Archive for the ‘Upholstery’ Category

The final touches

April 23, 2015

Regular readers will remember that a few weeks ago I finally got round to covering the inside lid of the desk.   I was quite pleased with my efforts, but after a few weeks of looking at the desk, the glove box interior I made originally started to annoy me.  The material was inside out, I don’t know why I thought I should have made it with the right side showing only when you open up the glovebox when the desk is closed, but I did.  I mean, how silly, to have the right side of the material showing only when you open the glovebox.    So the other day I thought I would fix it by removing it and reversing the material!    


  Undoing all my good work and reversing the material lining.

  Finished job

  The desk put away and the glovebox view.  

As an aside, have you ever wondered why it is called the glove box??  According to Mr Wikipedia “glove compartment or glovebox or glovie is a compartment built into the dashboard located over the front-seat passenger’s footwell in an automobile, often used for miscellaneous storage. The name derives from the original purpose of the compartment, to store gloves. (Often in a box on the floorboard near the driver, hence Glovebox). 

Gloves were originally worn to keep the hands clean. Driving gloves were considered necessary equipment in early cars, many without a hard top, to prevent the cooling effect of fast-moving air from numbing drivers’ hands.”

Those were the days! 

A cover up

April 12, 2015

Thursday morning we headed off from Shakespear down to Papakura to Antony’s to help him reupholster some dining chairs that he had recently purchased via TradeMe.  But first we had a few chores to attend to which required a couple of stops along the way. The first was to stop in Silverdale to pick up our repaired, welded piece for the kitchen corner cupboard.  That was quickly done and we were on our way again, fortunately with fairly free flowing traffic all the way which is more than the poor people stuck in very slow moving northbound traffic. Then it was to Takanini to pick up a couple of pieces ready to do the upholstery.

Now I have no experience in upholstery, the only attempt I have previously made at upholstery is the covering of the headboard and desk top, hardly what I would call vast experience. Never mind, it surely cannot be that hard and there is always YouTube to call up for instructional tutorials.

The chairs did not have removable seats, so it was going to be a fidly job.  We had purchased the material the other day, and had a staple gun and scissors – what more tools could we possibly need?  Oh yes of course, we have to remove the old material from the top and the base.  This involved removing a gazillion million staples!  You think I am kidding?  I can assure you that whoever had done the work previously must have had shares in a staple company!!!   We tried many ways of removing the staples, but after many trails, grunts groans and injuries, the best method we found was to use a small screwdriver to lever up the staple, then remove the staple using pliers.   It was not going to be a quick job.  

We started work at around midday, and the last staple went into the last chair at just after 8pm.  I can assure you that my right hand is still aching two days later from the effort but I have to say we are thrilled with our handiwork and they look fantastic. 

First we removed the backing material covering the base, so we could access the main material  which was stapled to the underside rail of the chair seat.  Once all material and staples were removed we then recovered the seats with more foam, then by using the removed material as a pattern, I cut out the seat  covering.  Of course I cut out one for a start to make sure that it was correct before continuing to cut out the remainder.        


Once we got into the swing of things, it did not seem to take too long at all. Only one hitch though. We had purchased a staple gun to get the job done only to discover that we could not get a further supply of staples – no, not even from the hardware store selling the original purchase.  Not to be put off, Roy purchased another staple gun from another store, this time complete with a box of replacement staples.  

  Before, during and after

The job was completed in time for us to try out the table and chairs as Antony cooked us dinner – surf & turf (steak and garlic prawns) and a delicious salad to accompany it. A great end to a busy day.  

  The completed job.


March 23, 2015

Whilst we have been here in Whakatane we have managed to get lots of little, and not so little, jobs done.  The sealing around all the lockers, windows and joins on the van with the sticky black Simsons Sealer product is finally finished.  Don’t  ask me why but for some reason the black stuff seems to get everywhere and onto everything but the white product doesn’t! I think they call it something like ‘Sod’s Law’.  There was also an attempt to straighten the road sweeper that is attached to the back of the van. after an altercation with an inanimate object some time ago. It has been a little lower on one side but attempts to jack it up were not terribly successful but a good effort was made.  Lots of other little jobs have been completed, silly little things like reattaching the wire to the waste cap so it cannot be left behind anywhere, and fixing locker latches etc.  I even broke out the sewing machine to make some slip covers for the chairs, oh and not forgetting getting major things done like the upholstery.  All in all a very good couple of weeks well spent.  

