TYPES OF FRAME USED IN UPHOLSTERY

Whilst the outer dressing and ornate style might impress the average customer, the genuine quality of a piece of created furniture is dependent upon the frame. Upholsterers will tell you that this forms the skeleton on which the internal stuffing or padding is formed. Frames are usually a wooden construction, though in more recent times, for reasons of economy metal has replaced wood.

The original frame-maker can be traced back through the ages to the cabinet-maker or chair-maker who made wooden constructed furniture without any padding or comfort features. It is a reasonable assumption that the introduction of stuffing or padding altered the way we think about furniture. It was no longer a simple case of producing something solid to sit on, now the main criteria was comfort. Designs became more luxurious, curves were crafted to conform to the shape of the human body supporting it on either a chair, a settee or a bed. The wooden created frame was, and remains long lasting.

Metal frames are cheaper and more adaptable than their wooden counterpart. These frames are generally built using tubular or pressed steel, with the joints of the frame being welded or riveted together. While metal frames provide strength and durability, they are heavy and cumbersome, therefore reliant upon the quality of the weld or rivet holding the joints together. Ultimately, if a rivet gives way or any weld has a weakness, it will soon fail, causing damage to the infrastructure and potentially to the outer skin covering of the item also. With repair cost being prohibitive it can mean the purchase of a brand new item, or a very expensive repair. The reason repair costs are so high on some metal framed furniture such as a chair or settee is, the cost of stripping down the outer skin and removing stuffing or padding, identifying the fault and repairing it, it is then a process of effectively rebuilding and re-upholstering the item from frame upwards. Time consuming and expensive, and of course the discomfort of not having the item until it is returned from repair.

Wooden or timber frames can also suffer. However, because they wooden and therefore more adaptable, alterations can be carried out during any repair work. Wooden or timber framed furniture is usually built from beech, birch or oak and can also be created from other types of hardwood. The vast majority of wooden frames use dowelling as a mean of connecting the joints. The main foundation and supporting rails have four dowels connecting each joint, and two on less vulnerable joints or areas where less support is required, two or three dowels.

The frame tends to form the shape and contours of the finished piece of upholstery, though many are of a basic design which can be developed in shape and style with the addition of formed timber to transform its appearance.

With frames, the upholsterer has to factor in elements such as the width or thickness of the supporting rails and their purpose, which means stresses and strain the object will receive in daily operation. If they are stress loaded then they must be made of reliable and dependable wood. There are many frames that use wood as part of the exterior decoration, this is referred to as 'show-wood' furniture, therefore the creation and forming of the object calls for accuracy and skill, everyday items such as dining room chairs have to be exact in measurement and appearance.

The main objective of upholstery is to provide immediate comfort to the user. It is imperative that the frame maker takes everything into consideration when forming a frame, if his skills fall short then it will make for an uncomfortable or ill fitting piece of furniture. From the outset of frame creation the maker must take into account matters such as the length of the seat in proportion to the height of the arms, or the angle of the seat back.

As well as foundation timber or rails, items of furniture may have lighter rails which sit above these are used for attaching things such as canvas or cover. They are known as 'tacking' rails because the canvas or cover is usually tacked to these. In frames that possess spring units as an alternative to webbing, and coiled springs will require a lower quantity of 'tacking rails', as does the arm rail. Frame makers will add triangular shaped strengthening blocks that are screwed or glued in place at the angles of each of the main rails.

As with many popular items, fashion in furniture do quickly change, for instance post WWII, houses with limited bedroom space had to have a settee which had 'drop ends' these had double use, and when the arms were dropped it formed a bed. This item was not a favourite of the upholsterer, with a great deal of skill being used to ensure the arms could drop easily without causing damage to the padding/stuffing, lining or out cover. A lot of effort went into upholstering these items which was often reflected in the sale price. Ultimately, the bed-settee served no real purpose in the home other than when it was used by the occasional visitor. The bed-settee no longer exists in that form, having been replaced by the easy to use and more conventional style studio couch which use metal moving parts such as hinges to extend. The frames too are made of metal, normally tubing. Metal is much lighter than wood in these items, easier to handle and open out and form into a bed.

