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Messages - RiCat

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 6
The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Respect For Equipment Operators
« on: September 04, 2018, 02:53:01 AM »
Hello Chris, Good for you that you got a backhoe and got after it. It is nice to do something new to break the norm. Talking about appreciating watching professional work equipment, I just watched for the past two days my son get after it on my property with a mini-excavator and a bob cat with several attachments. He is a foreman for a pipe laying crew for a large construction company in Tampa. He also is a professional operator for the large excavators and other large equipment.  To watch him manipulate that mini on taking down trees, digging holes, and I mean large ones to bury large piles of old construction material and clearing was rather eye-opening. Then take the bob cat and grade, lay a rock bed and clear with it. He had a construction sized dumpster delivered and it is now ¾ full. What is really nice is he likes to ride dirt bikes. He bush hogged a nice wide path around from the middle to the back of the property to build a track. With the big pile of dirt he had from the hole to bury the construction material, he built jumps (one having an old boat on the place, turning it upside down and using the v-hull as the base) and banked turns. Me? I just got me a beer and a cee-gar and enjoyed the man my son has become.


General Discussion / Re: Leatherman
« on: August 01, 2018, 11:52:54 AM »
For me.. I am carrying on a tradition from my Dad.. Old Timer pocket knife


General Discussion / Re: Emil J. Paidar Barber Chair
« on: May 30, 2018, 11:29:29 AM »
A barber chair needs to be with a pool table

The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Expansion, different sector?
« on: May 28, 2018, 08:22:35 AM »
Mojo, thank you for the kind words. Chris and I have had quite a few conversations over the years on upholstery. In the 40+ years I have been doing the craft I have seen a lot. At this stage, I am getting more and more on picky and choosing my work. The main thing I target now is the marine soft upholstery. I have found that it is the least in aggravation and easiest to do.

65Buick, a couple of things about marine upholstery. After doing different aspects of the pure side of working a piece of material to accomplish a project – measuring, cutting, fitting, sewing, installation – things start to become relevant. When doing an upholstery project – I call it the theory of upholstery - if a car, furniture, boat, golf cart, etc. – if done properly it will fit – if that material is not fit, sewn and installed properly it won’t. Some marine upholstery can be a challenge. Barrel bucket Captain’s chairs and flat facings in seating sewn with multiple colors with curved seams sewn together to lay flat. Here in this part of Florida, we have pontoon boats and the large curved backrest for the couches can be another challenge.

The other aspect of marine upholstery is applying the proper materials and principals to deal with the outdoor elements. In Florida, exposed marine upholstery that is not taken care of will take a beating. Customers need to know to keep the upholstery clean and covered. I use what I consider the best marine vinyl’s available and still they have their limits if not protected. Sun fading and dirt with heat and moister that promotes mildew. Time and time again, if I get an inquiry for a major boat upholstery project, I will ask them with the money they are investing do they have a way to protect the seating. A cover for the boat, under a canopy or in a garage. Something.
When doing marine upholstery, other proper materials need to be used, stainless steel staples, stainless steel hardware (nuts, bolts, screws, t-nuts). If wood is replace, proper treatment of wood to withstand water that will rot wood. Another aspect I address is water barriers on the foam and water extraction with mesh in the upholstery. If original foam is used, I treat it with a mold mildew killer.

In upholstery, what I have found is different aspects of upholstery projects carries their own nuances. Paul can deal with materials for a furniture piece that will not work in marine, autos or medical.

Another area I target is medical. It might not be as busy as marine, but it is ok. But, pay attention to the areas of concern with medical upholstery and address it to the customer. When I bring these things up with an office manager or doctor, they really appreciate it.

With a proper outlook, you can stay busy with customer pay’s projects.

And Chris was right; I do not promote myself to marinas. For me, I am busy as it is and I don’t like putting all my eggs in one basket. All it takes is a change in management and you can be asked for kickbacks or lose the account all together. And it is more difficult to pick and choose the projects. One would have to do what is required.

I hope it works out for you and if you need, call me anytime if you have questions. My phone number is on the contact page of my website.


General Discussion / Re: Using Expanding Foam in Arm Chair
« on: May 21, 2018, 07:59:08 AM »
Paul, if you ever want to try what Darren is talking about, ask Keystone about "K-Tex". I think it is about $10 yd. I use it for quite a few things..


General Discussion / Future Leather Technology - Interesting
« on: March 20, 2018, 08:07:34 AM »
This could be get interesting if it becomes available to the upholstery industry.


Price, quality, non-waste, designs...


General Discussion / Re: Seat with airbag
« on: January 08, 2018, 08:40:09 AM »
Hello. I do not so any sewing that involves the seam that has to blow open for an airbag to deploy properly. I have worked on seats that customers has taken out for me to put a new ready made set of covers on (Katzkin Covers) that had airbags in the backrest sections. The makers of the covers would be the ones with the liability (I would hope) on the seam working properly. I also do not unbolt or bolt back in seats out with airbags in them. I hear of a couple ways to make sure the bags don't deploy, but I don't need that possible grief. The issue of airbags, like Mojo said, is very, very touchy when it comes to liability. I can share this on how sensitive it is. My wife wanted a new Mazda SUV back 6yrs ago. It had cloth seats, so we inquired about having a new set of leather covers installed. The dealership said if we did, we would have to sign a waiver of liability for the airbags. They said the airbags might not work as efficiently as needed since the leather covers weighed more than the OEM cloth covers. WOW!!! If one wanted, a lawyer might be able to come up with a waiver of liability form for a customer to sign. For me, late model auto upholstery is something I don't need the grief from. Not only the airbag issue, but the mechanical side of it on how complex auto seating is becoming (our SUV has AC that blows up my butt through the seats). There is to much other types of upholstery to do...


