Even after sitting on a board for 10 months, ordering fancy Fagas straps from a sweet little upholstery boutique, not once, but twice, our fannies needed a bit more pampering. OK, OK, even I can’t pretend to be that high maintenance! (Here’s part one of the Danish Modern Delight saga if you missed it!)
Sometime in the last 40 years even our sweet little Evans Furniture Company stopped making the lengthwise sofa Fagas straps. So we needed to improvise a little. Our idea was to stretch rubber upholsterer’s webbing lengthwise across the frame, weaving through the shorter straps, just like on the chair.
The Fagas straps are designed to stretch, whereas most upholsters webbing is not, so while not a perfect match, it’s the best thing on earth! Far and away the highest recommended webbing on the web is Pirelli’s rubber webbing. While it says it doesn’t have the give that other webbings do, we don’t feel that it’s too stiff to pair with the looser Fagas straps.
To use the lengthwise straps we’d have to nail them in place on the top side of the wood under the cushions, even though it broke our hearts a little to tarnish the immaculate frame. To console ourselves we kept saying, ‘what good is having a beautiful sofa if you can’t sit on it?’ While true, I kept feeling like I was breaking one of the cardinal rules of owning vintage furniture.
This process should have been simple enough, break out the hammer and nail away right? Preparation for those simple little gold nails took longer than all of the fagas-ing I had done. Mostly because Cody had to break out several McGyver type solutions to help our 40-year-old headache of a sofa.
Our first problem was that even though we were using only tiny gold nails, we wanted to pre-drill the holes to prevent any splitting or cracking in the frame. However they don’t make a drill bit small enough for the tiny nails we were using. This is where I would have shrugged and put the cushions back on and called it good enough, but oh no! My better half had a plan; make our own drill bit. That idea floored me, but Cody made it look quite simple. He took one of the nails we were using and snapped off the head with the sharp edge of our vice grips.
Side note: Isn’t this an awesome Art Johnson trick? Instead of having a cheap, half-broken plastic drill bit carrier, simply drill into a solid block of wood. It stores the bits, keeps them from getting thrown around in your tool chest, and looks pretty sweet too!
OK, seriously, back to the sofa. Once we had our bit, Cody placed it in the nose of the drill and tightened it up, only it find there is a reason they don’t make drill bits that small, a drill nose doesn’t close that far, whoops!
Once again I would have shrugged and walked away, but ever so patient Cody calmly got out the scotch tape and buffered up the end so the drill nose could clamp down firm enough to gently make the holes in our sofa.
Now we were ready to rock, er I mean drill.
The first side on either strap was much easier, we could simply drill the holes and nail in the nails as we went along. We used a zig zag or chevron pattern for the nails to help distribute the stress on the webbing and because it’s pretty.
The next part go a little tricky though. We wove the webbing over through the shorter fagas straps and cut the end with over 6″ to spare. This allowed me to hold the strap tight as Cody drilled the holes and pounded the nails. We found that it works best if you drill all the holes, then follow through and pound all the nails at the same time. This helps prevent extra tearing and uneven stress on the rubber (and on your marriage). Look, Cody even outfitted the webbing with vice grips to help me hold it steady! He’s so nice, even when I insist on taking pictures with one hand while ‘helping’ with the other.
Now just rinse and repeat.
It feels like for some reason you should have 3 lengthwise straps across your sofa but we only had the material for 2 so we placed them on the back 2/3 of the sofa where all of the weight will goes and so far we are happy with the results. I might add that our guests like our improvements too, we had a friend over the other night, and he hung out with us for hours and I’m pretty sure it was just to sit on our sweet 40 year old sofa. Cause you know 18 year old boys love vintage furniture!
Now look at this beauty, don’t you just want to come over and chat?