Hey home upholsters! Tools question!

jterrilynnJune 22, 2012

I'm in the process of upholstering the seats on some dining room chairs. Half way through the project of six chairs my staple gun stopped completely shooting in the stapes, at first not so bad but then it got to the point (after trying to hammer them in and after I stabbed myself with the little screw driver trying to remove them) that some how or another the staple gun had a run-in with the hammer (several times) on the garage floor and is now in completely dead. Tell me what tools you have for home use please.I'm certainly not going to do this for a living as I would rather have hot tar poured in my eyes but I will have several more small projects.

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I uphostered a couch and two chairs - and swore I would never do it again, but they did turn out pretty nice. I gave up on my wimpy staple gun and resorted to upholstery tacks and a hammer. They worked much better for me.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 8:35PM
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I have an electric staple gun, an Arrow ET155 ProShot 3 Electric Heavy Duty. Depending on what your other projects are, you could use tacks and a hammer, but probably a magnetic tip hammer would be nice. You can also use hot glue, but it might be difficult to remove later.

I put a link below to Amazon.com using the search 'electric staple gun' but note that it returned 'staple guns', so if you are interested in one, be sure what you order is NOT pneumatic, which requires an air compressor.

Here is a link that might be useful: staple guns

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 8:47PM
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You need to find a tack puller that looks like this. A good pair of pliers is the companion piece. If all you are covering are flat surfaces like dining chair seats then you probably can get by with a tack hammer and tacks. A pneumatic stapler does need an air compressor,but if you are covering any bigger items the weight of the electric ones can be quite tiring. Also the one I used to have was too bulky to get into tight areas.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 9:25PM
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Thanks everyone! We do have a monster of an air compressor in the garage but I would like to go a little more portable. So, I think I'll look into the electric staple gun being that I need a new one now anyway.
My3dogs thanks for the link it's really helpful and will save me time. I'll probably get some tacks and a magnetic tip hammer, that's about the only type of hammer I don't have.
Kaij, I'm such a dope because I could have found something much more user friendly to remove the staples.
I can laugh at myself now but after I stabbed my hand and just missed getting blood all over the fabric I went on a tiny weenie rage with that defunk stapler.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 10:02PM
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I have used an air stapler for my last 2 projects the compressor stays in the garage but we have a 50ft hose that goes anywhere in the house. Wouldn't go back to hand stapler if I was paid. Just love how fast projects go now.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 10:13PM
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WE have a compressor in the garage with long hose like CLBlakey posted. It makes it easier to use anywhere you need it.
I am going to get a few tools that my3dogs suggested. Good to have them instead of stabbing myself! lol

jterrilynn, I watched a lot of youtube videos on how to upholster but never saw what you described that you did with your stapler, I am sure someone would totally relate to watching that!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 10:35PM
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We fortunately have a smaller portable air compressor that I can carry from room to room. I use a pneumatic staple gun now, and I, too, would never go back to the electric that I used to use! I do a lot of upholstering and just love that staple gun!!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 12:09AM
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For dining room chairs, a manual staple gun will work. If you prefer an electric stapler, I found that you still have to pound the staples into the wood with a hammer. For a big upholstery job, a pnuematic is essential.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 10:49AM
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The Arrow one that I have is fantastic. It's takes up to 5/8" staples and has adjustable depth, so you can choose how deep you want them to go.

I bought at after asking an ID from WA state who I 'met' via the HGTV home dec board what she uses. She has a DuoFast electric stapler.

There are some that get 1 star reviews; but I'd give mine 5 stars, just as someone who reviewed it on Amazon did. I was able to do this chair easily with it, and believe me, there are hundreds of staples in it. :-)

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 11:15AM
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Wow my3dogs that looks great!
My husband after seeing the Arrow stapler in my Amazon basket and after viewing the accessories for his newly purchases DeWalt drill driver decided I only needed a new manual stapler and snuck to HD before I got up and bought one. Homey don't play that game so I'm still going to buy an electric one for the small projects and use the compressor if I advance for larger stuff. Sheesh, what nerve! My figures are already swollen like sausages after restacking the CL bricks (along with many colorful snakes)that we bought and are let over from our porch/patio diy job. I just sold all my left over brick for what I paid for the bulk thus making the just under 2,500 sf of our project FREE. I think I deserve an electric staple gun...sheesh!!!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 12:46PM
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I'm on my second Arrow electric stapler. Wore the other one out, but it did get used a lot! I could never get the hang of the hammer staplers so I used the electric for putting up the housewrap on the house and for putting tar paper on the roof, and the paper that goes on the floor under the wood, and carpet pad . . . and yes, once or twice for upholstery projects.

