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: "Old School Ways" in the 21st century  ( 6378 )
mike802
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« #15 : September 26, 2010, 06:47:42 AM »

The furniture that I build has a maple frame, very hard to hammer in a tack strip without bending the prongs and cutting, or marking the fabric where it folds over.  I also find it difficult to get just the right amount of stretch on the fabric without making several test runs, adding additional holes to the fabric.

Many of the furniture pieces I reupholster use tack strips and very often they are coming loose and my customer complains about catching a nylon, or a good pair of slacks on the sharp edges.   Blind stitching eliminates both of these complaints, although taking a little longer.  If tack strips work for those who are using them than that is fine, but for me and the level of workmanship I aspire to achieve, blind stitching is essential and is one more way of separating my work from the masses.  I am not trying to imply that using tack strips shows less quality of workmanship, it is not my intention to offend anyone who prefers using them.  It is just one method I use to market my product, like I stated in an earlier post, I cant compete on price, so high quality is my selling point and the blind stitch vs tack strips is one area I can do that.

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power" - Abraham Lincoln
http://www.mjamsdenfurniture.com
sofadoc
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All types of upholstery.....except cars and boats.


« #16 : September 26, 2010, 08:59:46 AM »

Mike: From looking at your website, I can see that your work is definitely first class. If you can get a enough people to pay a "high end " price, then I am certainly not going to question your methods.
I've seen SOME blind-stitch jobs that look like they were done by a man who really WAS blind. :D
Most of the re-upholstery work that I get in ranges from "very low end" to mid-grade. I only occasionally get in a piece that is comparable to the quality of your work. I did have one "high end" furniture store that I did work for, but they recently closed.
Two of my main local suppliers don't even stock curve-needle thread anymore (one of them has never even HEARD of it).
Given my customer base, I have to go with speed methods in order to keep my prices in line with what the local market will pay.
I wish that I COULD hand-sew some of the back panels on the vinyl/leather recliners that I repair for a local retailer. They have a plywood frame, and like you said, the nail strip pops up and snags all passers-by.
In many cases, the store's delivery guys are going to rake it across the door jamb anyway. I make some pretty nice extra income just because of knucklehead delivery men.

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
mike802
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« #17 : September 27, 2010, 08:44:24 AM »

Thanks Sofadoc and thanks for visiting my site.  We all have to find our niche and cater to it in the best way we can.  We did a trade show this weekend in Woodstock Vermont, a very rich town and venders there were not selling much.  I had a lot of tire kickers telling me how beautiful everything was, gave out lots of cards, got some people to sign my guest book, but no immediate sales, or commissions.  I talked to a few of the people who did sell some stuff and it was 5 to 10 dollar items, or they had to practically give the item away.  I am booked to do another show next month, it is an out door show which I hate doing for obvious reasons, but it is an invitation only show with a good reputation, so I didn't want to turn it down.  After the Woodstock show I am not looking forward to it.  Hard to tell where things are going in this economy.

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power" - Abraham Lincoln
http://www.mjamsdenfurniture.com
ThrowMeAPillow
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« #18 : September 28, 2010, 06:42:06 AM »

Mike!
t'would be a sin to use ply-grip on a Victorian Rococo Armchair such as the one you show on your site!  I worked near Albany, half-way to Pittsfield, MA.   I MISS all that antique furniture!  In Tennessee there are fewer such antiques... but MANY antique cars... so I am transitioning in THAT direction...
Mojo
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« #19 : December 16, 2010, 08:32:23 AM »

I have read all of your posts and feel a little left out. :)

I have had no family involved in upholstery. I started sewing when I was real young. I had no sisters which meant I got stuck with doing dishes and learning how to cook. My Mom made sure I also knew how to sew.

