Review: Spruce: A Step-by-Step Guide to Upholstery and Design ~ Amanda Brown

SpruceThis is the only book you’ll need to learn the craft and art of upholstery from start to finish. With clear instructions illustrated by more than 900 step-by-step photographs, the five projects included here are designed to teach all of the techniques and skills you need to reupholster any piece of furniture to suit your own taste and style.

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I am very much into upcycling and recycling old furniture as a way to reducing my carbon footprint, so when I was given the opportunity to review this book I jumped at the chance, thinking I would be now able to take on bigger projects and expand from the usual tables, bookcases etc., that I normally do.

The cover for this book is bright and colourful, and held at lot of promises as to what I might find within its pages, but it didn’t keep those promises.  Firstly I looked for the easiest project, in my mind, in the index which was an ottoman; again I was wrong, this was not going to be the easy to follow guide I imagined it to be.

For the experienced or intermediate upholsterer, this book is ideal and will help you take your skills to a top-notch level, but for beginners it will make you feel that all your successes up to this point have been failures, and this is not a feeling a book that describes itself as ‘the only book you’ll need to learn the craft and art of upholstery from start to finish’ should project.  Yes, the step by step instructions and accompanying photographs are very clear and detailed, but it isn’t until you read the list of required tools at the end of the book that you realise this is not for those wanting to learn the basics.

I felt that the ‘tool recommendations’ would have been better placed at the beginning of the book, along with some upholstery techniques that the reader would need to be familiar with before trying to start on these projects.  Also it needs to state that these are projects that may be best carried out in a workshop and away from inquisitive tiny hands due to the tools used, and that the materials suggested may turn out to be expensive for those on a limited budget.

I did enjoy looking at this book imagining myself doing these kinds of projects, and I do commend the Author for her skill in this area.  With this in mind I would recommend this book to anyone with more than a basic knowledge of upholstery, and who may be looking to take it to the next level with the intent of turning a hobby into a business.  Unfortunately this was not the book I was hoping it would be.