Upholstery Springs and Spring Units

The most efficient and effective way to build a reliable upholstery infrastructure is to use standard coil springs that are made of coppered steel. They are popular with upholstery manufacturers because of their adaptability and reliability. The springs come in varying sizes and dimensions from three inches in height and can be as tall as fourteen inches. The springs like most metals are graded in gauges or which is the thicknesses of the steel. The smaller three to eight inch springs are six gauge, while the bigger, longer springs come in four gauge, these are heavier and more robust and harder as a spring. The lower the gauge number the heavier the spring wire is.

Coil springs or the double-cone spring is egg timer shaped, it has the centre, or waist, narrower than each of the ends. The ends pieces of wire on each spring is knotted to provide a tidier finish to the work. In America, there various option of springing and these are classified as: 'Furniture Springs' which is for seating, 'Pillow Springs' which are used in arms and backs of furniture; 'Cushion Springs' or 'Auto Springs' which are used in car seating. Without doubt, the English method of gauging springs permits a greater degree of judgement on how hard or soft a seat or seat back might be the lower-gauge and stronger springs are generally used for the seating and the smaller lighter springs for the seat/chair arms and backs.

When furniture became mass produced and prefabricated, so the type of spring used was changed, it was then that the complete 'spring unit' was introduced. The unit comes as one piece and forms the entire foundation for the required purpose, seat, arm, back. It is produced in single, double and even triple layers for seat springing. It is formed of a number of single-cone springs which are riveted to a base which is composed of thin steel laths or straps. A wore mesh is fitted on top of the springs and hold them in an upright position, the mesh has a thicker gauge wire around the edge to give additional strength to the seat. Another method of joining up the springs is by metal clips. If it is a double layer then it is normal to have an ordinary coil spring laid over the single cone spring and affixed in the same manner. These metal laths or straps are finally bent over at the front edge so that they can be fixed to the face of the front rail.

Mass produced spring units do have disadvantages. The greatest difference between these and a hand sprung item. The individual coil spring is carefully laced together so that when it takes the weight of a body it initially sinks the spring will then revert to an upright position. Whereas the spring unit does the opposite, it initially accepts the weight when it is applied to it, however, because a wire mesh sits on top of the springs and effectively binds them together, the springs with the direct weight placed upon them sink, those around them are pulled back into an upright position. Eventually, over time the spring units will buckle. A further issue with spring units is their tendency to squeak, as the bottom layer of springs makes contact with the metal webbing. Although annoying, it can be prevented by stuffing more webbing or felt between the offending coils.

Further examples of spring units are the cushion unit and the spring-interior mattress unit. The springs used are three inches in diameter and are clipped together. With the unit being so flexible it can be made up into any required size in multiples of three inches. In both of these items, the spring unit is best placed to serve the customer, since the weight is spread over a greater size with a mattress, (which is generally pocketed with calico) therefore the tension and stress on the unit is not as concentrated, likewise with a cushion.

Cable springs offer another option to the upholsterer as does tension webbing. Cable springs are, as their name suggests, made in the style of a cable. They can measure anything from four inches in diameter up to eight inches, with their gauges size ranging from fourteen to eighteen. The cable springing is affixed to the side rails of the piece of furniture, be it a chair or a settee. The rails are rebated or will have had defined grooves cut into them to accept the spring fixing as necessary. A grooves side rail will accept the hook of the cable spring, inserting it into the groove and securing by a nail being driven from the top of the rail, ensuring that it passes through the hook and the groove. Another option is the use of pre-drilled metal plates with holes, these are fixed onto the rebated edge of the rail. If the tape method is adopted, it possesses eyelets within the body of the tape and is attached to the rail using small nails tapped in around the eyelet. The cable spring hooks can then be attached, with the top tape covering the entire fixing.

Tension webbing measures the same dimension as most other type of webbing, it is usually made of high quality rubber. The number webbing used is dependent upon its role and that of the item of furniture, the size of the area to be sprung also comes into the equation. The webbing has various methods in which it can be fixed to the frame/rail, it can be tacked on, it can be screwed into position and further secured by a plate made of metal or other durable material being placed on top of the screw. Alternately, it can be fixed between an additional rail that is positioned on the inside of the main frame.

Overall, the greatest difference between orthodox springs and those discussed, is that cable and tension springs take the weight by expanding, whereas the coil type spring compresses when weight is placed upon it. The cable and tension methods are generally used with a spring interior or foam rubber cushion.

Upholstery Cover Materials

As a customer looking for a specific piece of furniture, colour, type, and quality are all part of the equation when it comes to the selection process. The type of material covering the piece is undoubtedly the most important point to consider. Great care must be taken when choosing this particularly the cost or value of the furniture, its general purpose and the frequency of use and all importantly, will it fit in with the decor and colour scheme of the room it is to be placed in?

