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Messages - crammage

Pages: 1 [2] 3 4 ... 6
General Discussion / Re: Metal tack strip
« on: July 10, 2013, 12:31:47 PM »
I personally avoid using the tack strips myself.  I like the hand stitched look, it takes longer but is easier to control.  I actually pin the material and hand crease it so I have a guide while I'm stitching to help prevent any puckers.  Try to follow the weave of the material while stitching by following a thread in the material and placing you needle in the same spot in the weave you'll prevent some of those puckers as well as make sure when blind stitching you have the in and out point of the two fabrics at the same spot.  Too short and you'll get  pucker too long and you'll see the thread, hope that makes sense.


The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Electric Staple Gun Experience?
« on: July 08, 2013, 08:13:51 AM »
I bought the Maestrie 71 series electric stapler last December and now use it most of the time.  It's light weight uses a variety of staple types and is much quieter than the old compressor.  My only issue has been on older furniture with good old fashioned hard wood it can have a problem setting them deep enough.  I just have to make sure I hold it tight against the wood before I hit the trigger and it works better.  It also came with a  great carrying case, makes things a little more professional looking when going to a client's home. 

It's easy maintenance too, just put a drop of oil every so often where the staples come out and your good to go.

It's the convenience of the thing that makes it work well for me.  I don't have to wait for the compressor to fill up.  Since I work the furniture thing part time the flexibility of working in the basement where my sewing machine is or in the garage (during the summers in MN) makes it very handy for me.  I don't have to lug a compressor up and down two flights of stairs.  :)


General Discussion / Bobbin thread, what bobbin thread!
« on: July 03, 2013, 05:20:30 PM »
Ok, funny thing happened last night while I was sewing 10 yards of double welting.  I cut the strips, sew them together and then start sewing the double welting, which I don't enjoy by the way, but has to be done.  So I check periodically as it's coming from under the needle and everything looks good.  Finally get to the end and start checking the work and noticed that on the end there wasn't any bobbin thread.  I thought I must have run out of thread in the bobbin and didn't notice.  So I started looking at the underside of the welting to see where it stopped, just kept looking until I got the beginning.  I sewed the whole lot without the bobbin thread working. 

don't ask me how that worked, my first thought was the slip clutch was popped but it was fine.  Rather than having this great relief of being finished I had to start over.  fortunately it went a little faster the second time around since the fabric was preformed, shall we say, to the double welting cord.

Everything worked fine the second time, by the way.  Not sure why the bobbin thread decided to stay in the bobbin the first go around, just wasn't in the mood I guess, it worked fine just a few seconds before that.    :D

The Business Of Upholstery / Re: What era was it?
« on: June 25, 2013, 08:10:55 AM »
Doyle, these are actually my personal chairs that have been sitting in the shed for a number of years.  Finally decided to get to them this summer.  I actually started tearing them apart last night and also found out that these are not the original coverings.  There were recovered once before although a very long time ago.  The only way I could tell is that there was an additional row of tack holes.

As far as the frames go I'm regluing the joints and fixing the corner braces, replacing veneer, etc.

As far as the finish goes I think they are going to get painted.  Yep, not my first choice but before I picked them up at auction they were stored in a very damp environment and there is a lot of staining and old repairs that won't look so good unless it is finished with a really dark color which then loses the beautiful wood.  They are not valuable antiques just still very functional furniture that's quite old so making it useful is the main goal, not preserving history.  Hopefully they'll last another 100 years and then someone can truly restore them.


The Business Of Upholstery / Re: What era was it?
« on: June 24, 2013, 11:51:29 AM »
They would be considered gothic revival style that stems from the Victorian era (1847-1900).  More than likely they are 1890 - 1910 period.  These parlor sets were made up into the 1900's and can be found in the Sears catalogs (and other retailers of the time). 

It is exciting to find original furniture where the insides haven't been touch for over 100 years.  I have a pair of side chairs from the same period (Eastlake style 1870-1900) that has the original fabric that I'm going to redo for myself this summer.   The worst part is tearing off the old materials and 100 years of dust and pollution floating around, that's why I like summertime to do these types of teardowns. n  :)



The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Shoe Shops - not many available
« on: June 19, 2013, 08:47:05 AM »
A few months ago I went to customers house to give a quote on some furniture pieces and we got to talking about shoes.  I was wearing a pair of Cole Haan loafers that are my favorite shoes but were in need of help or just thrown out, but since they are so comfortable and broken in just right I couldn't bear the thought.  I've had them for 10 years, wore them almost every day and tried to find another pair but couldn't.  Anyway, the customer mentioned to me that Cole Haan offers a restoration service, you go to their website and they will send you a package to ship the shoes into their service center in Houston, TX.  They have several different service levels, I went for the full restoration at $85.00, postage paid to and fro.  Considering these shoes typically run $150-200 a pair it was cheaper than buying new.  It takes about a month but when I got them back I was extremely pleased with how they looked like new but they still have that comfortable broken in feel.

It looks like Cole Haan has recognized a need for their customers that want to keep their shoes but need them refreshed, shall we say.  that's how companies stay in business by recognizing that there are needs that can be met and then figuring out how to do that.

They've found a loyal customer in me by proving this service that's for sure, because there's no local shoe repair place.

General Discussion / Finished project
« on: May 23, 2013, 10:24:32 AM »
A while back sofadoc posted about a chair he recovered using 7 different fabric types.   It made me think of a project I've been working on for a long time, the quilted chair!  I finally finished it after a 1 1/2 years working on it.


I've been saving fabric scraps for years to do this to a chair.  This happens to be the first chair I ever recovered some 28 years ago.  It was time for a redo. 

I took scraps and quilted them into this using various types of quilting styles.  Don't ask my why I did this it was just something in my head, scary I know.

