Can a Client Provide Some of the Supplies?

 Theorically I would have no problem with a client supplying some of the supplies in doing their work. But, there are some strong considerations.

Sometimes, in order to save cost, a client may want to supply some of the materials, supplies, or lumber for their upholstery project. Theorectically that would be a possibility because it would save us the time and expense to go out and get the supplies. But there is more to getting the supplies that just "running to the store to get it." We need the correct quality materials for the job. Often times the supplies or materials sold by the local stores are of a consumer quality, not a professional quality. For example, let's look at polyfoam. Foam sold in local store is usually 1 lb to 2 lb. Professional quality foam is usually 2.2 lb to 3 lb.

Some of the supplies we do buy from local hardware or lumber stores. But the supplies are chosen for the use that is specific to each client's furniture.

In other cases, great care is needed to pick out the appropriate pieces. For example, let's look at lumber. While much of the lumber in stores is straight, a fair amount of the lumber sold in lumber yards or hardware stores is bent or twisted, or has knots in it that weaken the lumber.

Again, theoretically  I wouldn't mind a client supply the lumber to repair or alter their furniture, providing it is quality wood and useable for the project. As long as the wood is acceptable, that shouldn’t  be a problem.

Just a note, here is some guidance for picking out lumber for upholstery projects:

  • The wood used is often alder, popular, or maple. While you want hardwood, don't get wood that is too hard that may split or that may make it hard to staple into the wood.
  • Carefully inspect each piece to make sure that it is straight (by sighting it off from the end or laying it on a flat floor to make sure lays perfectly flat and that it’s not twisted or bent.
  • Make sure the wood has no large knots in any places that would affect the strength.
  • Make sure that all the edges of the wood are solid and straight.
  • Plan ahead and measure all the lengths of wood needed to do the job. Then get the appropriate lengths of lumber that will cut appropriately into the needed lengths.
  • Buy more wood than you think is needed for the project. Sometimes some of the wood is not useable or may have defects in parts of it. Sometimes mistakes or ommisions were made to the list. When the turniture is taken apart, more wood may be needed than was first figured. Purchasing what seems like extra lumber is often less expensive that making another trip to get more lumber.

Theoretically I would have no problem when a client provides some of the supplies, if the client has enough knowledge to chose and get the proper lumber and/or supplies and THINKS about what he is doing, asking appropriate questions. However, most clients don’t have the skills, knowledge, or sources to provide appropriate and quality supplies.

Also read: When someone else does part of the work.