In the period when upholstery was considered as an important statement, rooms such as the drawing room would be filled with fine linens and silk. While the living room had other more hard wearing materials and wall hangings such as tapestries and moquettes. Rooms such as the library or study had chairs and settees covered in hide, the 'Chesterfield' became popular as did what is known as the 'club' chair, which recognisable by its sheer size and it sumptuous yet robust hide covers. To this day, the 'Chesterfield' and the club chair remain a popular choice.

In modern day homes, indeed in most homes around the globe, the drawing room is least likely to exist, it has been replaced by dining room and lounge combinations. Today it is the living-room which lies at the centre of most family activity.

Upholstery covers can very simply be divided and classified into three distinct groups, these are: Hides, Morocco's and leather cloth-pile materials or non-pile materials. Each of these have their own qualities. It is easy to see how hides, the first group mentioned, are suitable only for certain roles, hard wearing and easy to clean, they give the appearance and dependent upon location they can provide opulence, which is why they are common as club chairs. Other less grand uses of hide seating can be found on transport furniture or public seating. These may well be covered in cowhide or pigskin, or manufactured leather. Morocco's, were used on more exquisite pieces of furniture. The Morocco skin was perhaps the finest of all skins used in upholstery. It is the skin of a goat with the best specimens emanating from the mountain region of middle Europe. The animals found there possess very little fat content within their skin, which makes for a long lasting and hardwearing upholstery product. Today, it is no longer fashionable to have luxurious animal hide covering furniture.

Looking at cowhide as an upholstery covering. This is generally purchased in cuts measuring between 40 and 65 square feet, though it can be purchased as a complete skin. Since they are the largest skin types used in upholstery they tend to have very little off-cut wastage. The hide is durable and when combined with modern day techniques, polishing and dyeing can transform it into a wonderfully soft material. The hides are categorised into two different groups, these are full grained hides, and buffed skin hide. Buffed skin hide is the least expensive of the two. Its name 'buffed' is derived from the process during reparation when the hide is rubbed or buffed with carborundum stone to reduce any skin blemishes.

Different types of modern day upholstery covering continue to be found or created, leather cloth being one such product that has the look and quality feel of real leather, yet is far cheaper and easier to use. This fabric is man-made, it has a leather like feel appearance and it is very often grained. It is popular because of its effective durability off and is purchased off a roll.

We move next onto pile materials, these include; Velours and Velvets and Moquettes. Of all the type of velvet available, Velour has the toughest hard wearing pile, touching it provides a general feeling of opulence and it provides a touch of elegance to any piece of upholstery. It has one serious disadvantage when used as a seating cover. This is what is commonly termed as 'marking' and is caused through constant pressure being placed upon the pile. This damaged appearance to the pile can be addressed through daily maintenance, using a suction cleaner or soft brush to reform it does help. It is recommended that when finishing attending to such work that a gentle sweeping down of the pile towards the floor helps keep its fine appearance. The pile on the inside arms of a chair or settee should be swept down into the seat.

Moquettes originated in France , they are made of woven pile fabric where threads, either cut or uncut are formed into a short dense cut pile. Recognised for its durability it has a velvet like feel and is often found covering seating on public transport. During the 1930's the embossed Moquette had great popularity among the wealthy. This item had the appearance of its pile being cut away leaving a decorative relief showing through the back of the cloth.

The most classic upholstery materials are Damasks and tapestries. If you are looking for absolute elegance then look no further than a high quality Damask that has a self colour design. This oozes class, and is recognised as the best choice for anyone desiring that look, furthermore, it possesses good wearing qualities too. Tapestries, whilst ornate and looking fine do not have the durability of Moquettes they are however extremely attractive to look at. When it comes to using a tapestry material as a source for furniture covering, then expect to pay more for a good quality product. The purchase of a cheap one will prove to be false economy, it will wear quickly and need to be replaced. Other upholstery materials include linens and cretonnes, slip covers, these are frequently used when making loose covers to throw over furniture.

Whilst the outer dressing and ornate style might impress the average customer, the genuine quality of a piece of created furniture is dependent upon the frame. Upholsterers will tell you that this forms the skeleton on which the internal stuffing or padding is formed. Frames are usually a wooden construction, though in more recent times, for reasons of economy metal has replaced wood.

