Furniture upholsterers interested in taking on more auto trim jobs or making a complete transition into the field of auto upholstery should check out Upholstery Journal‘s latest article “Custom Automotive Upholstery”. It serves as a good introduction into the world of cars.
Those not considering the transition may want to think twice. Upholstery Journal explains:
Furniture reupholstery has taken a hit thanks to the influx of less-expensive—and, dare we say, lesser quality—furniture. It’s cheaper for those who either don’t know any better or just don’t care about quality issues to buy a new sofa rather than have an old one reupholstered. Al Berndt of Rapids Upholstery in Sauk Rapids, Minn., calls it “a throw-away world.” Fortunately, that’s not the case with automobiles, especially with those old cars and trucks that recapture the essence of youth—even for some senior citizens. [more]
Admittedly, UJ’s article over simplifies the jump from furniture to automotive upholstery. While some of the fundamentals are the same, many of the processes and design objectives aren’t. What’s more, their target customers are different and unique.
Still, the transition is doable – and many upholsterers often dabble in both.
We want to hear from you: Have you made the transition from furniture upholstery to auto trim, or does your business handle both? What similarities or differences have you found – from either a design or business perspective?
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Im also doing more auto upholstery than furniture these days. The transition isn’t easy but it’s worth it. I have 35 years experience in the upholstery field and working on cars is like re-learning it all over.
I started with furniture, but kept getting automotive jobs and still do more auto than furniture. The biggest challenge for me was switching from fabric only to vinyl. If you sew it wrong, not so easy to rip out and do over. With furniture , it’s simple to make any little mistakes ‘go away’ with pulling and stapling. Not so much with hog rings. It is a learning curve. My biggest hang up has been – no mentor anywhere near me. That’s where the hog ring forum has been invaluable!! Thanks!!
Christie Howell says
Hello! I have had a Furniture Upholstery shop at my home for 11 years and closed down due to expensive health insurance. I got hired at an amazing place that turns used RV’s to mobile medical units for free clinics. I was hired to make slip covers for the coach seats and I’m having a hard time with the transition. I didn’t think it would be too much different but I’m awful at it. I want to be able to do the job and keep it but I’m teaching myself and I’m just so discouraged from all of the mistakes and vinyl waste that’s costing the company who knows how much. Does anybody have any advice on what I should do to get better? The vinyl I’m working with is so thin and flimsy. It shows all the flaws of the worn foam underneath. I need help but nowhere to turn.