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How to Repair Wingback Chairs

While the original design for a wingback chair was created more than 100 years ago, this style of chair is still used in the home today. Wingback chairs are characterized by the wing-like shapes at the side of the chair back, and would traditionally be placed in front of an open fire where the wing shape may have offered the user's face some shielding from the heat of the flames. The most common form of repair needed to traditional and modern types of wingback chairs is the replacement of the webbing attached to the base of the seat. This is where the majority of the wear takes place, because the chair webbing takes the weight when someone sits down. This webbing can snap or become loose, causing the chair cushion to sag. However, this is a fairly straight-forward problem to fix.

A damaged wingback chair can be repaired at home.
  1. Remove the webbing from the chair by using your hands to pull it free of the wooden frame around the base. It might be easier to remove the seat cushion and turn the chair upside down before removing the webbing.

  2. Remove any remaining tacks or staples from the wooden seat frame to make it easier to hammer in the new tacks when fitting the webbing. Any difficult-to-remove staples or tacks can be fully hammered into the frame.

  3. Cut pieces of webbing that are long enough to cover the length of the seat frame with 4 inches to spare on each strip for overlapping. Cut the webbing using scissors.

  4. Put a webbing piece along the length of the seat frame nearest to you, with 2 inches of webbing hanging over the outside edge of the frame. Hammer a tack into the middle of the webbing piece and through the middle of the seat frame. Stretch the webbing so it's taut, then hammer another tack on each side of the first tack. There will now be three tacks in a row.

  5. Fold the overhanging webbing strip over the three tacks already hammered in, then secure it by hammering two tacks in to hold it down. Cut off any extra webbing to make the fold neat, using scissors.

  6. Repeat the tacking, stretching and folding procedure with the other end of the webbing piece on the opposite side of the seat frame.

  7. Add further pieces of webbing along the chair seat's length until you reach the back of the seat frame. Allow a small space between each piece of webbing.

  8. Repeat the tacking, stretching and folding procedure for the width of the chair. Weave the new webbing pieces through the existing webbing to form a woven pattern that alternates between going over and under each existing strip. This adds strength to the chair seat.