A lesson from our elders


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A few weeks ago our intern Gabrielle brought us a great treat: she found these cool and super old upholstery books.  As you would imagine we were all quite engrossed with it.  We geek-ed out as only true upholstery/furniture lovers could.  The first book, Essentials of Upholstery, was written by Herbert Blast in 1928.  Can you believe it?  It was meant to be a textbook used at the Sheboygan Vocational School in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.  This book sucked me in pretty quickly.  I was amazed at how little this trade has changed.  All the tools are virtually the same with the exception of the missing staple gun.  I guess it’s true what they say, “If it ain’t broke…don’t fix it.”  I especially enjoyed this book because as you may or may not know, I am still learning a lot about upholstery.  My training is less formal and more hands on.  It was interesting to be able to read about different skills in a more textbook-ish way.  The photographs and diagrams are great.  I especially love the overly formal fashion that the gentleman is wearing while stuffing cushions.  If this guy could see what I wear to stuff cushions, he would be so very disappointed.  The kind of craftsmanship that was done in this time was truly beautiful.  Almost everything was hand stitched, from the edge roll to the cushions…and everything in between.  Impeccable.

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The second book, The Repair and Reupholstering of Old Furniture, was written by Wernon M. Albers in 1969.  While this book is not as old the aforementioned book, it is still every bit as interesting.  This book focuses more on the structure and condition of the frame.  There is even a chapter on cane seating, split reed seating, and rush seating.  Boy, does that look labor intensive.  It is so rare to find anyone who still does this by hand.

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A big thank you to Gabrielle for bringing us such a treat.  I’m not quite finished with these two yet.  I still have plenty to learn!