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Upholstering 2 Chairs For My Living Room #1: My Thoughts Before Beginning.

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Blog entry by MarkTheFiddler posted 208 days ago 670 reads 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Upholstering 2 Chairs For My Living Room series Part 2: Fabric - What's the big deal? »

Lumberjock Friends,

I’ve been thinking hard about how I can give back to all of you. One thing is for sure, I can’t give back by being your residential woodworking expert. There is not a single thing I can say about woodworking that another lumberjock can’t improve upon. I know next to nothing that I didn’t learn from you all. Even the woodworking knowledge I have is subject to refinement. In short, I am far more of a student here than I am teacher.

I have seen quite a bit of woodworking that includes upholstery. If you will allow me, I’d like to share my experience with upholstering 2 chairs. I’d like to add as much detail as I can and hopefully, I’ll remove quite a bit of the mystery behind upholstery. And again I hope – one of you will give it a try.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!



7 comments so far

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MarkTheFiddler

1766 posts in 814 days


#1 posted 208 days ago

The forum splash page has been acting a little strangely lately. I’m saving the bulk of my thoughts for subsequent posts so I don’t put a book on the main screen. I’ll come back to this particular thread as nuances to upholstery occur to me.

The question is why even start a blog set with “My Thoughts”. It sounds rather self important to me. If you know me, then you know that I’m turning red in the face at the thought of raising myself up above anyone. I’m literally embarrassed right now… Let me get past this…

A few breaths later….

And a Few more….

I suppose the point I want to make up front is that I believe that YOU can do upholstery. At least enough to handle the upholstery of your wood working projects on your own. I believe this.

Despite my belief in you, I know there is a bit of artistry in upholstery. I can’t hand it over. Still I encourage you to think along the lines of this metaphor. Someone taught you how to write. You may have even used the same workbooks I used as a child. How come your signature is different? How come I can’t make my signature look like yours? Nonetheless, I can still write my signature.

When it comes down to “artistry” in upholstery, know that every upholsterer has a toolbox of skills and knowledge. They use those when they have to solve a problem. What did they see to make them try it this way or that way. Why did they take that tiny piece of cotton and stuff it over there. Why did they change their mind about how they were doing something? Why did they snip the fabric that way. Why didn’t they add a staple there and there?

I’ll call it artistry because I know that the descriptions I use are not going to be enough sometimes. Put another way, I’m not smart enough to put some things into words. I’ll try my best.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

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MarkTheFiddler

1766 posts in 814 days


#2 posted 208 days ago

Another Thought before I create an entry that rally gets to the nuts and bolts.

Upholstery is not as precise as woodworking. I don’t really care about 1/8 inch here and there. Fine woodworking requires far more precision. I like to think of it with this little example. Make a chessboard with 2.5 inch squares. However, Go ahead and cut the lighter squares 1/64 smaller than the dark squares. Anyone?

You don’t have to get out the micrometer every time you snip a piece of fabric. You don’t have to make sure your staples are placed at the exact same distance from each other and set in an exact line.

There is quite a bit of freeform work going on and you may enjoy the slight liberation from woodworking precision. I advise that you literally lighten up a little. You’ll need to be able see how the upholstery is taking shape far more than you will need to line all of your snips and staples up.

I say enjoy the liberty and look at the overall effect rather than the tiniest of details. When the details are very important, I’ll try to draw your attention to it through out the blog.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

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MarkTheFiddler

1766 posts in 814 days


#3 posted 208 days ago

I hoped this wouldn’t happen. It is taking longer to post than it is do the actual work. Thus far, the work is taking twice as long as I try figure out how to show everyone how to do it through pictures. Lol. I’ll keep after it and try to find off hours for posting.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View lightweightladylefty's profile

lightweightladylefty

2633 posts in 2339 days


#4 posted 208 days ago

Mark,

I’ll be following this. I’m glad to know there’s a resident expert upholsterer I can go to for answers. I’ve done several pieces in the past, but totally self-taught. Now, with the digital camera, it’s easier for me. I take pictures as I take it apart and then go back and look at them when, in my old age and slowness to get the job done, I forget how I disassembled it.

My first project was a simple tufted piano bench about 30 years ago. After that, I built and upholstered a loveseat. (It was pathetically bad and very uncomfortable; I didn’t have a clue what I was doing!) I’ve done a footstool, chair with separate seat and back, 6 dining chairs, numerous valances, four wing chairs (three different styles, all of which should have been thrown away because I needed to rebuild the frames and even repair and carve feet on one). I’ve got quite a stash of fabric (purchased before a local liquidator retired and went out of business so most of my projects cost me under $20 to complete). I also have a few more pieces of furniture needing reupholstered.

I’m really looking forward to getting some REAL direction. I borrowed videos from the library but they aren’t interactive (no one to whom to ask the questions). ;-)

L/W

-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

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GrandpaLen

1494 posts in 899 days


#5 posted 208 days ago

...well “Pay it Forward” then, brother.

We all need to know how to at least add a little padding to our shop stools as we seek a little comfort in the shop.

...btw, your Southwest design series of tables taught a few of us to think outside the Breadboard.

You do have talents to share here on LumberJocks and we look forward to what you and every other LJ has to enlighten us with.

Best Regards. – Len
Work Safely and have Fun.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

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MarkTheFiddler

1766 posts in 814 days


#6 posted 203 days ago

Howdy L/W – anytime you like. Just drop me a PM and I’ll try to help. Interactive style. If you get in touch with me before you begin upholstery, I’ll give you my cell phone number so you can call when your hands are in it.

Len,
How are you brother? I’m going to keep it failrly simple. Most of the stuff I show will be what an Upholsterer/Cutter/Seamstress – whoever and what ever gender is exposed to almost every day. I’m going to step outside of the box – twice. Not crazy out of the box, just a slight twist to the everyday.

Now I have a question, why does the seamstress have to be a gender specific position. In my youth, When the guys ran the sewing machines, they were upholsterers. I haven’t been exposed to the industry in many years, but I never met a female upholsterer. I have never met a single man in the business who’s ONLY job was sewing. If I met one today – would he be a seamster?

Hmm….

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

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lightweightladylefty

2633 posts in 2339 days


#7 posted 203 days ago

Mark,

Male seamstresses are called tailors. Have you ever heard females called tailoresses? LOL I always felt that a tailor was an honorable profession, but being a seamstress has a lowly connotation—that a tailor was more skilled than a seamstress. Go figure!

L/W

-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

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