The whole chair was made from left over scraps from various projects over the years, even the welting, I just pieces it together.  One thing about quilted fabrics is they have challenges around curves and pleating!

Anyway, just thought I'd share.

The "GREEN" Room! / Re: Upholstering Rocker
« on: April 19, 2013, 07:45:47 AM »
Welcome to the board.  My grandfather used to work for Union Pacific Railroad and he was stationed in Grand Island.  They lived in Kearney but I spent many a day in Grand Island doing different things when I was younger.

The Business Of Upholstery / Re: We Can Talk
« on: March 05, 2013, 09:49:35 AM »
Having designed furniture that was manufactured I can tell you that the wholesale cost on my chair was 298.00 and the suggested retail was 849.00.  Most of the retailers marketed it in the 600-700 range.  I've also attended the home furnishings show in Las Vegas a couple of times and can tell you that the suggested price was usually based on a 50-75% margin.


The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Accounting puzzler
« on: March 04, 2013, 11:10:50 AM »
In my regular job we use a CBA (Cost Benefit Anaylsis) form that helps us to evaluate whether a project (including equipment purchases) would be worth the effort.  Two of the key factors are effect on revenue and cost.  We project the net effect for 5 years.

How does this apply to the one man or woman shop?

Again, we are looking at two main items, revenue and cost.  For example, if we can increase our revenue by 10% a year by creating and maintaining a web site for $1,000 bucks initial cost.  If you have $100,000 in revenue per year then you can pay for the cost within one year, plus have the increase in revenue hopefully for a number of years to come.
With costs you look at the savings of time or resources, if you save 3 hours of work a month, billable at $50.00/hr, by buying a product for $500.00 it would take 10 hours to recover the cost.

It is as simple as that, however, the issue now becomes what happens to the 3 hours of time per month that is saved.  If you don't have sufficient work to fill that time then nothing is really gained from a financial sense unless it's used to increase revenue. 

The hardest thing in any business is to value the things that you can't quantify, as a sole proprietor you may have a goal of saving time simply to be able to spend more time with family.  Or to catch up on bookwork or clean up or other non-billable functions that need to be done.

Most all the decisions made in mmy corporation are based on if it will increase revenue or reduce costs (there is another set that involves compliance with state and federal laws but I won't get into that!) and most of them are pretty simple in their calculations of this.

I work under the keep it simple principle and it's worked well both in corporate and my small business.  Part of that is that I am pretty simple and not capable of thinking really complex thoughts, just ask my wife!


The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Technology compared to quality
« on: February 27, 2013, 10:09:46 AM »
My personal opinion is that things are designed to move off the showroom floor as quickly as possible with little consideration of durability.  With all of the computer aided designs they have precision cuting and sewing capabilities but the quality of the materials lack durability of the long run.

We bought a sofa about 5 years ago, looks good on the showroom floor.  Now the cushions are the kind where the finish fabric is only on the top and you can't flip them over to help with wearability.  The front edges are now a 1/4 of the way down the front of where the boxing should be.  The foam is not supporting the edge any longer.  The worst thing we don't even use the sofa that much, only when we're watching TV together which is maybe 5 hours a week on average. 

In summary, the highest quality manufacturing techniques are still only as good as the quality of materials used to produce the goods.


The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Analyzing fabric sales
« on: February 27, 2013, 09:59:47 AM »
My fabric sales are almost non-existant too.  The only thing I've every supplied has been vinyl, and that has been for commercial customers.  I keep a small supply of blank vinyl on hand for those quick emergency jobs like the beauty salon who's stylist will be out tomorrow but they need to chair back by the next day.

General Discussion / Re: Need advice on covering back of sofa
« on: February 26, 2013, 12:36:39 PM »
Yep, the outside arm was adjustable too, some of them only one arm was adjustable and the other stationery, I think those are more common in England than here. 

When I was a kid a lady I mowed grass for had one of them in her sitting room.  I thought it was a neat idea, haven't seen one til this one came on Saturday.

It still has a partial label on it indicating it was made in Michigan.  I love the dective work involved in some of this stuff.  Always wanted to be an Archeologist, I guess we are in a way, finding people's stuff they've lost years ago!   :P

General Discussion / Re: Need advice on covering back of sofa
« on: February 26, 2013, 08:46:55 AM »
Thanks for all the advice.  I think I'll just cover it and call it good.  It is very stable the way it is now. 

I think originally the back was not covered because the wood has a darkened aged appearence like it was exposed to the air for many years not fresh looking like it was covered up. 

I also discovered this was one of those drop arm sofas that made into a bed.  The drop arm mechanisms were removed a long time ago so no more stretching out.  That also explained the springs and depth of the arms which are quite bulky for this size of piece.  When you'd lay the arms down they would then be the same height as the seat and add more comfort.

Thanks again for all the good advice!  It's great to have a group of people to bounce ideas off of.  I'll post pictures when done.


General Discussion / Need advice on covering back of sofa
« on: February 25, 2013, 12:26:59 PM »
Here's the quick story on this, I'm now the third person to have this Duncan Phyfe style loveseat to reupholster.  The first man died unexpectedly, the second after attempting it decided it was too much for him and then it came to me.

I've gotten the wood frame pieces fixed and the frame reassembled.  Honestly the piece has been used and abused more than any piece I've worked on before.  It has a mix of old and new wood trim pieces replaced and redesigned frame work and legs.  Fun and challenging project.   :D

Here's the assembled piece.

Now here's my question, how would you cover this back?


I was thinking of filling in between the support slats with foam and then covering with dacron.  The finished product would bulge out and I'm not sure I would like how it looks. 
The customer just wants it done at this point in the most cost effective manner since they already have a lot of money and even more time waiting for this piece. 

I'm open to any ideas.


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