I do have an air compressor and DH has an air stapler for when needed, I don't like that it has such a small crown. I would not be without my Arrow electric stapler.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 3:17PM
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Hi Macy, Lol my story gets better. Husband, who is determined about me having the manual staple gun, upholstered one of the dining chairs when I was in the shower (I had the fabric cut). He actually did a pretty nice job for his first try but unfortunately the corners don't cut it. I will wait until he goes to work and re-do it after I get the electric staple gun.

My3dogs and ALL, did you take an upholstery class or did you do a learning video series? I just bought a cool armless settee on CL for $50 that I would like to be able to upholster (even though I hate it). I prefer leaning videos to classes because I can watch it over and over if I don't get something.
The sette might be a challenge but If I take my usual close to forever time in doing something new I think I might be able to pull it off if I had some good visual instruction. I have only done simple upholstery over the years like bench or chair seats though.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 5:27PM
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After all the work you've done on the patio, etc, I'd have your EXACT attitude about getting yourself an electric staple gun! As Macybaby described, there are many uses for one.

The chair above was my first attempt at upholstery, after wanting to try it for years. I told the whole story in the post linked below. Tell me about the sausage fingers, as I'm wearing wrist braces to bed at night. But, when you see what I started with and how some clearance fabric changed it, you'll see why I'm looking for cheap chairs on CL every day now. :-)

When I wanted to see how something is done while doing that chair, I just Googled it and then either watched some of the resulting videos or read blogs. It was a learn by doing process, but I have sewn for years, which helped with the loose seat and back cushions. Where you have the desire, I know you can do it. I wonder why I waited so long!

I bought this one below at a yard sale last summer for $10, and today, stripped it on my picnic table. I'm trying to decide which fabric from my stash to use on it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Craigslist chair re-born - 1st upholstery attempt !

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 8:01PM
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My3dogs you are so talented! I'm having some major doubts about my ability to upholster the settee. I think I need to come to terms with the fact that it's way over my head. Maybe if the settee wasn't such nice quality (Vanguard w/little wheels on the legs) then I could give it a shot. However, I think it deserves better. Usually, if I put my mind to something I can pull it off but being that the one thing I hate most in the whole world is sewing, well, let's just say I would rather re-roof the house. It was painful for me to even write this and admit it.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 6:15PM
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I'd LOVE to see a pic or two of that settee. If it's armless, is there sewing involved or just stapling? Let's see it! PLEASE?

I'll show you the fabric I decided to use on the Victorian chair. It's an old print called 'Best in Show' and I think I have just enough. I won't do the tufting as it would skew the pattern. I took the gunky old dark finish off the chair today and gave it a coat of low gloss tung oil. The chair is walnut, and the colorway of the fabric is 'Walnut', so I think it's fate! These are just mocked up with the fabric draped over cardboard.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 7:24PM
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Hi, I'm glad you asked! First, please excuse the mess. I have a desk moved out of the area and I have a few projects going on. My husbands family is coming from England so I'm making more seating and sometime in the next year we might put the house up for sale so I want some sort of flow. I sold the sofa in the den area of another room and am putting a desk there. Anyway, here is the settee it's in a little nook area between the living room and the kitchen. There is a baby grand across from it so I laughingly refer to the area as the music room even though it's all in one in a long skinny run.

This is the living area except I do not have the new carpet down yet. I bought the two coral/rust velvet chairs on CL for $35 and they are in brand new perfect condition.

New Carpet

I bought this chenille upholstery fabric on ebay for a very good price. I want to use this on the lower part and seat and the backside against the wall. For the back rest I would like some fabric with a light yellow/cream, coral and a pinch of black and teal. No luck so far. What is your honest opinion (feel free all).

