REPAIR THE CHAIR

Last summer when Jim and I moved into the Retro Ranch and we set out on the quest for a queen sized mattress (our last house was only big enough for a full sized bed!) we stumbled across a Barcelona Style chair in the scratch and dent section of the furniture store we were in.

Now if you know anything about Barcelona Chairs you know that not only are they really cool, but they are also really expensive! So expensive in fact, that I would never be able to afford one unless I somehow won the lottery. (odds of that are slim to none) So when I saw the knock off Barcelona style chair-with hassock-in the scratch and dent area I was instantly excited. On first glance it looked like nothing was really wrong with it…until we noticed that several of the straps on the hassock were broken. The chair had originally retailed for $800 at this furniture store and since it was already marked down to $350 because of the damage, we thought it was a really good deal. However, we also had just dropped a chunk of change on a new mattress and I am one heck of a bargainer, so we figured it was worth a shot to try and get some more $$$ knocked off the sale price. Sure enough, we found the same guy who had just sold us the mattress and inquired about the chair. He was able to knock another $100 off so our grand total for the chair and the hassock was $250. Now that’s a deal!

It wasn’t until I got home that I thought, “How the heck am I going to fix this?”

I did some searching on the internet and found little to nothing about replacing the leather straps on a Barcelona chair. I was racking my brain to try and figure out what to do, or where to take the chair to have someone else fix it (and what that might cost) when a light bulb went off in my head. Sometimes the answer to the question “how to fix the leather straps on a Barcelona chair” is found by googling “how to repair a leather strap on a horse saddle.”

I did a bunch of research on saddle repair and even found a place to order the leather straps and punch tool for the repair job. I also ordered Chicago Screws to join the leather straps and secure them on the chair frame. Here are the tools and materials I used for the job:

  • 1/4″ Silver Chicago Screws (package of 25)
  • Silver Sharpie marker (for marking the black leather)
  • Pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • Measuring tape
  • Cutting mat
  • Ruler or straight edge
  • Box cutter
  • Leather punch
  • Leather straps (I just measured the existing width and length of the straps on the chair and added a little to the length to ensure I had enough to wrap around and fasten on itself (they were 1.5 inches wide) Then I used a piece of string to estimate how long of a piece I would need for each strap (plus a little more for wiggle room) I ended up ordering 3 of the Black Latigo Straps. 72 in x 1\8 in Thick.-(bls06) 1 ½ in ($17.99 ea). I ordered more than I actually ended up using so if any more of the old straps break, I can repair them right away.)

Here is what the hassock looked like before…Jim and I had taped it so it looked less broken sitting in our living room, but the functionality was not good…

Of course Leo was all over the project helping….

First I used the box cutter to remove the broken straps from the frame…

I removed as much of the old leather that I could from where it was riveted to the frame. (Notice one strap is repaired already? Well I was so excited to see if my method would work that I forgot to take pictures of the steps until I had one done already…oops!)

Step 2 Take a piece of the leather and wrap it around the chair frame…

Use the silver Sharpie marker to mark where you want to punch your holes…

Also mark a line on the side where the edge of the leather is when you fold the leather strap over the chair frame…

Step 3  Use the leather punch to punch the holes on the top of the strap where you marked them…

…This took a little time to make sure the hole went all the way through enough to get the screws in. (I had to punch it from the top and then line up the punch and punch it from the bottom before the hole would punch all the way through)

Step 4 fold the strap over and line the edge up with the line you drew to show where the edge of the strap overlaps, then use the silver Sharpie to mark through the holes that you just punched so that you know where to punch the second set of holes.

Step 5 Use the punch to make the second set of holes.

Step 6 Put the top part (not the side with the screw face) of the Chicago screws in the first set of holes…

…then put the bottom half of the Chicago screws in the other set of holes, put the leather strap around the chair frame and use a screwdriver to tighten the screws down.

Step 7 take the leather strap and pull it tightly around the other side of the chair frame (you want it to be tight so that the cushion doesn’t sag, especially as the leather stretches) and mark where to cut the strap as well as where to punch the first holes.

Step 8 use the box cutter, ruler and cutting mat to trim the leather strap. (You could always measure and cut, but for me this was easier. Also make sure the blade on your box cutter is very sharp!) Then repeat the steps above to mark and punch the holes and attach the leather strap to the chair frame with Chicago screws.

