December '16

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DECEMBER 2016 THE SHOP 77 RESTYLING/AFTERMARKET ACCESSORIES On a personal note, interviewing Weaver has been a highlight for my team and me at The Hog Ring. In fact, he was one of the few master trimmers I had in mind while devel- oping the idea for our 10 Questions series. His participation is indeed an honor. The Hog Ring: It's always interesting to read how a master trimmer got into the field and learned the craft. Why did you choose auto upholster y and where did you receive your training? Tracy Weaver: I kind of fell into this trade. I was always interested in art and cars, so it worked out to be a good match. Back in the mid-'80s I went to work at a van conversion and custom truck shop that built anything a customer wanted from the inside to the outside. I started to spend more time in the interior area filling in because of the designs I was coming up with at that time. When a friend of mine told me of an upholstery shop that was looking for help, I went and talked to the owner about wanting to learn more about the trade and he hired me. I started out doing the basic cut and sew work to learn how to use a sewing machine. After several years, I found that I was getting better with all the custom jobs that people would bring to the shop to do on any odd project—including boats, motorhomes, planes and cars. When the owner of that shop sold the business to one of the long-time managers, I moved on to open my own place in 1991. Since I was the one people began to know as the custom guy, I had work from the very start. I started to do street rods and custom interiors on a regular basis, along with other types of work. As the business grew, I hired more employees. About 15 years ago I went full-time on just custom work only and kept one of my best guys. I have never looked back with any regret on the decision It turned out to be a good one. I have won every interior award I could want and been part of a lot of major car builds that went on to win some very good awards: Ridler, AMBR, most of the "of-the-year-awards" for Good- guys several times and have been lucky to meet some great people along the way. THR: There are lots of risks involved in making the jump from trim repair to specializing solely in custom designs. How did you do it and what advice can you offer trimmers interested in doing the same? TW: Making the jump to custom work full time is a big risk, but I was already established in the custom car world when I did it. I always made sure that we did the best we could do. You have to be willing to work hard and put in the hours to do it. My best advice it to come up with your own look and style of build, and stick with it. THR: It's obvious that you invest a lot of time and effort in the interiors you design. How do you also find time to manage the business aspects of running a successful trim shop? TW: That's tough, but we only work on about 15 to 18 cars a year, so paperwork is kept to a minimum. THR: How many employees does Recovery Room Hot Rod Interiors have and how are the shop's responsibilities divided among them? Crafting award-winning hot rod interiors is more than just sewing upholstery; it's a multidiscipline trade. What skills beyond upholstery has your team had to learn to fabricate complete interiors from scratch? Tracy Weaver of Recovery Room Hot Rod Interiors is a trendsetter in the field of automotive upholstery, whose designs have in- spired both car enthu- siasts and builders alike. Tracy Weaver's interpretation of a Corvette interior, built at Lakeside Rods and Rides.

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