Upholstery: What You Need to Know About Fabric Abrasion Tests

double-rub-blog-2If you’ve been looking at sample books for upholstery fabric, you’ve probably seen a rating for “Abrasion” or “Double Rubs”.  The fabric manufacturers have added this test as a way of helping consumers determine the durability and use of a particular fabric. The rating can be helpful and confusing at the same time.

It’s not uncommon to see fabrics with an abrasion rating of 100,000 rubs or more. This would certainly be a heavy duty and use fabric. But it’s use may be better suited for a commercial application. Or possibly a family room that gets daily use from kids and pets. Even in those circumstances, an abrasion level of 35,000 to 50,000 is sufficient.

In reality, the fabric manufacturers have determined that 15,000 rubs if sufficient to be considered a “heavy duty” upholstery fabric.

Light Use: 9,000 to 11,000 rubs
Medium Use: 12,000 to 15,000 rubs
Heavy Use: 15,000+ rubs

If you are looking for a heavy use upholstery fabric, any fabric with an abrasion of over 15,000 rubs should work fine.

First find a fabric that is visually appealing to you. Then consider abrasion.

Taking Do It Yourself Upholstery to the Next Level

Cape Cod Upholstery ShopIn the section of my blog called, “Ask an Upholsterer“, I get questions from mostly Do it Yourself upholsterers. A lot of people are working on their own personal pieces. Occasionally, a few people are working at the next level. Working for a few friends or actual clients here and there, but still not set up with the equipment and tools commonly found in most professional upholstery shops.

For those of you considering upholstery as a profession, either as a full time or part time business, I thought I’d organize a list of items, needed to get an upholstery shop up and running. This includes having a good space for your upholstery workroom, as well as all the basic pieces of equipment and tools generally needed in a professional upholstery shop.

1) Home Business or Commercial Location
Working out of your home is perfectly fine if you have the proper space. A separate building on the property, like a garage or barn, I think is best. I advise you to check into your town or city zoning to see if you can run a home business from the property. Check if you need any permits or license for the business as well as for any signage.

With a commercial location, you still need to check with your town or city, to see what permits or licenses may be needed.

2) Your Upholstery Work Room
You need a good size workspace. Big enough for a fabric cutting table, a work table or saw horses, sewing machine, room for some supplies and maybe several pieces of furniture. I manage in my small shop with a main workspace 24’x 24′, plus the use of some basement storage space. (basement storage needs to be dry)

3) Equipment and Tools
a) Air compressor and Air Equipment
A small portable air compressor is generally fine for a one person shop. If you pan on having more than one person at the same time working, you’ll need to size your compressor accordingly.
b) Neumatic (air) Staple Gun.
I highly recommend the BEA #7 Air Tacker. It uses # 7 staples.
c) Air Hose.
For part of the hose, I like attaching a coil hose to the staple gun. For the rest, you’ll need high pressure 3/8″ air hose.
d) Industrial Sewing Machine
My main sewing machine is a year old Pfaff 145 H4. The Pfaff 145 is as basic as it gets. It’s a walking foot machine with a straight stitch with forward and reverse. All I do is upholstery. If you did draperies and slipcovers you might want to get a sewing machine with more features, like more types of stitches.
e) Steamer
You’ll need a steamer for steaming items such as, the old fabric for use as templates, steaming skirts, flattening seems. I recommend Jiffy Steamers.
f) Tables
You’ll need a fabric cutting table (6’x8′), work bench for furniture (4’x8′) and or saw horses
g) Tools
You’ll need all the tools commonly found in any type of workroom, plus numerous specialty tools for furniture upholstery.

4) Upholstery Supplies
You’ll need a full stock of all the commonly used upholstery supplies. The good thing is you don’t need to keep a large inventory of each item. Order what you need, when you need it, as shipping is generally fast.

5) The Legal Stuff
a) Check with your town or city for required permits and licenses
b) Check with your state department of revenue. You may need to collect sales tax from your customer. If so, you’ll need a state sales tax license and file sales tax returns.
c) For Federal Taxes, you’ll to file a Schedule C (Form 1040) Profit and Loss From Business.
d) In addition to Schedule C, if you have a Home Business, you may need to file Form 8829, Expense for Business Use of Your Home

6) Upholstery Supplier Account
You’ll want to get your supplies from an upholstery supplier, that sells professional quality supplies to the trade. You’ll need to set up a business account with the supplier. The supplier will most likely ask for your state sales tax number to make your account exempt from collecting sales tax on the cost of your supplies. If you don’t a have a state sales tax number, the supplier may still set up an account, but will charge you sales tax for the cost of the supplies.

Conclusion
Ready to open your own upholstery shop! I’ve left out plenty in order to keep the article a reasonable length, but I hope I’ve provided a little incite into what it would take to open a legal upholstery business. With all the tools, equipment and supplies, you could expect to spend $5,000.00 or more to get started. This would be excluding the cost of your work space itself. I think a reasonable amount, as there are not a lot of businesses you can start for as little as $5,000 – $10,000.00..

As usual, I will be happy to fill in any of the blank spaces for all who have more questions.

Ask an Upholsterer wants you to use Dropbox

Dropbox upholsteryblog

As part of my WordPress site, upholsteryblog.com, I have a page called “Ask an Upholsterer”. The purpose of the page is for people to ask questions about anything to do with upholstery. Some questions can be best answered if I had a photo of the project to get a visual idea of what the question may be about.

Dropbox may be the best answer. With a free Dropbox account, you would simply upload the photo(s) to your Dropbox folder and get a link to the photo. When you ask a question or add a comment to “Ask an Upholsterer”, you would simply add your link to the photo.

Pantone Introduces the 2013 Color of the Year

Pantone 17-5641 Emerald

Pantone 17-5641 Emerald

Pantone has Introduced what they believe to be the color for 2013.  Drum roll please:  Pantone 17-5461 Emerald.  Being a Boston Celtics fan, I like the color. But, I’ll be interested to see if any of my Cape Cod Upholstery Shop customers warm up to this bright and bold color.

Barre Pinske Painting For Sale on Cape Cod

Barre Pinske Painting

Barre Pinske Painting

Barre Pinske paintings rarely come up for resale. Barre’s style may best be described as Modern, Folk and Fine Art. This painting is from Barre Pinske’s art studio and gallery, once located in West Barnstable Ma. The painting is circa 1991.

I like to call the painting “Daisies”  The paint surface is heavily textured on 4′ x 8′ plywood and backed by a wooden frame for rigidity.

More information about the painting can be found at Cape Cod Upholstery Shop

For more information about the artist, visit Barre Pinske’s website

Upholstery Blog 2012 in Review

Thank you from upholsteryblog.com, Cape Cod Upholstery Shop and Joe Gramm for a great year. The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for upholsteryblog.com.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 6,100 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 10 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Upholsterer Statics from Wolfram Alpha

By Joe Gramm

I thought it would be fun to look up “Upholsterer” from the computational knowledge search engine Wolfram Alpha. One thing that stands out is upholsterers are not getting rich according to the salary statistics. Another interesting statistic is jobs for upholsterers are on the decline, but salaries are on a small rise. Check it out and I hope I may introduce a few people to Wolfram Alpha. Apple’s Siri uses Wolfram Alpha for much of it’s statistical searches.

Upholster Statistics from Wolfram Alpha