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January 21, 2018, 05:48:25 PM
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Messages - sofadoc

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My daughter was travelling recently. She was trying to print off her tickets at the hotel's computer the night before her flight back home.

She tried in vain several times, but couldn't get the right boxes to pop up. Finally, the hotel desk clerk came by and noticed that she was using IE as her browser. He switched her over to Chrome, and instantly all her problems went away. He said that there is a lot of software that is no longer compatible with even the latest version of IE.

I just noticed that the stat page is no longer accessible.

I used to get a laugh out of it. Since I never log out, I was kicking everyone's ass in "Most time spent online".   

General Discussion / Re: How old are we anyway
« on: January 16, 2018, 09:57:56 AM »
I keep hearing
'It's a dying profession'
'It's a dying trade'
I've seen a dramatic transformation over the last 20 or so years.
The commercial store fronts continue to dry up. The number of college age students choosing upholstery as a career is almost non-existent.

But the change that I've seen, is the large number of people that make a mid-life career change into upholstery. They usually work from home. Sure, some of them are "off the grid" when it comes to reporting their income and collecting sales tax. But many are doing it right with a really nice "virtual store front" via website or social media.

Perhaps their ultimate goal is to build up the business and move out of the garage into a brick and mortar shop with multiple employees. But I think many are quite satisfied to work alone at home for the duration of their career.

Many factors come into play. The old "You just can't get good help anymore!" complaint always rears it's ugly head.

Many upholsterers are reluctant to train people that will end up striking out on their own and competing against them.

Wholesale suppliers are no longer interested in chasing down every rabbit trail to find rural home-based shops.

People need to start making a living wage right out of school. They have no patience for a lengthy apprenticeship.

One of my supply salesmen always tells me "In every small town, when the upholsterer dies, nobody takes his place".
I don't think the trade will ever disappear completely, but the way it exists will continue to change.

General Discussion / Re: How Old
« on: January 09, 2018, 03:31:01 PM »
I had a cordless stapler 30 years ago. It shot the same staples as my air guns. Like so many cordless tools, when the batteries went bad, replacing them cost more than the whole rig.

If you're having a hard time finding one now, it isn't because the technology hasn't been invented yet. More likely because they never caught on.

General Discussion / Re: How Old
« on: January 09, 2018, 02:56:48 PM »
Think of all the advancements that we've seen in our lifetimes.

THEN, think of how little the upholstery profession has advanced during that same span.

Sure, most of us are just old enough to remember spitting tacks. And most of us cut our teeth on some old Singer that didn't have reverse. Cotton and horsehair has largely been replaced by foam and dacron.
We hand sewed everything instead of pli-grip. No vacuum cushion stuffers.

But I'm still using the same button machine and dies that my grandmother used more that 50 years ago.
Also a lot of the same hand tools (needles,tack hammer, webbing stretcher, etc.).

By and large, the upholstery trade hasn't evolved that much compared to the rest of the world.

General Discussion / Re: How old are we anyway
« on: January 09, 2018, 09:14:33 AM »
I'll be 60 on Jan. 31

General Discussion / Re: How Old
« on: January 08, 2018, 02:16:04 PM »
One thing I never understood when watching old TV footage.

Why did men wear a suit and tie to attend a baseball game or board a plane?

Even in a furniture factory?


General Discussion / Re: How Old
« on: January 08, 2018, 10:36:02 AM »
I guess I'm the senior member here. I turn 60 THIS month.

Anytime that we're "waxing nostalgic", the general consensus is that things were better back then. But were they always?

As a teenager, I flipped burgers at a Dairy Queen. We had a heat lamp over the counter that hung directly over the food. Customers would light their cigarettes on it. Employees routinely smoked while preparing food.

I worked at a plant that had a heated and air conditioned smoking area. If you didn't smoke, you had to go outside.
There was no soap or paper towels in the rest rooms. Didn't matter since we didn't wash our hands anyway.

In school, teachers and principals would paddle first and ask questions later. If you just happened to be in the general vicinity, you got paddled whether you actually did anything wrong or not.

Since car insurance wasn't required by law, nobody had it. If someone hit you, good luck getting them to pay for it.

My mother never got behind the wheel of a car without first fixing her self a bourbon and Coke. The whole car reeked of  booze that spilled every time she hit the brakes. They may have had "open container" laws back then, but they were seldom enforced. Any time I was coming home after 5, I either walked or hitched a ride. I didn't dare call her to come pick me up. My step-dad once faked being drunk so the policeman would excuse him for speeding.

It was quite common for house fires to occur because someone fell asleep with a cigarette.

A lot of things WERE better back then. But then again, a lot of things WERE'NT.

The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Warranty
« on: January 05, 2018, 09:09:27 AM »
It's been my experience that the ONLY people that inquire about a warranty are the ones that have every intention of taking full advantage of it.

I do a lot of warranty repairs for local furniture stores. Their customers that buy the extended warranties are the worst complainers. They think they can send the whole sofa back every time a wrinkle arises, or a creaking noise pops up.

Many of them will physically abuse a recliner, and expect the store to send them a new one every few months.

I make no mention of warranty to my customers if they don't ask. If they do ask, I tell them that I guarantee my work "indefinitely". But not the fabric. I can't think of any case where my work didn't outlast the fabric.

The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Changes for 2018 ??
« on: December 31, 2017, 09:58:25 PM »
  I am branching into a market that we have serviced for some time but now I have started to treat it as a separate business. We custom build and upholster Cornices. Some big some small but it follows my love for building things.
I enjoy building or recovering cornices too. But around here, the drapery workrooms seem to get all the cornice business.

General Discussion / Re: What filler are being used for decorator pillows?
« on: December 24, 2017, 05:48:10 PM »
My COM customers usually furnish their own pillow forms as well as fabric. They buy them at the same store where they get their material.

For all others, I buy blown fiber in 25 lb bags from Ronco.

The Business Of Upholstery / Re: foam prices
« on: December 22, 2017, 03:30:51 PM »
They had a price increase in August of this year and another 9% in November. That's a big increase.

That increase may bite them in the butt a little (since they have free shipping on orders over $100).

Before, I always had to buy 2 sheets in order to get the free shipping. After the price increase, now I only have to buy 1.

The 6" that I usually buy went from $98.10 to $111.

The Business Of Upholstery / Re: foam prices
« on: December 22, 2017, 03:24:30 PM »
Anyway the glue is a little heavy and the thinner for the K Spray is expensive.  Are there cheaper alternatives to thinning the glue.

Must be the difference in climate. I never have to thin mine (I use Camie brand adhesive).

I put a separate regulator on my sprayer, and keep it on 50 PSI. It sprays better for me that way. But I know that Paul says his sprays just fine at 80-90 PSI.

General Discussion / Re: Ziggers
« on: December 22, 2017, 02:40:02 PM »
The zig zag springs seem ok to me - but not approaching the quality of coils  - however you see a lot of failure to zig zags  where the end of the spring joins to the clip.

Yeah. Cheaper frames, cheaper clips. All doomed to fail. Many factories opt for clips that cost a penny apiece instead of a nickel apiece. They save about a dollar a couch.

General Discussion / Re: Ziggers
« on: December 22, 2017, 09:35:19 AM »
To me, ziggers or coils is not an “either/or” option.
If the piece was originally designed with ziggers, then it should remain that way.
Same with coils.

I’ve seen a few jobs where all the hand-tied coils springs were ripped out and replaced with a slab of foam.
It may have seemed like a real time-saver to the guy that did it. But foam isn’t cheap. When you factor the cost of the foam versus the time to tie the coils, it was probably a wash.

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