Theresa Haffner-Stearns

Theresa Haffner-Stearns
.....................................................(Have a seat and get yummy with us!)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Safely Removing Staples and Tacks

Welcome to this weeks blog edition.

Since I have spent a great deal of time talking about the damage an unthinking technician can impose on a piece of furniture, I thought perhaps it would be wise to illustrate how to avoid damaging a chair as you take out staples and tacks.

There are primarily two types of fasteners used in the upholstery process; tacks and staples. Tacks are a form of a nail that has a flat head and shaft of graduated thickness.

Photo: SHS

They are installed with a tack hammer; literally pounded into the wood.

Staples are composed of “U” shaped wire, which is extremely thin. In this photo we see staples that are partially out of the wood just to the right of the center of the image. Remember you can click on the image to get a better view.

Photo: SHS

Staples are forced into the wood with a hammer action.  The hammer is a sliver of metal in the staple gun.  It is forced by a spring, air or electric to hit the staple out of the gun into the wood.

These fasteners attach all the upholstery materials to the furniture frame. Tacks are used primarily on furniture made before the 1950's when pneumatic staples were introduced. The switch from tacks to staples was gradual with virtually all upholsterers employing staples wholly by the 1980's.

Today I will illustrate the correct way to remove staples; tomorrow tacks. Specifically, I will illustrate how to remove them when they are next to carved wood without incurring damage to the decorative bits and pieces. Later, when I reupholster the chair, the correct way of applying these fasteners will be illustrated.

In this photo we a staple that is completely in the wood with a staple puller positioned in the center of the head. 

Photo: SHS
With one hand holding the staple puller in place, gently tap on the end of the handle of the puller until it forces its way under the staple head and pushes the head up a bit. The business end of the puller will be under the head. At his point put pressure down on the puller handle and the staple will come up.

Once the head of the staple is above the wood you can use a pliers to grab it and twist it out of the frame. These staples were partially pulled out by the action of tugging off the fabric cover.

Photo: SHS

Here I grab and pinch them with the pliers.

Photo: SHS

And here I roll the pliers while still keeping the staple firmly pinched. Enlarge the photo to see the staple is completely out of the wood and in the pincers of the pliers.

Photo: SHS
Finally, this photo illustrates what NOT to do when removing a staple.

Notice the back of the business end of the staple puller is against a piece of finished wood trim. If I proceed to remove the staple using the steps just described, the end of the puller will be forced into the wood trim, scarring or breaking it. Never attempt to remove a fastener with any tool touches finished or carved wood.

Tacks will be covered tomorrow.

Yummy Furniture and Design
Connect with me at Facebook 
Link up at LinkedIn

1 comment:

Axxman said...

Have you tried a Nail Hunter instead of those pliers? MUCH better!