Learn how to use a webbing strainer (stretcher) with JA Milton’s hints and tips page.
Note: Always use a tack with an improved head; small heads can tear through the webbing when it is under tension. Normally 13mm improved is sufficient or 16mm improved on very large, heavy frames. Make sure the tack completely driven home by making sure you cannot feel the edges of the tack when you run your finger over it.
1. Fix webbing to the first side of the frame. The most common pattern for the tacks is an M or W formation making sure that the two tacks on the outer edge are as near to the edge as possible in order to guarantee that the webbing is as taught at the edges as well as the middle.
2. Bring the webbing across to the other side of the frame and thread through the web strainer so that the tail (the end leading to the rest of the roll) will be trapped between the frame and strainer. This creates good, even tension.
3. Pull full tension on the webbing and fix your first tack in the centre. Be sure not to release any tension on the web strainer at this point.
NB It is important to make sure that your tack is well home by running your fingers over the top of the tack to ensure this. A raised head will allow the webbing to pull through the tack.
4. The second and third tacks should be placed on the very edge of the webbing slightly behind the centre tack – do not place tacks in a straight line as this can split the grain of even the best wood frame.
5. Release the web strainer only after you have put all of the first three tacks in place. Then cut the webbing from the roll allowing about 30/40 mm turn over. Finish by placing the last two tacks of the M or W formation.
6. This photograph above is taken looking along the webbing to show how even the tension should be. A good test is to loosely hold the handle of your hammer and allow the point of the head to drop on the webbing. It should bounce easily as though on a trampoline.
Caution: When webbing a removeable seat frame be careful not to over tension the webbing to the extent that it distorts the frame. It is always wise to return the frame to its seat casing regularly during the webbing process to ensure this has not happened.