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 8:48PM
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That's pretty fabric!But probably not stretchy enough to avoid the seams. Since the seat curves it will require some sewing,to keep the fullness from being a problem. You don't want puckers or even pleats,lol. When you remove the cover you can use it for your pattern. Looks like it is vinyl right now so you can't just cover over that or your fabric will slip over time.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 9:04PM
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Hi kaij, yes the leather seat has two seams,the leather is in three sections on the seat. If I didn't have to sew so much of it I would give it a try but this is just too much for me. What do you think of my idea's on the backrest area and then use the coral/rust chenille on all the other parts? I just need to find it. Husband is coming around to agreeing this needs to be done by someone with experience. I told him we can't cheap out on everything.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 9:18PM
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Like Kaij said, there is a bit of sewing there, but just straight lines, and what looks like some top stitching, but if you aren't someone who has sewn before, I'd go the Pro route! It looks to be in perfect condition now, although I do LOVE your coral fabric and rug. If you are comfortable sewing, by taking part the loveseat, you'll see how it all went together. You may also need some cardboard tack strip, and some metal 'curve ease' for it.

This is just MY opinion, so don't let it change your mind. For a piece a streamlined as that one is, I would probably use the same fabric all over, even though it has a different seat and back now. That coral fabric is so great, and I would want to also use a chenille fabric on the back, that it might take ages before I found one that blended with the coral.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 8:09AM
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I Have a dining table project going on (sanding and staining) and I am so sorry I started that, BECAUSE reading this thread is making me want to upholster something!

I LOVE, LOVE did I mention I LOVE that Best in Show fabric for that chair!!! WOW it is such a great fabric for a one of a kind chair in your home! GREAT idea! I can't wait till you present it finished!

I have this huge ottoman DH and I share when watching TV. I want to recover it but will wait till I have the Den finished or at least the idea of the colors, I want a zebra (inexpensive, flexible type) patterned rug for the top and then do the bottom in a brown (floor is going to be brown plank tiles) so it won't look too massive in the room. Not sure if that is the final plan, but it is an idea for now.
I keep it covered with a washable throw at the moment.

I am so glad you have a place to put something to go 'get' when you are ready to do a project! My stuff is in my house with me! We only have a one-car garage and DH has that territory marked and guards it with his life! lol

I think I won't have too much trouble doing this ottoman, looks like it will be easy to do with straight lines, it has wheels but it does not work well on carpet, the tile floor will make it easier to move. It has storage and we keep our board and card games in there.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 8:51AM
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picture didn't go on the response above.
Also I wanted to mention the curved seat you got, I like that! I would have it professionally done as well, this will last longer (tight fitting on fabrics) and take a lot of use over the years. I like your home, nice pictures.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 8:54AM
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Sigh. Wish I had learned some rudimentary sewing skills.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 8:59AM
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It's never too late Gsciencechick! Think of the custom things you could do - as simple as your own throw pillows!

Mary Ruth, thanks for liking that Best in Show fabric. I bought it years ago on eBay and am hoping I have just enough for that little chair.

Your ottoman idea sounds GREAT! I quickly looked on eBay this AM for Chenille for jterrilynn, that had the colors she wants in a print, but no luck. There were many auctions for zebra chenille, though.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 10:17AM
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Thank you everyone! Your feedback has inspired me about the fabric,and just at the right time too as I was getting fed up looking for fabric. I have a couple of stupid questions about mixing though. I really love many of the Pinder & Pinder's, they are either 100% cotton 15,000 rub or cotton duck 21,000 double rub. My kids are on their own now so I don't necessarily need heavy duty but in my ignorance about this sort of thing I'm not sure about mixing a cotton or cotton duck on the upper backrest and the chenille (already bought 4 3/4 yds of chenille) on the rest. Would that look stupid? I think all chenille would look nice but there doesn't seem to be any with the colors Im seeking for some contrast on the top.

My second clueless question is...how much fabric should I buy for the backrest? There is a seam down the middle and it does a curved roll under in the back, 62" across and 33" to under the roll in the back. I want a somewhat bold pattern so to play it safe, and to line things up how much should I get?