The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Good times we've got em.
« on: September 08, 2017, 05:52:50 PM »
We should be ok as long as we are on the west side of it... it looks like it is inching closer to the west coast going up the state, so we may catch some strong winds. As far as the gulf, when it goes north of us, the winds will swing around to the sw and then some coastal flooding could happen. Mike may catch it worse than anyone on here. I am thankful I am not on the coast in the northeast part of it when it comes ashore. That ne part with the eyewall is not the place to be. I am hoping that if it does go up the spine of Florida, the land will work over the eye. What is something we can do while electricity is on, is watch the progress of the eye with the different weather radars. 

Stay safe...

The Business Of Upholstery / Re: The Accounting Saga
« on: August 05, 2017, 03:19:10 PM »
Floyd, I think I understand your inquiry. As far as freight, I always try to incorporate the materials I stock with material orders for a particular job. That way the freight is charged out to the job and not to the materials for stock (this especially works with a flat rate delivery fee for freight). If not, then I would approach it this way. As an example, if I was ordering 10 yds of whatever for stock and it cost $5 yd and the freight was $15, then the cost for the stock item went from $5 yd to $6.50 yd to charge out. Now, where the spread sheets really kicked in is how to charge out the materials that can't be charged out per a unit. Example of these materials would be a 1lb cone of 92 poly thread. I do charge out SolarFix because they give measured amount information on the bottom of the cone (whether a promo cone, 8oz or 1lb) so the math can be done on a running yard of SolarFix sewn to the cost of the cone (with another important step needed to get the proper calculation cost). But, how to do this charge on a 1lb cone of poly? Or, how about chalk, or marking pencils, or cleaning fluids, or razor blades, or machine oil, ect, ect. So, what I did was categorized my materials in three different categories. The first category is materials specifically purchased for a job. The next category is materials that are stocked that can be charged out per a unit - sew foam, SS staples, snaps, embossed welt, ect. The the last category is the materials for stock that can't be charged out per unit - like the materials given before as examples. So, I take the total cost of all materials bought, then run percentages on the three different category's. What the numbers showed me is that the materials that I don't charge out per unit was 7% of the total materials cost. With that, when I give a estimate, I will fill in the spread sheet for the estimate and I have it set up that it will automatically add 7% to the material cost. Same thing done with the average amount of time I spend on the admin side of things for a job. I got that number and now I just plug that in the estimate at a particular rate per hour.

Hope this helps...

General Discussion / Re: Never Assume
« on: July 24, 2017, 01:27:00 PM »
For me.. just about anything will work... cept.. just don't call me "Sue"...


The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Narrow crown gun
« on: July 13, 2017, 03:32:01 PM »
Paul, not even a thing on the help. Let me ask you. When you order staples, being they go to 5/8" of a inch, what will you order? 5/8" staples is long. I would think 3/8", if available, would be sufficient. Also, you said you will continue to glue fabric covered dw. I would think a cloth dw would collapse better over the staple to hide it??? Meaning, if stapling works good on vinyl dw, cloth would be better? I do understand how glue will not work on vinyl where it works on cloth..



The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Narrow crown gun
« on: July 13, 2017, 11:24:20 AM »
I do not do much furniture but I have always been thinking about the dbl welt issue and fastening it. I am going to keep this in mind and consider ordering one myself just to have it in case I need it. Thanks to you for the idea...



General Discussion / Re: Margins ????
« on: April 18, 2017, 10:43:41 AM »
This is a fascinating subject for me on the cost and time involved with conducting business. The main question is, "how much money is being made"? I have a theory that everything involved with a job has a cost and it takes the price of the job to pay the cost. Problem for me is charging the fair price - determined by how much I want to make off of the job - that covers all the cost. A fact told to me by my sister - she being a old school book keeper - is if one is honest with oneself and not afraid of numbers, numbers can tell a true story. Like Chris shared, I try to track everything I can on cost and time. With the excel spreadsheets I have developed, what has gotten me to the point I am at with them now is asking questions and then seeking the objective in a spreadsheet to find the answer to the question. The thing I see that has to be addressed is what is taking away from the base price of a job. Material cost with markups - for me - is the easy part of it. The time issue is the hard part. I keep very specific spreadsheets that calculate - per job - bench time to do the job, then other time factors involved. Admin, cleanup, load / unload, final cleaning of project for delivery, travel time. Each one of these category's carries a specific cost per hour charge. Other than bench times to do a project, the thing I really like to see on the spreadsheets is the averages. Especially admin time elements. The time spent on admin can be very interesting to examine with numbers - from initial conversation of project with customer to depositing the check in the bank - these time totals per job, broken down then to averages, compared then to total job cost, that figure can then be inserted in a initial estimate to start with. With keeping careful notes during a project, and then reviewing these notes, I then have a very reliable source of information for future project estimates that are like what I am estimating. It is like building my own time charts for upholstery.

I have developed a extensive per job work order that does these calculations automatically that I am going to test with a close friend that has a cabinet shop / custom wood working business. If I let him give me input back to tweak it, I might try to market it later on for service oriented businesses.


The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Seam guide
« on: February 12, 2017, 09:56:59 AM »
Hello. After Chris let me use the guide foot he had, I really like it. Now, my objective with the feet is not really a guide for a single fold over top stitch seam, but for French seams. That being said, I purchased a three set of guide feet for left and right guides. Why both sides? If having to install a French seam on a automotive seat, and keeping the majority of material on the left side of the machine and not under the neck, all that is needed is to switch the feet out to jump on the other side of the deep seam, again keeping most of the cover to the left. I did a ski boat last year that had a side wall panel that had a French seam on the top that was approximately 9' long. The guide feet was a life savoir on laying out a nice straight, even French seam. Right at $80 or so for both sets off of ebay, one of my best investments.


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