Spitting Upholstery Tacks
Many years ago upholstery tacks were the only way of attaching fabric to the upholstery frame. The upholsterer would use a tack hammer with a magnetic end to put the tacks on.
He would place them in his month and put them on the magnetic end of the hammer, from which the saying spitting tacks came from. The other side of the hammer, a larger end, was to drive the tacks in. If you try this do not sneeze or cough. It could be dangerous. They are still used to keep antique pieces authentic.
If you are going to upholsterer an antique piece and the fabric has to be removed the tacks can be taken out with a ripping chisel.
This is a tool made by CS Osbourne that resembles a chisel but is not sharp.
The end of the tool or chisel part is placed under the head of the tacks and the other end is struck with a hammer that forces the tack up and out. These tacks can really fly out so wear a pair of safety glasses
The tacks are number 2-14 with 2 being the smallest and 14 the biggest.
When you wish to purchase upholstery tacks remember that these can be usually purchased by the pound.
How many you will receive per pound depends on the size of the tacks.
The smaller size you will get more tacks the larger less.
The tacks can be purchased at C S Osbourne which has some of the best upholstery tools on the market.
Some of their products include tools for leather, upholstery and industrial. They do not sell directly to the consumer but their tools can be bought through their distributors. All their tools are guaranteed. On the home web site of www.csosborne.com you may request a free catalog, which has many more items in it than on their site, by email , calling or writing. With the catalog they will tell you the closest distributor where you can buy their tools. I have used their products for over 25 years and recommend them highly.
Below is a chart of the actual sizes.
Decorator tacks or nails come in all sizes and shapes.
Leaving upholstery tacks to upholstery supply
Leaving tacks page to upholstery supplies guide