If you are unfamiliar with upholstered panels, let me give you a short explanation of how they work. Panels are often used to cover the front of arms or sides of backs on furniture pieces such as wingback chairs and camelback sofas. A panel nail is first punched through the bare panel before it’s covered in Dacron and fabric. Then a mallet is used to hammer the panel onto the furniture. The nail has a large and flat, round head that allows it to be discreetly hidden under the upholstery without making a bump, while the shank protrudes out the back of the panel.
Unfortunately, hammering doesn’t always go so smoothly. Sometimes the nails push back out of the panel and damage the fabric while trying to hammer the panel in place. It can be very frustrating, but, as always, I have a little trick that will help prevent this from happening.
Reinforcing the panel nails with a small piece of cardboard tack strip is all it takes. Super easy!
Another helpful tidbit is to use your regulator to find the shank of the nail so you can perfectly line up the mallet with the head of the nail. Also, do your best to distribute your “whacks” evenly. Partially tap one panel nail in and then move to the next one, and so on, until all of the nails have been fully hammered.
Follow these tricks and save yourself the frustration of having to redo your fabric-covered panels!