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Messages - firefly

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How to Use This Forum / Pfaff 463 straight talk
« on: March 01, 2012, 05:54:30 PM »
I appreciate that there's been some discussion of this machine before, but as it related to its possible use for auto upholstery I thought I'd check to see if anyone can add further to that earlier discussion.

Very basically, I have an offer of a Pfaff 463, at a very good price, and I'm very tempted. But I'm unsure if it would be a wise decision, despite the attractive price-tag.

Previous discussion stated that a walking foot was an absolute must, and that the 463 was limited, and frustrating.

I expect to have a light work load, slowly building over a period of time, and working with general upholstery fabric, and I'd appreciate it if I could get any advice on this matter.

Is the 463 simply not worth the hassle? Should I hold out for something else? Any feedback or advice would be great! FF.

Sofadoc, many thanks for responding. I suppose budget will determine a lot, though it's difficult to figure exactly where the owner of an antique wing back might be situated. I mean, I can well believe that someone will hesitate at a complete rebuild, even if necessary, when told how much it will cost. On the other hand, I'm thinking that anyone with the means to own antique furniture in the first place is likely to want to hang on to it, and more importantly, will have the deeper pockets necessary to maintain it (recession or no recession!).

Well spotted Kobydog! Yes, I suppose I am asking if I should pursue traditional upholstery despite feeling that there might be potentially less work available. And I reckon the problem you identify is something that pretty much goes with the trad route: pricing something, only to discover later that you're now caught for more labour than you anticipated... This is where - perhaps - modern upholsterers have an additional advantage in being able (I think!) to more accurately price a job in the first place.

Thanks Alge. Yes, I thought there might be differences, depending on where you lived. In London, where I train, there seems to be plenty of customers looking for traditional stuff, and the instructor tells me that some punters are particular, and knowledgable enough, to insist on tacks all the way: no staples allowed! Good point about the future of upholstery possibly lying in the past though!

cheers and thanks to all. FF.

How to Use This Forum / how little trad upholstery do you do? 10%...25%?
« on: November 20, 2011, 05:08:49 PM »
As a novice and trainee I'm interested in knowing to what extent traditional upholstery is still being practised and carried out. The few Irish upholstery workshops that I know a little about seem to spend most of their time recovering modern frames. A few of the more established businesses have someone on hand to fit webbing, hessian and tie in springs when an antique presents itself, but it's not their bread and butter, and if they waited on traditional upholstery work only they'd find themselves with a lot of time on their hands.

So is this the same elsewhere? Is it the case that most workshops do little or no traditional work at all? Or is there more of it around than I imagine? I'm very curious to find out how this pans out (there are probably dramatically different regional, not to mention, national patterns, but anyway...)

Any responses most welcome! FF.

The "GREEN" Room! / Re: New How To Videos
« on: November 05, 2011, 04:31:07 PM »
Hi Mike, have now watched your first 6 parts of the reupholstering of the wing back - many thanks for the clear, informed and carefully put together videos! Looking forward to watching some more over the coming days. Cheers. FF.

The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Upholstery Courses/Schools
« on: November 03, 2011, 04:08:15 AM »
Hi there Bobbin. Although you took one course some time ago, you've now got 15 years experience though! And that's what really counts, I imagine: being able to talk confidently to a customer, knowing where to source the right materials, but especially feeling that you've worked on a range of tasks and can pretty much tackle anything that comes your way. I'd sure like to be in that situation!

Yes, formal training is great: but expensive. My course costs 2500 .... Then I've got to travel to the UK and stay someplace (as cheaply as possible, though nothing in London is cheap). 

As I said in my earlier message, though, there's no training like this in Ireland. In Britain they're happy to pass skills and knowledge on (providing you pay), but if you go talking to someone about a bit of training in Ireland they'll tell you 'you're taking the bread out of my mouth'.... It's a very Irish way of looking at things. And of course the crippling economic difficulties aren't helping, in fact they're making people even meaner and more paranoid! FF.

The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Upholstery Courses/Schools
« on: October 31, 2011, 06:57:05 AM »
Kobydog, thanks for the encouragement! One of the things that I'm not sure about is how much upholstery experiences alter from region to region. I mean, I can only imagine that traditional upholstery techniques are pretty much the world over, using the same processes and hand tools. But I'm less sure if the materials used in the States -- in the case of modern upholstery, for example -- are the same as they are in Ireland and the UK. Are the foams and fabrics and adhesives pretty much the same? Perhaps they are.... By the way, I saw advertised a set of DVDs from a long-established upholsterer in Canada - they looked very comprehensive, though I can't remember his name.... undercover by design is the webpage/business name, I think. Regards. FF.

The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Upholstery Courses/Schools
« on: October 03, 2011, 03:07:37 PM »
Hello from West Cork. This won't be much help to you, I'm sure, but I travel from Ireland to England to do a AMUSF course (there are several levels; I'm doing level 2). It's a good course, with a structure, and although not cheap I'm being trained by a qualified, Master Upholsterer (Bob Barnett, in Battersea, South London). Check out AMUSF for information regarding certified courses in Britain (nothing exists like this in Ireland). I understand that in the States the situation is much the same and that Upholstery, especially traditional techniques, have been sadly neglected by the technical and vocational schools (let's be honest: upholstery isn't especially well-paid or glamourous - at least not if you're a 16 year old just out of school!). There are several teaching and supervision options in North America and Europe, as far as I can see, and you can opt for any number of combinations (weekend, intensive one week, traditional or modern), but if you can get a certified, structured course which takes you through a series of projects that might be worth considering. This was my thinking, in any case, and I don't regret it. Bear in mind, too, that any training will need to be supplemented with DVDs and books and anything else you can get your hands on. I've just ordered two DVDs by David James (not received yet, but due any day). Have a look at these if you can. I'm also thinking of buying Kim Buckminster's DVDS, though I've to check DVD compatibility this side of the water..... Anyway, my apologies for all the advice and ideas. Seasoned upholsterers will be able to put you on the right track, I'm sure; I only add my tuppence worth because as a Newbie like yourself I thought this might help.

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