In the middle of our time in Whakatane there was of course Cyclone Pam.  The storm had devastating effects on islands such as Vanuatu, so we were preparing ourselves for strong winds and torrential rain. We moved off the grass onto hard ground and made sure we were protected as much as possible from potential high winds, filled the water tanks and made sure everything was battened down.  However, it turned into more of a storm in a tea cup than a major storm and certainly nothing like what we experienced last year at Whanaknaki.  Yes the sea was very rough with an impressive large swell running and the bar entrance into Whakatane was closed for some time but we really didn’t have any strong winds or the lashings of rain – thank goodness.

A day or so after the storms passing we headed off to Opotiki with John, first stopping off at Jude’s place in Waiotahi to make sure all was well there.  Then it was off to the Two Fish Cafe in Opotiki for brunch.  Now it is not often that I can highly recommend somewhere for a really good coffee but the Two Fish Cafe serves probably one of the best coffees in NZ, certainly in the top three in any case.  Not only was the coffee fabulous but the food was great as well.  We loved the quirky style of this cafe, and if you are ever heading toward Opotiki, call in for a real treat, you’ll not be disappointed.

After two and a half weeks of being in Whakatane it was time to move on.  Thursday morning and we were all packed up and ready to go at a reasonable hour, just hook up the RAV and check the lights.  Bugger, the lights aren’t working, so after some fiddling, spraying contacts, attacking things with screwdrivers, we headed off into Whakatane to the auto electrician so they could check it all out for us.  But wouldn’t you know it? as soon as we got there, everything worked just fine!  But to make sure, we got them to check everything out, lo and behold, there was a problem…..insert here techno babble for whatever was wrong, something about a wire with low, or was that high? resistance, switches and relays …… The park lights were very dull.  Not that that is necessarily a problem as we try to avoid driving at night at all times,  but best to sort it out now.  After much testing and removal of one of the dash panels, they finally find the fault.  The park lights were wired up to the dashboard dimmer switch!  How had we not found that out before now?  Anyway, wires were cut, rejoined in the right place and after a couple of hours we were on our way.  And we must praise here the business involved – Langleys Auto Electrical – as all that was done for next to nothing with no waiting around and they were very pleasant to deal with.

  Dashboard dismantled.

We finally headed out of Whakatane to Tauranga where we spent a night there before heading on to Kopu (near Thames)  for a couple of nights as the van is booked in on Monday for a repair/replacement hydraulic stabiliser jack to be made as well as getting a new seal ordered for around the slide out.  The Electrical WoF will also be done whilst we are here.

Finally, many many thanks to John and Jude for the lovely goodies they gave us, particularly as it was so unexpected.  We look forward to enjoying all the lovely drinks (so pleased we introduced them to Pedro Ximinez), chocolates, Al Brown Oils and dressings that were all packaged up so neatly in a flax kit bag – which John tells me is one from the fishing shop in Scarborough where Dad used to buy all his gear from.   We are more than happy to return for more house sitting duties when required!

Getting covered

March 16, 2015

We thought it was about time, time to get covered or should that be recovered.  Our two front seats i.e. the drivers seat and passengers seat had started to become rather worn and were starting to look a little worse for wear.  So whilst being parked up at John & Jude’s we took the opportunity to have them recovered with the most difficult task choosing the  material and agreeing upon our choice!  

First we had to remove the seats from the van.

Roy was on his knees, then…

Flat out on the floor.

Off the chairs were taken to the upholsterer here in Whakatane and after a week, we headed off to pick them up and reinstall them.  

Here are the before and after shots

As you can see,  a marked improvement on the old coverings.  

We have also done away with the skirt around the base of the chairs, as they did not really serve any purpose and looked messy.  Now they are much neater and streamlined.  

Whilst the chairs were out of the van I took the opportunity to upholster the lift up desk in the dashboard.  I had a piece of material left over from the seat in the lounge which I also used previously to cover the headboard, which you can read about  here.  And hour or so later and it is looking much better.

I can’t lay my hands on a before photo but there is one here from when we first had the work done on the inside of the van.  NB that the inside out looking piece of material is the glove box insert.  When the desk top is folded down then the original hard glovebox would not allow the top to close, so I made a cloth one in its place.

All in all a nice tidy up.