If mixing cotton or cotton duck wouldn't look silly with the chenille, what do you think of these ideas?



For some reason the chenille changed color slightly when trying to sample it next to the fabrics.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 11:31AM
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If there is not enough fabric, create a frame around it with a color such as the blue, this way you can still use it and there would be a color between the print and the chair as if it were a matting. You can iron on soft interfacing in the back to reinforce the seams.

I will check eBay for those zebra chenille fabrics! Thanks!

Could we be starting a new upholstery gang here? Maybe you ought to start a blog I would follow! You are one of the best DIY'ers around!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 12:16PM
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I THINK there's enough, and after work today, I hope to find out! I have some colors that will coordinate, so Those dogs will be in that chair no matter what.

Maybe YOU should start a blog, Mary Ruth! :-) YOU are the best DIYer, and have a hubby who can help you out, too, Now that I have upholstered ONE thing, I'm really enjoying it. We newbies COULD use a place to congregate!

'tjl', You have great taste in fabric, that's for sure! I have admired that first one for ages, with the tufted bits in it. How much you'd need to for the back would depend on he repeat of the fabric, as you'd want it to match on both sides of the center seam. Just using a solid, you'd need at least 4 yards, more for a repeat pattern.

Are you able to order samples of the fabrics to be sure they blend with your coral? I bought some fabric recently that looked VERY different each time I looked it up on a web site, and I wouldn't dare buy online to go with another fabric, unless I had samples or could return what I bought. That would also allow you to see how they look with other colors, like those in the rug.

Of the three above, to go with your coral, I like the somewhat muted look of #2, but I'd sure want to see a sample first, with the coral!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 12:40PM
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Count me in as a follower on this post and on any future upholstery blog or forum!

It's helping inspire and inform me on tools, materials, and techniques for upholstery. I am not ready to start my own project, yet. But, it's something I really am serious about trying. I have been reading & saving posts as well as viewing videos online and I've purchased a basic book about DIY upholstery.

jterrilynn - I really like that curved seat!


    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 2:00PM
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I found these instructional DVD's. I'm not sure what they are like though. I haven't done an extensive search but in my short look there does not seem to be many reviews to go by. I wish I could find some with favorable reviews to get an idea on the quality before shelling out the dough.

Here is a link that might be useful: upholstery instruction 2 dvd

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 3:03PM
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I would watch youtube! And some of those offer DVD's as well, so you would see some videos first before shelling out dough!
I leaned all I did from youtube and online searches. Plus the motivation to do upholstery with people like my3dogs doing such great work! I mean you get hooked on it because it was always something 'unattainable' upholstered pieces are such a mystery because they are covered up and you can't see what is under the dirty,worn out, ripped, cat chewed existing covering. Once the mystery is gone, you realize how could you ever have been so scared!

If you can copy something you can upholster. I am working my way up to a big piece (so I won't run away 1/2 way through the project) because the pieces I want to redo are ones I already love the shape of and they are in my home already.

A Blog... sounds good, I have one started for keeping information, but having problems with learning curve of Word Press which I wanted to try.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 3:24PM
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I agree with Mary Ruth. I managed, by Googling and watching You Tube videos and reading blogs when I needed help. I'd start there before spending any money on videos. As she said, there are several videos on YouTube put out by professionals.

I'd put my money in a good tack puller, and maybe some other small tools that you'll need, if you decide to do the loveseat on your own. Having the right tools makes a HUGE difference!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 3:58PM
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YES my3dogs,
TOOLS are more important than anything else! And you can post pictures here as you tear out and photograph each step in case you have to stop at some point and you will remember how it all goes back together.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 6:45PM
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Here are just a few photos of pieces that I have reupholstered the last couple of years. Self-taught by blogs, Utube and online videos - it can be so rewarding to do this! I agree with my3dogs, all you need to start is the right tools, a strong grip (to dig, pick and rip out all those hundreds of staples) and motivation.

I would love it if we could share our stories, successes and any tips we learn along the way. I am re-doing our club chairs as we speak - because I bought a new couch this month and the current upholstery on the club chairs is too similar in color to the couch. I bought some red suede like material that I plan to make slipcovers out of, but they will be so precisely fitted that I hope will look more like reupholstered than slips.

