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Ever tried your hand at chair restoration?

Replacing the seat in your antique or yard sale find is a quick and inexpensive DIY project the whole family will enjoy. If you have an old chair in the attic or find a flea market chair that needs refurbishing, Van Dyke’s has fiber, leather, and wood seat options, as well as caning materials.

antique chair seat needs restoration

Popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s, wooden chairs and rockers were generally lower for a woman and had a leather seat. Most also had no armrests so the lady could sew unobstructed or nurse a baby.

To refurbish your chair you will need a seat. Here are some options:

  • Fiber Chair Seats are pressed from the original Brass dyes of the 1890’s. The fiber material is light reddish-brown in color and has a leather-like appearance. They can be trimmed for correct sizing and can be dyed or painted to the desired color. Use our large selection of decorative tacks or nailing strips for attaching the material to the wooden chairs. Choose from Fan Scroll, Basket and Scroll, Basketweave, Circle, Dove, Ribbon, and Star patterns.
  • Our Pre-finished Round Leather Chair Seat is made from first-quality tanned leather and is an accurate reproduction of original stamped patterns. Choose from round of rectangular win Dove and Grape patterns.
  • The Breuer Harwood Chair Seat attaches in seconds with four screws and features rounded corners and solid wood frame. The seat has 1/2-inch caning. The seat does not have pre-drilled holes so you can place it to match your chair, and does not include hardware for attachment. Natural finish.



To replace the seat, first prepare the chair by removing any remaining tacks or nails and any remnants of the previous seat.

Next, clean the seat with a glue removing solution.

Apply a wood restorer of polish to restore the finish or stain the chair.

Place the fiber or leather seat on the chair and mark areas to trim. Using scissors or other cutting instrument, trim the seat to fit. You can stain or varnish the seat before attaching.

Glue the seat into place and tack each corner with upholstery tacks. A trick of the trade is to start the hole with an awl to prevent bending the tack. Hammer with a leather or wooden mallet.

Have you refinished an antique chair? We would love to see your finished masterpiece. Post it on Facebook and #vandykesrestorers.