UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE PRODUCTION:PART II©:

If you prefer to begin with THE STORY OF FURNITURE, click on:
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I visited two celebrated upholstery factories in the U. S. and one in Italy:
each fastidious in their choice of raw materials and production methods for upholstered chairs and sofas.

Their collective standards of excellence provide the criteria necessary
to judge the quality of upholstered furniture at any price.

frames for chairs for blog

Each frame is a non-splitting hard wood of one species.

After components are joined with mortise and tenon, frames are ready for the suspension system: strips of jute webbing are tacked to the frame and stretched, tightly woven and stitched to provide a firm, flexible foundation for springs.

blog for webbing xx

Steel coils are placed by a springs specialist—to fill the entire seating area.
The size and gauge of the coils is varied to support stress; heavy coils are densely packed and positioned under the knees and along exterior edges.

blog springs for sofa p

Spring coils are sewn to the tightly woven burlap base and the process is repeated for the back of chairs and sofas as well as upholstered arms.

blog spring story

Springs are compressed and 8-way tied so their original
tension and shape is retained throughout use. 

blog xxxxfor springs

 Hand-knotting allows differentiation in stability and pressure.

blog of burlap on chair

Burlap, placed over the 8-way hand-tied coiled springs,
is tacked down as a foundation for fillings.

Every layer of filling, whether foamed plastic—animal hair or whatever the specifications require —is covered with flannel or muslin—to prevent filling from shifting. This ‘unseen’ covering is sewn as carefully as if it were upholstery fabric.

STUFFINGS FOR UPHOLSTERY FOR BLOG

Flying fingers reveal the sensitivity of a craftsman’s touch as he judges the amount of filling for a chair and then sews a second covering of burlap over the filling.

FILLINGS FOR UPHOLSTRY

Frames must never be felt through fillings.

EDGE ROLL:

Edge roll for blog x

A craftsman rhythmically moves a magnetized hammer to
his lips to retrieve an upholsterers’ tack clenched between his teeth.

An edge roll, (a heavy coil of fiber) is attached to the front edge of the wooden seat rail to add strength where body pressure is applied when changing from a sitting to a standing position.

Edge rolls eliminate gaps beneath cushion. It also raises the appearance of the base of the sofa. Edge rolls are stationary (not connected to the spring action) and covered with muslin for a firm application.

CUSHIONS:

dOWN FILLINGS FOR BLOG XX

Cambric covers are sewn to encase
specified fillings for seat and back cushions.

Above, light and fluffy goose down is stuffed into cambric covers.

PADDING FOR UPHOLSTERY FOR BLOG

Here, a dacron polyester fiberfill is the final padding
tacked and sewn to provide a soft hand beneath the upholstery fabri
c.

COTTON WELTING

welting cord for blog
Upholstery fabric is cut from a pattern and usually lined to impart body and combat stretchingIf welting is specified, soft cotton cord  (never plastic) is covered with bias-cut upholstery fabric and sewn into the seams.

Sewing upholstery to chair blog
Upholstery covering is both hand-tacked and hand-sewn by master craftsmen.

TUFTING:

 To create real tufting, craftsmen must pull cords from a button on the front of a sofa through to the back where each cord is secured.quality tufting for blog

Physical force is necessary to pull heavy cords from front to back.
       blog tufting
In a ” SOFA VS. CRAFTSMAN” battle.  The craftsman won!

 Tufting on less costly furniture may be only an ‘appearance of tufting’,
achieved by inserting a pronged button— known to fall out in time.

The final step for good quality upholstery is a cambric dust cover— tacked to the bottom of chairs and sofas to prevent dust moving up and into the webbing and springs.  

Production of good quality upholstered furniture
is
 undeniably very labor and capital intensive. 

Pat Breen: EYEWITNESS TO QUALITY

My next post: JUDGING THE QUALITY OF UPHOLSTERY