My Mom started me sewing by hand making puppets out of socks. I can remember sewing buttons on them for the eyes and nose and then hand stitching the mouth. She later taught me how to darn socks. I can remember asking my Mom why I had to learn how to sew that it was womans work. She told me she is teaching me in case I never found a woman who would put up with me. :)

One interesting facet of my life was a type of sewing that I am sure no one on here has ever done. I served an apprenticeship as a mortician and did a lot of sewing on bodies. I always got stuck doing the reconstruction work on accident victims as it was tedious and took a lot of patience. Most of the guys hated doing it but I enjoyed it myself. I turned on the music and got lost in what I was doing. My next door neighbor was a surgeon who taught me how to stitch bodies. I can remember sitting in the back yard in lounge chairs and sewing bananas and oranges. I never could find any live people willing to let me practice on them. :)

I wished I could have learned this trade from someone. Those of you who were taught by others really do not know how lucky you are. It has been a very rough road getting to where I am now and I admit, there were times I wanted to quit. One of the biggest problems I have is learning new techniques. One can explain them to me but I am a visual kind of guy and need to sometimes see it done before
I " get it ".

Still, your explanations have done a world of good for newbies like myself. But I still have days I wished I could sit down next to some of you and watch and learn. Heck I would even wind bobbins for you as payment for the instruction. :)

Chris

gene
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« #20 : December 16, 2010, 01:05:18 PM »

Let's see if Gregg from Keystone replys with the latest in sewing machines designed for sewing bodies back together after fatal accidents. LOL

I taught my self upholstery also Chris. I would have loved to have had a mentor. 6 1/2 hours on a boxed cushion once is the example that I give to tell folks what it is like to teach yourself.

This forum, Carrscorner, and Merv's DVD's are like old friends.

gene

QUALITY DOES NOT COST, IT PAYS!
kodydog
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« #21 : December 18, 2010, 12:27:24 AM »

25 years ago I worked next to a guy in his late sixties. He said he used to bring a banana to work every day. If he swallowed a tack he'd take a big old bite of that banana to help push it on down.

There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.
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206RB
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« #22 : December 18, 2010, 08:54:46 AM »

55 years old here. Started learning upholstery from my Grandfather, who learned it from his father, who was the mortician and casket maker back in MN. He came over to America from Sweden as a cabinetmaker, which automatically made him the casket maker.
I still spit tacks from time to time. Always spit hog rings. Curved needle is essential for certain jobs.
Never swallowed one, but we still keep bananas around. Now I know why, thanks!
Just don't bring them on a fishing boat.
« : December 18, 2010, 09:08:12 AM 206RB »
kodydog
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« #23 : December 19, 2010, 10:31:49 AM »

OK I'll bite. Why don't you want to bring a banana on a fishing boat.

There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.
http://northfloridachair.com/index.html
JuneC
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« #24 : December 19, 2010, 11:01:39 AM »

Well you can, ... but you won't catch any fish.  Very old superstition but most fisherman know that bananas are bad luck. 

June

"Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people."

     W. C. Fields
hdflame
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"Quality is not expensive, it's PRICELESS!"


« #25 : December 25, 2010, 02:01:31 PM »

I have enjoyed reading about all of your experiences in old school and envy those who had someone to teach you hands on and in person.  I am also one of those that can read how to do something, and still scratch my head until I've actually SEEN it! :D  At the time you were being made to work in the shop alongside your Dad...or whoever, you probably didn't realize how lucky you were, that they were teaching you something that would become a lost art!

I would LOVE to be able to blind stitch.  I've watched videos about how to do upholstery, but never seen one that showed it close up enough to understand.  I would think that would make repairing a torn seam in a car seat much easier than having to pull it off and stitch 4 or 6 inches with a machine.

It would really be a great service to the trade and members of this board, if some of you that can blind stitch in the dark, would take the time to put together a little "How-To" with some close up pictures for us visually impaired learners. ???  Even those that can do it, may learn something new from each other.

I think hand sewing is one of those things that will be a lost art unless those of you that learned from a master is willing to share your knowledge with us.

Hmmm, does this sound a little like begging? ;D


Bobby
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