It would be great if we could share our successes, any learning videos and any tips that we have learned along the way.
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    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 7:32PM
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SEE? jterrilynn - You've got how many people saying that you can do it. Maybe get something really inexpensive to start with, if the thought of tearing in to that loveseat scares you.

I've been looking for an ottoman to play with, but so far, coming up empty, but that would be a good place to start.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 8:28PM
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The worse part of upholstering is taking the original fabric off. All those tacks, staples, metal strips...give me a headache. Knowing the final result gets me through.

I have upholstered for years, started from trial by error. Thankfully far less error. It can become addictive and the ideas flow with more fabric found which continually adds to the pile of creative dreams.

I do sew and could not be without my walking foot. Also through experience, leather is really easier to sew than fabric. I use a leather sewing needle for my machine for heavy fabrics or layers.

The darn Stanley electric staplers have always given me grief. Not sure why, but my forever electric is from ACE. It takes the same staples and never jammed or shot the ole 2 or 3 at a time. Inexpensive.

A while back I saw instructions for using iron on tape for seams. Never tried it, something told me the long term wouldn't last. But the finished piece shown was beautiful.

Short of listing poster names....your projects are all beautiful.

JT, make sure you take the pieces off without too much damage. Then use these for patterns. If you don't sew, find someone (friend) who does, for the simple lines that need such. Not a professional. No need other than someone who sews.

I love the second fabric pattern, my style, so I'm prejudiced going in this direction. And agree to something simple for your first try. You will be amazed at the ability gained. Bet upholstery skills will be part of you life.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 1:22PM
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Nice to have another chime in! I hope 'JT' is still out there.

I finished my $10 walnut Eastlake chair last night, and agree with emagineer that this stuff is addicting. The huge change you can make in something is so much fun - talk about customizing.

My garage sale find start out like this -

Thru the past weekend I took all the old stuff out and stripped it to the frame, then took off the old finish and put a coat of low gloss tung oil on it. I used my picnic table to work it as this was very messy.

Finished chair. I LOVE the 'old English library' look of it.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 3:34PM
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Hi all, I'm still here. Today the rest of my extra brick pallets I sold were taken away. I have repaired the large gullies from big truck tires; yesterday I sold my old dining chairs and some stools from my game room. Lots of projects going on but I'm a good way through (about half way).
My Coral fabric came yesterday from ebay and it's really a nice quality and color. I'm going to try and get to some fabric stores now that I have cut off a bit of coral for a color match to choose the backrest fabric. The upholstery fabric I posted above, the 2nd one I love, well it's over $100 a yard and I can't find it cheaper anywhere. I like the others that I can afford but the more I look at them the more I think they are not right for the room.
So, to make a long story longer, when I find the rest of my fabric I may give the upholstery a shot if I can get caught up around here and can get it all done before I have a house full of out of country guests. If not, I will learn form other projects as I plan on only buying old well-made used furniture from now on. I'm fed up with the way new stuff is made.
Thank you musicteacher, Kaij, clblakey, maryruth, nanny2a, ratherbe, Macy, and Laurie for the advice and words of encouragement!
A special thanks to Nanny and my3dogs, I LOVE looking at your talent!!!

I will come back to this thread and post a picture of the finished settee.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 8:34PM
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Yikes, I forgot to thank you too emagineer!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 8:37PM
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Circus Peanut

I'm late to the discussion, but I do a lot of home upholstery and couldn't live without my Maestri electric staple gun. It's a lot stronger than the Arrow one and you can use deeper staples.

Here is a link that might be useful: Maestri tacker

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 10:20PM
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Circus Peanut

Oooh ooh and I forgot about my other absolutely indispensable tool: a nail extractor. It works on nails, screws and those gawdawful old staples that break in half and leave one leg in the wood, mocking you, when you're stripping a piece.

Seriously, you will have to buy two, lest you risk divorce when your better half gets wind of how great this tool is and tries to steal it to work on their own projects. I speak from experience.

