In Summary - Upholsterer
Upholsterers typically work in the following Career Sectors:
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The Work - Upholsterer
Upholsterers attach the padding and soft covers onto furniture, such as sofas, chairs and mattresses. There are two main types of upholsterer: production and craft.
Production upholsterers carry out skilled work in factories or workshops, upholstering new pieces of furniture. They use modern filling materials, like foam and polyester waddings. They attach the fillings to wooden and metal furniture frames to form padding for seats, backs and arms, as well as using them to stuff cushions. The upholsterer receives pre-cut pieces of foam and covering materials. Fabrics have been sewn by specialist sewing machinists.
To fix the upholstery to the frame, upholsterers usually use a hand-held staple gun. Decorative trimmings, such as beading, may be attached with tacks fixed with a small-headed hammer.
In some factories, an upholsterer may be responsible for working on a particular part of the furniture, for example chair arms, while in others, upholsterers complete entire items.
Craft upholsterers are highly skilled and are able to complete the full range of upholstery tasks. They may work on new furniture but also do re-upholstery. This can include repair work and recovering domestic items such as suites. Some craft upholsterers undertake contract work, for example, upholstering furniture in hotels and bars.
Craft upholsterers are responsible for cutting and sewing, as well as fixing. They use templates to mark out the required shapes on the fabric - ensuring that the patterns and
Traditional craft upholsterers specialise in renovating antique furniture using a variety of tools including ripping chisels, magnetic hammers and long needles. They work with a wide range of materials, including loose fibre fillings and cotton waddings from which they create comfortable shapes on wooden frames. On some pieces, upholsterers may use other furniture craft skills, such as French polishing.
For re-upholstery work, upholsterers estimate the costs of dismantling and rebuilding items for customers. This involves making a detailed inspection of the furniture to assess its con
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Fit, install, and secure material on frames, using hand tools, power tools, glue, cement, or staples.
- Build furniture up with loose fiber stuffing, cotton, felt, or foam padding to form smooth, rounded surfaces.
- Examine furniture frames, upholstery, springs, and webbing to locate defects.
- Attach fasteners, grommets, buttons, buckles, ornamental trim, and other accessories to covers or frames, using hand tools.
- Remove covering, webbing, padding, or defective springs from workpieces, using hand tools such as hammers and tack pullers.
- Read work orders, and apply knowledge and experience with materials to determine types and amounts of materials required to cover workpieces.
- Draw cutting lines on material following patterns, templates, sketches, or blueprints, using chalk, pencils, paint, or other methods.
- Make, restore, or create custom upholstered furniture, using hand tools and knowledge of fabrics and upholstery methods.
- Measure and cut new covering materials, using patterns and measuring and cutting instruments, following sketches and design specifications.
- Maintain records of time required to perform each job.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Handling and Moving Objects Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Performing General Physical Activities Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Controlling Machines and Processes Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Interests - Upholsterer
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
TThis type of work suits people with practical craft skills, who take pride in their work. All types of upholsterers have to work carefully to create accurate shapes in upholstery. Padding and fabrics need to be fixed neatly and seams have to be straight, in order to produce a smooth, professional finish and an attractive end product.
You will need patience for some aspects of upholstery work, such as fixing fabrics to awkward curves or angles. However, you may also be expected to work quickly.
If you enter craft upholstery you will need mathematical ability for calculating costs and measuring materials accurately. You need to have good business skills if you are self employed.
If you deal with customers, a polite and friendly manner is helpful; you should enjoy giving advice and encouraging sales.
Good hand skills are needed for using a variety of tools and equipment. You need to be well co-ordinated and physically fit; much of your day will be spent moving items of furniture. An eye for detail is required for matching fabrics and good vision can be important. Your colour vision may be tested. The work may not suit you if you have certain chest complaints or allergies because of the dust and fluff from some fabrics. You must be safety conscious and well organised and tidy.
Entry Requirements - Upholsterer
Pay & Salary - Upholsterer
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 18k - 34k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.