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scott12180

Cost of a Leather Upholstery job

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I wonder if anyone can give me a ballpark figure for what it would cost to have a medium-sized brass-era 5-passenger Touring car upholstered in leather. I'm looking for a job done right by someone who knows his craft, to do an authentic job with horsehair stuffing, etc.

Anyone have this done lately?

$2000? $5000? $10,000?

I've really no idea these days.

And can anyone recommend a shop to do it in the New England or northeast region?

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Talk to David Coco (trimacar on this forum). I know that he specializes in the teens and 20s cars. He did most of my 1923 McLaughlin after several trimmers attempted it and either gave up or botched the job. David is in Winchester, VA.

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Pleated seats or button tufted? What condition are springs? Do you have original material as a guide for correctness? What make car? Front doors or not?

I could give you a rough number based on that information.

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Can you even get horsehair as an upholstery material today?

I had my 1918 Buick 6-45 touring reupholstered in leather about 2 years ago. Fortunately the horsehair was reusable, springs were perfect, etc. The cost was around $12k. I know others who have spent near $20K for the same job.

Kind of - how big is a fish? There are a lot of variables

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Yes, you can buy "curled horsehair", it's a mix with some pig's hair thrown in, but it serves the same purpose. Last sack of it I bought was $18 a pound, probably a little more now.

I'm retired from an Engineering life, and do the upholstery as a hobby and to keep in touch with people (one thing rarely discussed about retirement, I was in contact with 100 or more people every day at work, retire, and all that interaction goes away). I can thus work for a little less than someone making a living at it.

12K is not unreasonable. Leather runs $300-$500 per hide, depending on where you get it (yes, I know you can buy cheaper, but in the long run you end up using more because of low quality and defects in the hide). A large Buick touring would take at least 6 hides, so you can do the math. If I did the job, with good padding and good springs to start, maybe 6000 to 8000 in labor for a touring, for simple seats, door panels, carpet, and all (not the top). Button tufting would be more.

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Horsehair can be reused. Old time upholsterers had a machine to fluff it up. It gets packed down over the years but it can be made as good as new.

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Trimacar, now that you mention it, the upholsterer did mention the availability of pigs hair. I was a bit shocked at the leather cost and it did take 6 hides.

The car is basically unrestored, but painted in the 50's and still looks pretty good. I've had it since 1967 and paid almost nothing for it, so I felt dumping that much money into the car would be OK and we would then use it more (the original upholstery was just falling apart).

That era car really isnt worth much.

Through the years I have done everything myself to the cars I have restored - except upholstery and plating (even pouring and machining bearings). I felt upholstery was just to daunting a task - my hat is off to you.

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Yes, horsehair is forever, and in some situations can be reused.

Sometimes, though, when you remove an original pad of horsehair, lay it on the table, and watch the little bugs and mites crawling out of the hair and across the table, you realize it's time to move on to new hair.

You can look around and get decent leather for $5 to $6 a square foot. I've spent as much as $12 a square foot for a "cost is no object" project.....

Trim work is easy, just takes a little training, knowing a few tricks, and tons of patience. Sometimes it's amazing how little one can get done in a day......but be working solid the whole time!

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