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How To Cut By Water Jet and Apply Felt to Seats

See how these dining room chair seats are cut by water-jet technology and then covered in industrial grade felt.

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cut by water jet and apply felt to seats

Step 1: Cut the Chair Seats

Water-jet technology can be used to cut a variety of things, including metal and plastic. Basically water is fed through a cutting head (Image 1) at 55,000 pounds per square inch (psi) and then mixed with an abrasive. Water alone fed at 55,000 psi's can cut a variety of things, but adding an abrasive increases the strength nearly 10,000 times. In order to get the water pressure up to 55,000 psi, water is brought in through a series of filters and then pressurized by a pump (Image 2). The design for the seat bucket is programmed into a computer and the computer actually controls the cutting head by telling it where to cut and how fast to make the cut. The slower it moves, the better the cut it makes (Image 3).

Step 2: Cut the Chair Brackets

Once the seat buckets are cut, the process is repeated for the chair brackets. The plastic for the brackets is a little thicker than the seat buckets, so the cutting head moves a little slower to ensure a smooth cut.

Step 3: Apply Tape to the Seat Corners

Once all the pieces for the chairs are cut, you need to apply the industrial felt to the poly flat. Industrial grade felt has a lot of durability. It can really withstand wear and tear. They use it to cushion the vibration from industrial machines, so you know it has to be tough. To apply the felt, use an industrial spray adhesive (available at hardware stores). When you use the spray, be sure to work in a well-ventilated area and wear a respirator. The corners will be used to bend the seats into shape, so they won't be getting covered with felt. Mask off the corners with blue tape to avoid spraying adhesive in the corners.

Step 4: Spray the Felt and Seat With Adhesive

After the tape is on, cut a piece of felt a little bigger than the poly flat (Image 1). Lay the felt out on a large piece of cardboard. Apply an even coat of the spray adhesive over the entire surface of the felt. Spray an even coat of the spray adhesive over the entire surface of the felt (Image 2). Spray an even coat of glue on the top of the poly flat. Then let the glue dry for approximately a minute.

Step 5: Apply the Felt to the Seat

Lay the seat flat onto the felt. Press the poly flat onto the felt. With a razor knife trim off the excess felt, being careful to keep the blade perpendicular to the poly flat. Cut the excess felt off the masked tabs, and remove the tape.

trim off excess felt

Step 6: Form the Seat

Fold it up to become the seat bucket. The plastic is going to come together to form the glue joint. Use an industrial, structural glue. You need one that is formulated specifically for this kind of plastic which is called a polyolefin and is so strong that the plastic will break down before the glue does. Apply the glue to one tab using the special applicator that comes with the glue (Image 1). Simply lift the back of the poly seat up, folding the tabs in, and overlap the front tab over the back tab (Image 2). When the front tab reaches the felt, put a clamp on the overlap. Repeat the process on the other tab, making sure that the folds match and the seat bucket is even on both sides. The seat bucket should now be folded and drying.

Step 7: Attach the Brackets

The brackets that were water-jet cut (Image 1) are going to hold the seat bucket to the chair frame. Mill the holes that allow it to slot down onto these spots. First, measure the distance from the center of each rod. Then, mark out that dimension onto the brackets making sure that the holes are spaced evenly from side to side. Drill the holes in the brackets using a drill press (Image 2). Glue the brackets on the seat posts. Use the same glue used on the seat bucket. This will give a rock-solid bond with the stainless steel. Apply a little bit of glue to the holes in the brackets, and slide it onto the posts of the chair frame (Image 3). Repeat the process for the back bracket.

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