The Traditional Armchair Continued….

It’s been a busy few months with my recent move to self employment and almost everything has felt either new or different. Coming back down to Cornwall and the familiarity of Tresithick has been really nice.

This is where we were back in June

Work on my traditionally built armchair has resumed and the last 2 days have been spent working on the arms. On the face of it, progress looks pretty slow but it’s vitally important that I get this right. Imperfections in the shape or structure at this stage will undoubtedly have an impact on the finished result, so it may be painstaking work, but it’s completely necessary.

One cap fitted, one to go…

I’ve chosen (with some reliable guidance of course!) to create caps for the arms. What this means is that you make a kind of fitted cover to the exact shape and dimensions of the finished arm. Once sewn, the cap is fitted to the arm, compressing the fillings, giving you a lovely firm arm which is shaped and ready for the top cover.  This will be made in the same way. I made that sound dead easy didn’t I? It’s taken me a day and a half to do them both.

So I suppose in principle it’s not a hard thing to do, but it does require a great deal of patience. Your tension needs to be good with no loose fabric or areas pulled too tight, your lines need to be smooth with no bulges or divots, your cuts need to be in the right place and your tacks need to be well distanced. Oh, and the left arm needs to match the right one!! Once you’re happy with how it looks, a good handful of measurements will confirm whether you’re on the right lines. Thankfully I was.

Caps fitted and ready for the top fabric. That clamp? More of that shortly…

I was really hoping that I’d be able to start putting my final fabric on the arms today as I’m desperate to see how it looks on a larger scale. It’s so hard to tell from a small swatch. Alas, I’ll have to wait a few days as it’s best to build the back of the chair next and apply your fabric to the back and the arms at the same time – building the back will require quite a lot of frame handling and there’s a risk that your arm fabric could get damaged. A jolly sensible call given that I’ve opted for velvet…….

One thing I learned the hard way today: when you’re hammering home your tacks, always make sure your frame is well supported otherwise you can end up knocking it apart. Nothing some strong glue and a clamp can’t fix, but a schoolboy error all the same!

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