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The HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts


Coach trimming


The upholstery and fitting of automobile and carriage interiors in a range of materials.

This craft uses products derived from animals – please read our ethical sourcing statement.


Status Endangered
Historic area of significance Midlands
Area currently practised UK
Origin in the UK 17th century
Current no. of professionals (main income) 11-20  estimated
Current no. of professionals (sideline to main income)
Included in numbers above
Current no. of trainees Not known – there are around 500 students studying with the Association of Master Upholsterers who could potentially go on to be coach trimmers.
Current total no. serious amateur makers
Current total no. of leisure makers



Originally coach trimming involved upholstering the interiors of horse drawn carriages then, as the carriages gained motors and evolved into the motor car, so the trade followed suit.

Today coach trimming is used for vintage and modern classic cars.

Auto-trimming is the term used for contemporary car interiors and, although some materials such as leather and vinyl may be similar, the techniques used are different.



  • Upholstery
    • Fluting, stuffed fluting
    • Deep buttoning
    • Use of traditional materials in stuffing such as cotton wadding, as opposed to foam
    • Fixings and fastenings – e.g. tacks and gimp pins rather than glues and staples.
  • Woodwork
  • Leatherwork


Local forms




Allied crafts:


Issues affecting the viability of the craft

  • Skills issues: There are a lack of training opportunities for traditional skills and the older generation not passing on skills or technique.
  • There is no main organisation or trade organisation.
  • There is no government recognition for the trade.


Support organisations

The Association of Master Upholsterers


Craftspeople currently known

Coach trimmers specialising in classic car interiors:


Other information




  • Taylor, Don, Automotive Upholstery Handbook
  • Mattson, Fred, Automotive Upholstery and Interior Restoration
  • Taylor, Don, and Mangus, Rod, Custom Auto Interiors
  • Caldwell, Bruce, Auto Upholstery & Interiors: A Do-it-yourself Basic Guide