack of each needle – Semi Circular Needles and Double Ended Upholstery Needle
A spring needle
At least 1 regulator (probably a 10 inch)
Pincers – Steel or Soft Grip

Add the following for a more complete kit:

A Mallet is advised in order to save the damage to the handles of the tools when ripping out.
Ripping chisel (straight or craned, personal preference)
Large tailor scissors for cutting table.
1 metre stick for measuring when cutting out (more accurate than soft measure and can also be used for drawing lines)
Wooden handled buttoning needle
Full range of sizes of regulators
Cupped punches


I have to attach some double piping to a Victorian chair I have nearly finished renovating. As this is the final detail, the icing on the cake so to speak, I want to achieve a professional finish.

The double piping is shop bought (Houles) rather than home made so the two strands are very close together and I fear any staples I try to use will show. I was thinking of buying an electric long nose stapler to do this but they are quite expensive for an amateur like myself to purchase for infrequent use, however I am prepared to pay this amount if the stapler will produce the refined finish I require.

Could you advise me on this and do you have a recommendation of which stapler might achieve this result for me?



There is only one electric stapler with a protruding nose, Maestri ME3G/71 Series Stapler. However it is very difficult to say if it will do the job or not because it can depend on the piping, what it is made of and what it is being applied to. The final result cannot be predicted as it can often be more of an experiment as to which application will achieve the best result.

The professional will use a pneumatic stapler as it will bury the staple much deeper and an electric stapler has a habit of jumping as it is fired.

Some double piping if it is made very close together and is very stiff can simply be applied with a hot melt glue gun. I would not be able to guarantee which would give the best result – you may have to experiment.



Can you please confirm, is it the Wooden Handle Button Needle I need for tufting/deep buttoning on a headboard?


The button needle will do the job if you are using loop back buttons. Just refer to the Hints and Tips section on our website where it explains how to use the needle for surface buttons on cushions. The principle is the same but of course there would need to be holes in the headboard to start with. The twine that goes through to the back would need to be either wound around tacks that are then hammered home or stapled down in a zig-zag fashion to the back of the board


Hi I am currently making a 2.5 seater sofa from scratch; the design I intend is a modern shape which will be quite angular. I am struggling with the choice of padding as i want to finish the sofa in leather with deep buttoning, the guide books I have use hair in the method of 2 stuffings. I would like to know whether there are any modern fillings that i can use to achieve a deep buttoned look. (foams, fleeces, waddings) Also I intend to spring with double cone springs. I dont know if this affects the filling choice.

Regards Michael


Dear Michael

Double cone springs should not affect filling choice other than it would need to be a substantial filling over the double cone springs because they are normally used under traditional hair pads which is denser than modern fillings. Foam can be used for deep buttoning but you would need to bore 1″ holes though the depth of the foam to accommodate the buttons and skin the foam with a good 4 oz polyester. If you use foam you may need to use a denser base foam with a slightly softer topping.

Rubberised hair can be used in the same way as foam using several layers and covering with cotton felt. However you must remember that you may need to use firm edge profiles to form the edges of the arms and front edge of the sofa base. In traditional upholstery these would be sewn into the hair.


Hello, I was wondering if you can tell me how I can fix my sofa, as the springs are breaking. It’s a fairly good sofa and I notice I can buy the the springs from you and the the fixing clips too, which is half the battle, but I was just wondering how easy it would be. I have read your article on how to fix webbing to chairs, but I was a little worried on how to get the right tension when fitting Sinuous Springs. Can anyone fit them or is it best to get someone to do it for me? I’m quite handy at DIY. Any advice would be much appreciated.

Kind Regards David


Hi David

The first thing you have to do is remove one of the broken springs. Firstly check from underneath if the clips that hold the springs are broken (these are fixed to the top of the frame but you should be able to feel them from underneath). These are often intact but do sometimes split once the springs start to break. Even if they are in tact you should be able to remove the broken springs by knocking them sideways out of the grasp of the clip. Once you have removed a broken spring you can measure its exact length by standing on it on the floor to flatten it. The most common type is what we call D Ark in shape that means it has a slight curve in its length.

The new springs can be put back in the same way by slipping them into the clips. How easy they are to replace will depend on how tight the clips have been fastened down.

If a clip is broken, this can be more complicated because they should actually be fixed from the top of the from which entails removing the upholster from the base of the seat.

Hope this is of help to you.


I’ve a question about springing. I’ve sprung a simple chair in the past using the original springs but now I’ve taken on a project to spring a chaise longue. The original springs are bent so I’ve bought some replacements and they seem a lot firmer (although they are the same height and gauge) and therefore sit higher on the webbing when tensioned down.

Should I be tensioning them more – I’m aiming for 150mm high once tensioned as the springs are 200mm high untensioned, but it is difficult to acheive this height, particularly on the central springs – I’m only getting 160 – 170mm. I’m worried that the seat is going to appear too high once stuffed etc.

Any tips? Will tensioning the springs down to 150mm cause a problem?

Thanks and regards, Fiona


It is always my advice that when re-springing an old piece of furniture you should use a spring at least one size smaller in height than the old ones that you removed. There are several reasons for this but the main reason is that a sprung chair is under tension at all times (even when not being sat upon) and the frame is not as strong as when it was first made. The new springs are also much stronger than those that you removed. It is therefore kinder to the old frame to reduce the spring size. If you do this you should achieve the desired height.

Regards Joan


Rag Rugging


I am trying to source a fabric that has quite an open weave. One that can be used for rag rugging. I can find plenty of Hessian suppliers but no-one that seems to stock a fabric that has slightly larger holes (3-5mm gaps) that can be used with a rug hook. Do you have a product that might fit this need or know of the name of a material or supplier that I can track down?

Thanks Leigh


Thank you for your enquiry. I have checked with my colleague and unfortunately we can not think of anything else but hessian as this is what is normally used. My Nan used to make rag rugs and she used 12oz Hessian like our scrim.


Lloyd Loom Chest

I have an oblong lloyd loom type chest which needs to be repadded and covered. Can you tell me what product you would recommend for the padding.

Many thanks, Anita


There are many ways to tackle this job. It would make a book if I wrote about all of them. However, I would suggest that you first find out how the original was done by taking off a little of the cover.

Once you have found out how the original was done I will be able to advise you how to tackle the replacement.

I will also look through our many instruction books to check if they have instruction on this particular job.

A Lloyd Loom piece is well worth approaching correctly as it may be valuable.