Ta-da! You have just repaired a strap!

Repeat again…

…and again until you have replaced all the broken straps on your chair or hassock…

All fixed!

I also had one strap that broke on the chair itself, so I used the same steps to repair the one broken chair strap.

The whole project (tools and materials – I have leftover materials in case another one of the “fake leather” straps break) cost me about $85. Total cost for a Barcelona style chair: $335. Not bad if I do say so myself!

Update: I have just been informed of another source for replacement chair straps (in both black and white) Read my new post!

NEW UPDATE: According to some of my readers, the source for leather straps I have listed is no longer a good place to purchase them.

Hatcher writes:
November 25, 2013 11:33 am

Nice blog post. I repaired my chair as well using this approach – although I wanted to warn you that despite your positive experience with eleathersupply, they are now a fraudulent company. I suggest you refrain from referring folks there – I attempted to purchase my straps there and am now in a fight to get a refund. They took my money, but won’t send me any straps (because they don’t have them! and after 2 months of waiting, still don’t!), nor refund my money.

I have filed fraud reports against them with the Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Reports and the state of Texas.

Buyer beware — I didn’t have any problems with this company back when I first purchased my straps, but since then it seems that they may not be a good source due to the delivery issues listed above. Do your own research to find supplies from a reputable seller!

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62 thoughts on “REPAIR THE CHAIR

  1. Nice! I was actually a little worried when I saw that taped-up “before” pic, but you guys did a great job — the final product looks fantastic (not to mention sturdy and functional). Definitely worth the work for that kind of discount!

    • Thanks Sarah!
      The tape was our way of making the chair look less pathetic until we could get it fixed properly, but you couldn’t put any weight on the tape! Not functional at all! We are so glad the fix worked! It’s a great chair to lounge in!

      • My frame on my Barcelona chair is Bent (slight rock) is there a repair company ? I need advice…Help

  2. Great job on the chair!

    We wanted to check in on your square foot garden progress. WOW you have done sooooooooo much work! LOVE that Leo is supervising. He is doing a great job! We can’t wait to see what you will grow :)

    Too bad about the duck eggs. Glad Leo didn’t eat them.

    Chasing my tale…
    Addie, Lucie and Hailey

    • Thanks! We are working on mixing the soil and getting stuff planted this weekend. Leo is doing a good job supervising!!! Luckily it has been a slow start to spring up here so we aren’t too behind with getting the plants in…

  3. Hi Kate,
    Always love to read what you are up to. The chair looks great and I am glad you were able to get the garden in.
    Love you and love your blog.

  4. This is really incredible. I am trying to repair my barcelona chair. What did you buy from the leather strap store? I’m a little overwhelmed by all of the leather? Thanks ;)

    • Hi Trudy,

      I measured my chair’s existing straps (they were 1.5 inches wide) Then I used a piece of string to estimate how long of a piece I would need for each strap (plus a little more for wiggle room) I ended up ordering 3 of the Black Latigo Straps. 72 in x 1\8 in Thick.-(bls06) 1 ½ in ($17.99 ea). I ordered more than I actually ended up using so if any more of the old straps break, I can repair them right away. Hope that helps!

  5. it pays to make time for browsing for when you hit good sites such as yours. i acquired
    a craigslist-source barcelona chair, and have the same issues with the straps. thank you so much for your thorough and well thought out ideas . may i ask where you bought these straps online? im looking for a good deal but im finding the ones i saw pricey.
    Also, im liking what im seeing with how you decorated your place, very very charming, i want to live in it! we have the same inclination to decor, cooking, revamp, art but gardening is yet to be in the pippeline of my interest. that is when the appeal of the curb drops down for me! nice to meet you here!

    • Thanks!

      I got my straps at:
      http://www.eleathersupply.com/beltstrap.shtml

      They are the 1.5 inch wide x 72 inch long Black Latigo Straps and were $17.99 each, though I was able to get two straps from one of those pieces with extra left over. It is important to note that they have a shiny finished side and a rough side, so if you are doing the back webbing on a barcelona chair, you might want to locate some that are finished on both sides and pay a little more to get that, but for the bottom seat and hassock, one finished side works for me!

      Glad you found my blog useful and entertaining! :)

  6. This is great! I have the same issue w/ my faux Barcelona chair…but mine is white. Have you come across any white leather straps? The one on the site you referenced only has black and brown. Thanks!

