Webbing provides a base on a chair frame for all of the stuffing added to create modern and traditional dining chairs. Whether you are designing a chair from scratch or reupholstering a vintage dining chair, webbing can be included in the seat, back and arms to give support to the upholstery.
Choose the right webbing. Webbing comes in four standard types: jute, black and white, Pirelli and elastic webbing. If you are webbing a modern chair, Pirelli or elastic webbing is the standard choice. Jute and black and white webbing are the choices for traditional chairs and come in standard widths of 2 inches. It is always advisable to use new webbing rather than recycle webbing that may already be on the chair, as webbing tends to stretch and weaken as it ages.
Make tack marks for the webbing. When redoing a chair, check for previous tack marks on the chair frame and remark them clearly. When designing a chair, start from the centre of each side and mark where each piece of webbing will be located, with a corresponding mark directly opposite where the webbing will end. Webbing should be spaced evenly, in parallel lines, and not further apart than the width of the webbing.
Place the chair frame in front of you with your roll of webbing on the floor. Make a 1-inch fold in the end of the webbing and tack it to the centre mark on the chair with your magnetic hammer through the fold for added strength. Add two more tacks, one on each side of the centre tack, and then add two more below those tacks off centred so you end up with a row of three, and a row of two tacks below that to secure the webbing.
Stretch the webbing through the webbing stretcher by inserting a fold of the webbing through the slot in the stretcher, and then slipping the dowel through the loop of the webbing. Pull the stretcher towards your body with the handle facing away from you, making the webbing taut on the chair frame. The webbing should make a pinging noise when plucked. Hammer a tack into the centre of the webbing to attach it to the chair, and then tack one more on each side of the centre tack. Cut the webbing 1-inch from the tacks, fold it over the tacks and add two more tacks off centre below the original tacks to secure the webbing. Repeat this step for the remaining webbing strips in parallel fashion.
Turn the chair frame so the webbing is now facing side to side. Weave your next piece of webbing through in a basket fashion and attach as before beginning with the centre webbing. Repeat this step for the remaining webbing strips until you have a complete webbing base to attach the rest of your upholstery.
Never cut your webbing until it's attached to both rails of the frame or you will not be able to use the webbing stretcher.