Here is a link that might be useful: Jefferson Nail Extractor

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 10:28PM
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Jterrilyn, I would go to your library and check out as many upholstery books as you can. That's what I did and it really helps take the mystery out of upholstering. I'm reupholstering my sectional at the moment (big time consuming job with lots of sewing involved) but I was terrified of tackling it and reading some books gave me the confidence and basic knowledge to give it a go. The curved sofa looks like it only has a few straight seams to it and as someone mentioned above, you can take the leather off, unpick the seams and use the pieces as a template for cutting out your fabric.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 3:09AM
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emagineer - You mention that your favorite electric stapler is from Ace. Do you know what brand it is?

my3dogs - The transformation on your walnut chair is AMAZING!
I love the whimsical dog & book fabric and the special added touch of the brads or decorative tacks all around the edges.
I also like what you did to the wood part of the chair.

circuspeanut - it's nice to get specific brand names of tools you like. Definitely going to refer back to this post when my turn comes to attempt upholstery.


    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 7:48PM
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Circuspeanut, that Jefferson nail extractor is a must have. I didn't know about that little gadget but now that I do I want one. I know you're real busy right now but I'm sure everyone would love to see some of your upholstery pieces.

Trance, I have been giving this upholstery thing a lot of thought and think the library dvd's might be a good addition to learning besides the youtube & internet reading. I'm also thinking of asking husband if he would be interested in learning together. He is better at sewing than I am. In fact, I hated sewing so much that I taught my boys to mend their own stuff when they were little. We don't have male/female jobs in the family. I would rather be outdoors doing yard work than inside doing laundry and husband doesn't mind doing the laundry. If not for the sewing part of the settee I wouldn't have the slightest doubt of doing the upholstery. However, if you all knew just how pathetic I am with anything to do with a needle and thread you would understand my reluctance.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 8:19PM
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I want to try the nail tool also. Thanks for sharing.

The ACE electric stapler...had to go look at it since I've had it forever. It is marked True Value, haven't seen this store in a long time or thought about them. They still exist and thought they were part of ACE. Nice to see nothing marked China on it, probably why it works so well and has lasted so long.

Looked at TV site and they have an almost identical stapler to mine that is an arrow. Interesting since my Arrow looks nothing like this. Both can use brads or staples.

I also saw a great tool on Rockler's site for setting brass trim tacks. Keeps them in line and even.

Here is a link that might be useful: Stapler like mine

    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 9:16PM
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"However, if you all knew just how pathetic I am with anything to do with a needle and thread you would understand my reluctance. "

oh no all you need is a sewing machine to join the pieces together, it's easy peasy so don't be frightened of that part. Sewing your own soft furnishings etc is so rewarding, it's totally different to mending or sewing clothes which I find a bit mundane as well :)

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 12:28AM
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I'm so glad that stapler works for you! I always check reviews before buying, and the customers at Amazon gave it 1 star. I would have paid a LOT more for my Arrow ET155 with depth gauge, but a seller had it mis-priced on Amazon at $22. List price is $220. I emailed him asking if the price was correct, got no reply, so bought it. He honored his mistake, but then marked up his other one, which has now sold.

But Amazon is selling ONE in 'used - like new' condition for $74.46 with free shipping. I have linked it below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Arrow Fastener ET155 ProShot 3 Electric Heavy Duty Staple Gun

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 8:48AM
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Thank you for the info about the Ace electric stapler ($31.99). I have an Ace Hardware store nearby so that is convenient.

The Arrow Fastener ET155 ProShot 3 at Amazon ($220 new, $74.46 used) as well as the Maestri ($167.14) are also good options to know about.

Some of the posters who have access to an air compressor and a pneumatic (air tool) staple gun say that they would not want to go back to using an electric staple gun.
I've never used either electric or pneumatic, so would not know the difference.

I'll need to weigh the pros & cons including prices. I also have limited storage space in my home & garage, so will need to look into how bulky an air compressor is for storage. I glanced at Home Depot's site for "portable air compressors" and linked it below. Anyone who has one of these compressors?...which one?

Items I need upholstered: 2 full size sofas, 1 small sofa, a wing back chair, and another chair that's not wing back but has a fabric seat & back. Do you think I could get by with an electric staple gun as opposed to a pneumatic staple gun and air compressor?


