I’m getting ready to teach a community ed class titled, “Tackling Your First Upholstery Project” and these kind of classes always get me thinking. I don’t want to overwhelm new students with a mile long list of must-have tools for a simple project or two, but upholstery is definitely easier with the proper equipment, yes? So the question is, “If you were stuck on a desert island, what five tools would you want?” For today, anyway, these are mine.
Number 1: A C.S.Osbourne Staple Lifter
The very first tool that I recommend to ANY student, this is a must. Even if you’re just tackling a few dining room chairs, PUT DOWN THE SCREWDRIVER!!!! Not only will a proper tool save you time and frustration, quite honestly you’re less likely to stab yourself in the face, and I think the that’s something we can all appreciate. And don’t forget your safety glasses!
Number 2. An Upholstery-Appropriate Pneumatic Staple Gun
By “Upholstery-Appropriate” I mean that it shoots a 22 gauge staple in lengths from 1/4″-1/2″ Nothing wrecks an old chair faster then giant hardware staples blowing the frame to bits. Okay, maybe repairs done with long nails are worse, but you get the idea.
By “Pneumatic” I mean that it uses an air compressor. This one is a bummer to lots of DIY warriors, but once you go pneumatic, you’ll never go back. So much drive with so little effort! And the great news is that you don’t need a fancy compressor – most anything you can get your hands on will do.
The Cadillac of upholstery staple guns is a BEA brand made in Germany, but I’m pretty darn impressed with Porter Cable’s version, which goes for about half the price (pictured)
Number 3: A Consew 226 Industrial Sewing Machine
Now I’m not saying that a new student needs to run out and drop $1,000 bucks on a new sewing machine, I’m just saying that ON MY DESERT ISLAND I’d choose to have one. Anytime I meet a DIY warrior who’s managed to sew a bunch of cushions on their residential machine, I’m in absolute awe. How did you do that???!!! My home machine makes me want to throw things. I want to go FAST!!!!! On my desert island, we don’t have all day to sew hammocks. We have tans to work on.
Number 4: A 5″ Curved Needle
Surprised??? This little low-tech goody will work in all kinds of pinches, AND yield a lovely professional finish. Leave the ply-grip and metal tack strips at home. We’re going to do this the old fashioned way.
Number 5: . . . . A Regulator (maybe)
Ask me tomorrow, and this one’s going to be different. I should probably ask for a scissors, but hopefully someone one the island has a passable pair I can poach. What is it about a regulator? They’re just are so handy. Especially for hot gluing double welt, and I don’t want my island clients to have trashy looking double welt. What’ll they say about me on social media??? By the way, did anybody bring a hot glue gun???
So that’s my five for now – what are yours????!!!