Thursday, March 4, 2010

What's My Time Worth? Is DIY really the way to go?...

It's been a while since I've updated you on my upholstery class and chair status.

For the last week I've been feeling really deflated. I've been trying to figure out what my time is worth. I spend a lot of time looking for the deals. I spend a lot of time trying to figure out how I'll rework them once I find them. Then I spend a lot of time actually doing the work.

So, I've been asking myself the question: Is it worth it to do it myself?

After six classes this is as far as I've gotten.
The teacher said I'm not going to finish before the class is over.

There are soooo many layers and components in a chair-- who knew?
7 more layers from this stage

This was all brought about after a frustrating day in upholstery class. It turns out that I've invested A LOT of money in learning how to upholster a chair (although I'm not even half-way done yet and it looks like my chair has some deterioration that compromises it's structural stability). I can't even get into my office because I bought the materials like fiber filling, cotton batting and jute in bulk. The box of fiber alone is the size of a dinner table- no joke. The staple gun cost $225 and then the staples cost another $17. Then it turns out I have to buy another size of staples for the next stage. Then there is the fabric. But the biggest question of all is, will I do it well?
This is what fiber filling looks like.
It's way better than foam, and not as expensive
as horse hair (which is the ultimate filler).

While I was tying the springs last week a shopper from the store walked in and said, "wow, that's the hardest thing in the world to do!" I responded, "really, this is the hardest thing, I guess I should have looked into being a brain surgeon instead--more money there:)"

Instead of working on a project yesterday I was looking for some inspiration and retail therapy, so I popped into Crate and Barrel. Instead of sinking further into my furniture funk, I felt revitalized. When I felt the back of one of their chairs I could tell, it wasn't well made. It was not padded enough, the fabric was already showing signs of wear because of it.

So I'm back in the game. You didn't even know I ever left it did you?

Since originally drafting this post, I picked up another chair that needs to be completely redone springs and all and I'm gluing a part of the broken frame now-- these old chairs just kind of call out to me. You can't really tell what you're dealing with until you take them apart unfortunately. By that time, I'm invested and want to finish it.

I knew learning and doing upholstery would be hard work but I'm having fun. The up side is that once the tools are paid for, the cost per chair will go down and I'll get better so it won't take so long. I also have to remember that I picked the hardest possible chair to learn on. From now on, I'll avoid the ones that have to be stripped down to the frame. Then rebuilt from the springs up.

Or not, since now I have a total of three chairs stripped down to their frames and not one completed yet with only two classes left. I might have to register for another session...

But that's not going to happen now that the sun is shining. Soon I'll be writing posts about my garden, pond/fountain project and entertaining outside.

Thanks for checking in with me today!


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