Here is a link that might be useful: Home Depot Portable Compressors

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 12:18PM
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An air compressor van be used for many other pneumatic tools, so is good to have, if you have the room. Many people have a 50 ft air hose, so they can keep the compressor in the garage while working in their home.

I asked a 'real' designer cyber friend in WA state what she uses. She uses a Duo Fast electric that she 'borrowed' from her hubby years ago and never gave back. She is the one who got me off the air powered one and on the search for an electric. The air powered ones are inexpensive, but then you have to have the compressor, maybe a long air hose, and they are somewhat loud and fast. I think a pro would use nothing but an air gun, but for me, that Arrow is sweet. I'm on my third project, and have had no issues.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 12:31PM
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My3dogs...the stapler shown isn't the same as mine. Just looks a bit like it shape wise. Mine is an old TrueValue. It is still going strong, hopefully last longer than I do.

Have never had good use of Arrows. And at this point no reason to change. But the many posters showing new options is great. Tools have come a long way, I love tools.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 3:34PM
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"Do you think I could get by with an electric staple gun as opposed to a pneumatic staple gun and air compressor? Laurie"

You can definitely get away with using an electric gun, the pros would use an air gun with compressor just for the speed and power of it but with home upholstery a electric is fine IMO. I use a stanley and someone mentioned above about having to pound in staples afterwards with their electric. What I've found with mine is that if I'm stapling into hard wood the gun will kick back when I don't have enough pressure on it, and since I don't have particularly strong arms, what I do is line up the fabric, put the gun to it and then take my free hand to push down on the front of the stapler to hold it while I pull the trigger and the staples go in properly to the denser wood. My husband has no trouble using it one handed so I find that's the only issue just because I'm a bit of weakling lol but maybe some of the other electric guns are a bit more powerful

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 3:33AM
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my3dogs, emagineer, & trancegemini_wa -
Thank you for letting me know that I can get by just fine with an electric staple gun.

I am reading reviews online and find that most of the ones in the $30 - $40 range are getting 2 out of 5 stars. Some comments include "works fine up to about 1000 staples, fine for softer wood, jams up".

Because I have a few large projects (sofas) to do, I am leaning toward the Arrow ET155 Pro Shot 3 ($220 new)...which my3dogs got for $22...what a deal!
Also, looking at the Maestri 71 series ($167.14) that circuspeanut uses.

It's so nice to have all of you out there who give feedback and helpful advice! It's also fun to see pics of your projects like my3dogs, nanny2a and mary_ruth : )
jterrilynn - keep us posted on your fabric choices and your projects!


Here is a site I came across when searching staple guns.
Some neat tools and videos.

Here is a link that might be useful: Double Rock Upholstery Studio

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 3:15PM
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That's a great site, Laurie! That ottoman plan and hole cutter for tufting is interesting. My birthday is coming up in August and I think my family will be surprised at the things I'd like to have!

I'd probably go for the Arrow ET155 Pro Shot 3 that Amazon has for $74.46 in used - like new condition with free shipping, if you decide to get that one model. If you get it new, I see that Newegg.com has it for 148.99. Link below

I'm so glad that this post is still alive and getting people on it. I think there is probably a lot of hidden talent on the board waiting to be exposed.

I'm working on my 3rd chair 'victim' and already eying a 4th.

Here is a link that might be useful: Arrow Fastener ET155 ET155� ProShot 3 Narrow Crown Staple Gun

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 4:40PM
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Thank you for that link to a lower price on the (new) Arrow ET Pro Shot 3!! I hesitate (but should not rule out) buying a used tool even though it may be in great condition. I appreciate all of these options!

Would love to see your 3rd chair : )

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 5:03PM
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"I hesitate (but should not rule out) buying a used tool even though it may be in great condition."

I tend to feel the same way laurie just because you don't know if tools have been taken care of or treated rough/dropped etc. But when you compare the price of upholstery to buying some tools, the savings are so huge that I would just go ahead and buy new, but that's just me. By the way, both the Maestri and the Arrow both at least look more robust than my stanley, I don't know where the arrow is made but the Maestri is made in Italy and I do like Italian made stuff because I've always found it to be good quality.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 12:44AM
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