Performance & Hotrod Business - January '15

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January 2015 n Performance & Hotrod Business n 73 might have additional suggestions, so let me know what you use that might be helpful. Threads & Bobbins Now let's hit on some supplies that I feel every trimmer should keep on hand. First, let's look at the sewing machine. Of course the most likely supply need for the sewing machine is thread. There are many different threads used in the trim industry; the most common are synthetic fibers or manmade threads such as rayon, nylon and polyester. I prefer nylon thread in automobiles because it is strong and very abrasion- resistant. But be careful: though this works great in automobiles, it will not be your best bet if you are working on outdoor seating or boats because it has very little UV light resistance qualities and will fade. If you need thread for that type of instal- lation you should use a polyester thread, which is your best bet for applications that will be in direct sunlight. Thread comes in spools and they come in different sizes including 4-ounce, 8-ounce and 16-ounce spools, with 8-ounce being the most popular and hav- ing the greatest variety of colors. The other item needed for your sewing machine will be thread for your bobbin. If your machine is equipped to, you can wind your own bobbins, which is great; if not, you can purchase pre-wound bobbins. The type of sewing machine you have will determine the type of bobbin you need. Bobbins come in A, G, J and M sizes. Foam Now some other supplies you might keep on hand are different types of foam. I prefer backed foam—or scrim foam, as it is commonly referred to—for sewing, because the bobbin thread is held intact. It comes in a variety of thicknesses from 1/8-inch to 1/2-inch. I like 1/2-inch, and it is the most commonly used size in auto- motive seating. You can purchase scrim by the yard but it is less expensive if you buy it by yardages. Scrim foam also comes in 60-inch widths. Foam comes in a variety of thick- ness and foam densities. Foam density is commonly confused with foam firmness. Density is the weight of the foam; the most common used in automotive applications is 1 to 3 pounds. Foam is also graded on its ability to resist compression, which is measured as Indentation Force Deflection (IFD). Keep in mind that it will take more force to compress a 4-inch piece of foam 25 per- cent than it will a 1-inch piece of foam 25 percent. For comparison, general upholstery foam has an IFD ranging from 15-60 and heavier foams used for stools and benches have an IFD that ranges between 60-150. This might be more information than you think you need to know, but it is impor- tant that you have an understanding of this so you select that right type of foam for your application and consider what you would like to keep in stock. Another common item that I like to keep in stock is jute padding for carpet installation. It comes in weights of both 20- and 40-ounce; the application of each is determined by the job and where you will be using it. Basic Items Some other basic items you will want to keep in stock are a variety of trim screws, fasteners—which come in many sizes—along with basic trim clips for panel installation. Spring twines, different trim adhesives, welt cording for seats, webbing, wind lace, wire-on, Hidem banding, tack strips, hog ring snaps, zippers and grom- mets are also important inventory items. The basic list I have provided is large but necessary. I could write about each and give a better description of each, but I think you understand the general need for these items. As you start working in the industry you will become very accustomed to these items and many others that I have not addressed here. I just wanted to give you a brief overview in this article to get you familiar with many of the items you will need and to know the lingo. In my next article I will touch on the different materials needed and used, their names and the applications of each. I will also start to touch on more specifics of automotive upholstery, so stay tuned! Harry Weimann is the Director of Operations at WyoTech Blairsville in Blairsville, Pa. He has been in the trim industry since 1980. In 1986, he and his wife established Delmont, Pa.-based Weimann's Interiors, which is now owned and operated by his son Jeff. He can be reached at

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