Car upholstery

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Since modern service work makes it unnecessary in many cases to disturb upholstery there are many men who just never get around to "picking up" this line of experience. And others dodge the job by replacing complete upholstery panels if a piece is badly torn, while others call it "sissy work" and never have anything to do with any job that is related to a needle and thread.

But anyone who has taken time to look into the job possibilities in specialized upholstery service knows that there are some mighty smart "he men" making motoring more pleasant by improving the interior appearance of cars and more comfortable by fitting seat covers in tailor-made fashion, and rebuilding seats to fit the people who ride on them.

We have no quarrel with those who just don't "take" to upholstery work. But a man who is a good mechanic can make a good upholstery or trim man due to his understanding of hinges, latches, seat controls and the like. And in the small shop especially a little study of upholstery work can often be the cause of worth while raises and advancement for a mechanic who might otherwise be "just another mechanic."

Since the jobber of trimmers' supplies carries somewhere around 5,000 items needed by upholsterers and trimmers it is evident that reference cannot be here made to everything required in this work. But to those interested in this field it is suggested that a visit be paid to the nearest jobber in order to see just what supplies are available in this field.

We have watched a good mechanic spend over an hour straightening out 20c worth of moulding, seen another make a 2c screw in a lathe, watched others salvage binding from around seats that were being repaired when new binding would have cost less than the value of the time required to salvage the old material and would have made the job look right. So by all means visit your nearest jobber and study his stock.

It is common knowledge that the big automotive market is in the small car field. And it is equally well known that many of these cheaper cars, while excellent mechanically, have been built with an eye to cost. So it is but natural that the manufacturers had to "cut corners" somewhere, and if you will but feel the seats of cars costing under $2000 and compare their softness and comfort with cars costing over $2000 you will know one place where money has been saved. To many car owners this means little. To others it is a cause of concern, specially on long trips, and many a smart trimmer makes good money rebuilding seats for greater comfort.

By studying construction carefully, one can rebuild a seat for greater comfort. The basic idea is to remove the old springs, if few and stiff, and replace them with a greater number of springs with greater resiliency. Springs of different height are available at the jobber's and where more padding is to be added, lower springs should be used in order that the overall height of the seat will remain practically unchanged. Whether one uses conventional padding or the new sponge rubber greater comfort is sure to result where a production seat has been converted into a custom built one.

Probably the most used piece of shop equipment in the trim shop is the sewing machine which is generally built into a bench. Here any flat work can be quickly and permanently sewed together. Here seat covers are altered to be really tailored to the car. And some trimmers even build their own seat covers.

In upholstery and trim work, perhaps more than in some other fields, there is nothing quite like working as an apprentice to a skilled man. Here you will see him adjust padding of a seat without removing the covering cloth or even leaving a mark on it. With a long blunt needle he pierces the cloth and with this needle works the padding around to remove lumps.

Distressing rips in fine fabric he will probably draw gently together with an under-and-over stitch like that used to sew the cover on a baseball, then with flexible cement on the reverse side he will make the cloth stronger than new, and the tear will be hardly noticeable. A rip in the cloth covering of a door panel he will sew neatly together with a curved needle that makes it unnecessary to lift the cloth from the door panel. He will sink small round headed tacks so deftly into upholstery that it will be impossible to tell what is holding the material in place.

All in all the upholstery field is one worth studying for here is combined the skill of the expert tailor with the ability of the most capable mechanic.