Glossary of Upholstery Tools

Glossary of Upholstery Tools

Air compressor

A machine to store pressurised air for using pneumatic tools, such as an airgun stapler and blower.

Air gun stapler

A pneumatic stapler with a fine wire staple, used for securing fabrics, linings and foams to wood. The air pressure can be adjusted. 

Curved needles

Semi-circular "C" shaped needles used for hidden stitching, attaching springs etc. 

Diagonal Pliers

Used for removing staples and tacks. Best is the points are thin, and the blades are blunt. 

Double ended needle

Used for blind stitching, edge stitching, tufing and buttoning. Is very sharp with points at both ends. 

Dressmakers pins

Smaller than T-pins, these are short, sharp pins for attaching light to medium weight fabric. 

Dressmakers tape

A long flexible measuring tape using 1.5m to 3m long. 

Hot glue gun

Used for attaching decorative gimp braid and trim. 


A variety of knives is handy for upholstery work especially when stripping off old fabric, including craft knife, scalpel blades. 

Long ruler

A long metal or wooden ruler at least 1m long, used for drawing straight lines on fabrics, foam and linings.


A wide headed hammer made from either a rubber, nylon, wooden or skin.

Mattress needle

A long single ended needed used for sewing through thick stuffings or installing buttons. 

Measuring tape

A metal retractable measuring tape used for general measuring of frames, foam and fabrics.

Regulator needle

Used for regulating and manipulating stuffings, holding corners, folding pleats, using flexible metal tack strip etc.

Ripping Chisel

A flat headed chisel used with a mallet for removing old tacks.


Upholsterers will use severall different types of scissors. Fabric shears for cutting material fabric, long bladed scissors for hessian, linings etc, short sharp trimmers for small trimming and release cuts. 

Seam ripper

A tool for unpicking threads on sewn seams.

Sewing machine

Used for sewing seams, covers, piping, cushions. 

Space setter

A plastic paddle shaped tool used to hold and evenly space decorative nails.

Square ruler

An "L" shaped ruler used for squaring up fabric when cutting out.

Staple remover

A special staple removing tool with a clamp for holding onto the staple

Tack remover

Used with or without a mallet for removing old tacks and decorative nails.

Tack hammer

Has a magnetic end for placing tacks into position.


Skewers used for holding linings and fabric in place. 

Webbing stretcher

A tool for stretching jute webbing when installing. 


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