Substitution Theory - Finding Replacement Parts
Upholsterers often have challenges in repair/reupholstering furniture that was made recently as well as those made years ago. When the original manufacturers made each piece of furniture, they had specific fabrics, parts and supplies that were available to them. Sometimes they used whatever parts and supplies were used widely and readily available. In some case they had parts or supplies manufactured specifically for use on certain pieces of furniture. Over the years, since the furniture was built, the suppliers for parts and supplies haved change what they have available, or they have went out of business. Even the part that was made recently might not be available to upholsterers.
By the time the owner of the furniture bring sofa or chair to the upholsterer, the specific fabrics, parts, or supplies used in the furniture may no longer be available, or may be very scarce and hard to find. That leaves the upholsterer to find and use whatever is available. Sometimes he repairs the part or finds some other type of part that will do that same job. Often times upholsterers have to be resourceful and creative to find whatever will work for the job.
Upholstery supply companies have some generic parts of the most commonly uses, but not parts that were only used in very specific furniture types. Often times substitutions are available to fit a similar use, but the parts themselves are much different than what on the furniture.
Upholsterers have to often "think outside the box", meaning: some people get it stuck in their head that there is only one way to do something. This type of thinking can hinder an upholsterer from seeing all the other possible solutions that are possible.