    • Hi Natasha,

      I haven’t come across any white leather straps…I would try searching for “leather supplies for belts”, or maybe if you only needed to replace one or two straps, you could look at thrift stores for white leather belts that you could repurpose? Good luck!

  7. Hi love the work on the chair I am from england and need to repair the same chair however I am finding it difficlut to get the leather can you advice
    margaret ward

    • Hi Margaret,

      I would guess that it would be easiest for you to order some leather straps online, not sure if eleathersupplies.com ships to england or not, but it might be worth inquiring about. Otherwise perhaps there is a local leather supply store that would be willing to make some straps to your specifications?

      Good luck in your search!

  8. Thank you so much, you saved me so much money and overpaying at Rennaissance Furniture Restoration in San Francisco, CA. When I called the Company, they came up with a bunch of excuses such as “it is extremely expensive to research how to fix this chair”, “I don’t know if this can be done” but he knew right away it was a Barcelona chair so this problem must be common. Thus, he must know how to fix it. It took me 5 minutes to find your blog.

    I called 5 minutes later and told him to read your blog.

    • You are welcome Carrie!

      I felt similarly frustrated with the lack of information about how to repair straps on Barcelona style chairs, when I got my own in need of repair-chair. That’s why I am sharing my fix with all of you. So glad that I could help! Good luck with your chair repair!

  9. OK, I’m getting ready to do this to our Barcelona chairs, and I had a quick question: Do you have any problems with the straps sliding around or changing position? I’m a little worried that since they’re not attached directly to the frame, they might not stay in place. Either way it’s better than broken straps! Any thoughts? Oh, and thanks again for posting this info!!

    • Hi Whit!

      I have not had any problems with the straps sliding around. On the chair in particular, the straps sit in between the straps for the back of the chair, which helps hold them in place. Also, my particular version of the chair had some leftover strap pieces from the old straps that I cut off (that I was unable to remove completely) which I think also helps hold them in place, but most of all, they are in there TIGHTLY. They don’t even slide if I try to make them. I would say make them as tight as you possibly can and they should be ok. I was also worried about the straps stretching out, which might happen over time, but I haven’t had any issues yet. If that happened, I would just remove the Chicago Screws, punch new holes further down the strap and reattach it.

      Good luck!

  10. Just wanted to say thanks for posting this! I had the same problem with my knockoff chair and now it’s fixed. Wahoo!

    I added a link to your post on my blog, but my entries are few and far between and I have no followers as of yet. Anyway, it’s there on the off chance anyone reads it! :)

  11. You did a really good job here! It goes to show that leather can indeed be repaired. Being in the leather repair Austin industry, this material is indeed versatile and a classic choice for home owners. When leather is damaged, it can be frustrating but you were successful in this project!

  12. Thanks so much for posting this info. We have a white knock off and straps have been snapping one at a time over the last couple years. We lost all but two yesterday so very happy to find your well detailed repair guide. I did find that our local leather supply store has the white leather straps in 8′ x 1.5″ pieces for about $14 so might be worth calling around town if someone needed white straps. I couldn’t find any online except for the ones from Regency Shop.

  13. This is SO good – thanks so much for posting this!!! I was quoted over $400 to fix 3 straps, and I thought that was crazy so I started looking online for another solution. I am waiting to hear back from the chair manufacturer if they will replace the straps first, but if not I am going to try your solution. Thanks again – very helpful!!

  14. Wow! Thanks! I had been stressing over how to repair some broken straps on a great knock off I found in a consignment store. Your step by step instructions will make the process so much easier. Now, I must address some protruding wires that are popping up around some of the tuft buttons. I keep pushing them down and they keep protruding. However, I consider this a minor problem compared to the strap situation.

  15. Pingback: HOUSE TOUR – LIVING ROOM AND DINING ROOM « Retroranchrevamp's Blog

  16. Love your style and blog. I had a few straps on my Barcelona-style chairs break recently and had to temporarily mend them with silver duct tape (classy!). I fretted about how to get them fixed and when I did an Internet search the other day, your blog post was the FIRST thing that popped up and was just the answer! I’ve got straps and screws on order and can’t wait to get the repairs done. Thanks for this tutorial – you are a gem!

