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Also known as:
Aircraft Seat Upholsterer, Auto Upholsterer, Chair Upholsterer, Dining Chair Seat Cushion Trimmer, Furniture Upholsterer, Seating Upholsterer

Video transcript

Through the centuries, one way to provide comfort, as well as display wealth, has been through the work of upholsterers. From palaces to Main Street, a fine piece of craftsmanship blending fabric and frame has always been a source of material satisfaction. Upholstery is a craft handed from artisan to artisan through on -the-job training. Often, it is handed down through generations, but nowadays this useful craft can be learned at a vocational school as well.

The process always starts with the frame - either a newly created one or an old frame which the upholsterer might repair with gluing or refinishing. That's just the beginning of many intricate hand-worked processes, using materials such as springs and webbing and fillers like foam and polyester.

Upholsterers then measure and cut fabric, which is then sewn, tacked, stapled, or glued to the frame. Then come ornaments like fringes, rivets, and buttons. To do all this, you have to be comfortable bending and twisting. Upholsterers use common hand tools such as tack hammers, staple guns, staple removers, pliers, shears, webbing stretchers and upholstery needles. Special sewing machines are also used. Obviously, with that kind of equipment in use, protective gloves and clothing are often used.

All upholsterers need physical stamina, good coordination and precision. Talent in selecting color, design, and fabric will also contribute to success. The primary ways to advance in this field are to open your own shop or to move into management. For both of these options, you will need to have both business and people skills.

Make, repair, or replace upholstery for household furniture or transportation vehicles.
Critical decision making
Level of responsibilities
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
Dealing and handling conflict
Competition for this position
Communication with others
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
Comfort of the work setting
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
Exposure to job hazards
Physical demands
Daily tasks

Interweave and fasten strips of webbing to the backs and undersides of furniture, using small hand tools and fasteners.

Attach fasteners, grommets, buttons, buckles, ornamental trim, and other accessories to covers or frames, using hand tools.

Examine furniture frames, upholstery, springs, and webbing to locate defects.

Measure and cut new covering materials, using patterns and measuring and cutting instruments, following sketches and design specifications.

Remove covering, webbing, padding, or defective springs from workpieces, using hand tools such as hammers and tack pullers.

Build furniture up with loose fiber stuffing, cotton, felt, or foam padding to form smooth, rounded surfaces.

Make, restore, or create custom upholstered furniture, using hand tools and knowledge of fabrics and upholstery methods.

Adjust or replace webbing, padding, or springs, and secure them in place.

Read work orders, and apply knowledge and experience with materials to determine types and amounts of materials required to cover workpieces.

Fit, install, and secure material on frames, using hand tools, power tools, glue, cement, or staples.

Handling and Moving Objects Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
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.
Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Production and Processing Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Design Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Mechanical Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Building and Construction Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
Personnel and Human Resources Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Time Management Managing one's own time and the time of others.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Active Learning Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.