  17. I wanted to thank you for your tips. I bought a second hand Barcelona-style chair with similarly duct-taped straps. As a graduate student in a tiny studio, I hadn’t enough money for a better (real leather) and new replica, nor enough space for more conventional furniture. I fixed it according to your methods and it has been working wonderfully. Unfortunately, the quality of mine is poor and now a couple of the buttons have popped off. (It seems one was lost before I bought it and I failed to notice it had been replaced with a vintage woven leather-look button). As I order the leather upholstery buttons, I am starting to think the repairs have more value than the poor replica itself! But you saved me a lot of money, so thank you!

  18. Wow! So glad to have found this site! I bought a Barcelona chair from Urban Barn about 8 years ago. In the past couple of months 5 straps have broken, one after another. We phoned around for quotes from furniture repair shops, they were going to charge $375 for elastic straps, that would be black and white. Crazy! I’ve ordered my replacements and can’t wait! Thanks again!

  19. Yay! Now when you google “how to fix leather straps on a chair” this comes up! One of my barcelona chairs now has four broken straps and I’ve been totally lost on how to fix it. Thanks so much for this!

  20. Hi again.

    Just getting around to doing this project so I can have people over for the holidays (they won’t have to sit on the floor!). Anyway, I am getting frustrated because it’s hard to punch the holes in the white straps I purchased from the Regency Shop. I had some help and then tried to attach one of the straps but it seems like they are just a bit too short to marry up into the the screws. There is not one milimeter to play with in regard to the strap. I understand these are going to stretch but in the meantime, It is nearly impossible to attach. I’m so disappointed! I think it would have been better to purchase and cut the leather as you did. Maybe the Chicago Screws come in a longer size–that would help. I’ll let you know how it works out. In the meantime, floor cushions for the guests…?!

    • Sorry to hear about that Debbie. I don’t have any experience with the straps from the Regency Shop. I think they had pins or something that were supposed to work with those…? I hope you can get your chair fixed eventually — till then, floor cushions it is! :)

  21. Brilliant! Fixed all nine of the broken seat supports on our Barcelona chair using this technique – and at a fraction of the cost of a replacement chair. Thanks very much indeed for showing me how to extend the life of this pleasant piece of furniture. Also, I have placed a few pieces of the leftover leather in our ten-year-old car to restore some “new car smell” ;)

  22. OMG, thank you so much for this fabulous guide. I am so impressed and look forward to fixing my own chairs I broke when I got preggers!

  23. Just curious as i like your repair technique I think it may even look better if done well but why didn’t you just drill out the rivets and re do it with new rivets? they look like they are 5/32″ (4mm) rivets so not to hard to pull up even with a cheep rivet gun
    it is the back straps that have gone on mine

    • Hi martin,
      Fixing the rivets may work too, I simply did what I could figure out to fix my chair.

      If you try the rivet fix, let me know how it turns out. I’m sure new rivets would be a better looking solution if you have broken back straps to fix.

  24. Hi Kate,

    I Had a similar problems with straps breaking on my chair, three on the seat and then later on, four on back. The straps on these chairs are of an inferior quality so they will break on most chairs.

    I read your above method and was going to attempt it, but being very busy needed a temporary fix.

    The solution was to buy to XL and XXL mens leather belts. The XL is long enough for the seat and the XXL long enough for the back. These just strap around the taped broken strap and work a treat, so good infact, I haven’t tried a proper fix yet.

    When one strap breaks, i’d advise you use a belt as temporary method otherwise the straps either side will soon break.

    Regards,

    Gazza

  25. Nice blog post. I repaired my chair as well using this approach – although I wanted to warn you that despite your positive experience with eleathersupply, they are now a fraudulent company. I suggest you refrain from referring folks there – I attempted to purchase my straps there and am now in a fight to get a refund. They took my money, but won’t send me any straps (because they don’t have them! and after 2 months of waiting, still don’t!), nor refund my money.

    I have filed fraud reports against them with the Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Reports and the state of Texas.

  26. Thanks a lot for your post as I have a chair that needs this TLC. I ordered leather strips through a leather company that has scrap leftovers and they were excellent to deal with. They even offered to cut the strips to size for me. See BrettunsVillage.Com (557 Lincoln St Lewiston, ME 04240 FAX: 207-782-7448). I am in Canada but they were willing to send the leather to a US address for me to pick up when I was in the states in Dec. 2013.

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