The original frame-maker can be traced back through the ages to the cabinet-maker or chair-maker who made wooden constructed furniture without any padding or comfort features. It is a reasonable assumption that the introduction of stuffing or padding altered the way we think about furniture. It was no longer a simple case of producing something solid to sit on, now the main criteria was comfort. Designs became more luxurious, curves were crafted to conform to the shape of the human body supporting it on either a chair, a settee or a bed. The wooden created frame was, and remains long lasting.

Metal frames are cheaper and more adaptable than their wooden counterpart. These frames are generally built using tubular or pressed steel, with the joints of the frame being welded or riveted together. While metal frames provide strength and durability, they are heavy and cumbersome, therefore reliant upon the quality of the weld or rivet holding the joints together. Ultimately, if a rivet gives way or any weld has a weakness, it will soon fail, causing damage to the infrastructure and potentially to the outer skin covering of the item also. With repair cost being prohibitive it can mean the purchase of a brand new item, or a very expensive repair. The reason repair costs are so high on some metal framed furniture such as a chair or settee is, the cost of stripping down the outer skin and removing stuffing or padding, identifying the fault and repairing it, it is then a process of effectively rebuilding and re-upholstering the item from frame upwards. Time consuming and expensive, and of course the discomfort of not having the item until it is returned from repair.

Wooden or timber frames can also suffer. However, because they wooden and therefore more adaptable, alterations can be carried out during any repair work. Wooden or timber framed furniture is usually built from beech, birch or oak and can also be created from other types of hardwood. The vast majority of wooden frames use dowelling as a mean of connecting the joints. The main foundation and supporting rails have four dowels connecting each joint, and two on less vulnerable joints or areas where less support is required, two or three dowels.

The frame tends to form the shape and contours of the finished piece of upholstery, though many are of a basic design which can be developed in shape and style with the addition of formed timber to transform its appearance.

With frames, the upholsterer has to factor in elements such as the width or thickness of the supporting rails and their purpose, which means stresses and strain the object will receive in daily operation. If they are stress loaded then they must be made of reliable and dependable wood. There are many frames that use wood as part of the exterior decoration, this is referred to as 'show-wood' furniture, therefore the creation and forming of the object calls for accuracy and skill, everyday items such as dining room chairs have to be exact in measurement and appearance.

The main objective of upholstery is to provide immediate comfort to the user. It is imperative that the frame maker takes everything into consideration when forming a frame, if his skills fall short then it will make for an uncomfortable or ill fitting piece of furniture. From the outset of frame creation the maker must take into account matters such as the length of the seat in proportion to the height of the arms, or the angle of the seat back.

As well as foundation timber or rails, items of furniture may have lighter rails which sit above these are used for attaching things such as canvas or cover. They are known as 'tacking' rails because the canvas or cover is usually tacked to these. In frames that possess spring units as an alternative to webbing, and coiled springs will require a lower quantity of 'tacking rails', as does the arm rail. Frame makers will add triangular shaped strengthening blocks that are screwed or glued in place at the angles of each of the main rails.

As with many popular items, fashion in furniture do quickly change, for instance post WWII, houses with limited bedroom space had to have a settee which had 'drop ends' these had double use, and when the arms were dropped it formed a bed. This item was not a favourite of the upholsterer, with a great deal of skill being used to ensure the arms could drop easily without causing damage to the padding/stuffing, lining or out cover. A lot of effort went into upholstering these items which was often reflected in the sale price. Ultimately, the bed-settee served no real purpose in the home other than when it was used by the occasional visitor. The bed-settee no longer exists in that form, having been replaced by the easy to use and more conventional style studio couch which use metal moving parts such as hinges to extend. The frames too are made of metal, normally tubing. Metal is much lighter than wood in these items, easier to handle and open out and form into a bed.

Upholstery Springs and Spring Units

The most efficient and effective way to build a reliable upholstery infrastructure is to use standard coil springs that are made of coppered steel. They are popular with upholstery manufacturers because of their adaptability and reliability. The springs come in varying sizes and dimensions from three inches in height and can be as tall as fourteen inches. The springs like most metals are graded in gauges or which is the thicknesses of the steel. The smaller three to eight inch springs are six gauge, while the bigger, longer springs come in four gauge, these are heavier and more robust and harder as a spring. The lower the gauge number the heavier the spring wire is.

Coil springs or the double-cone spring is egg timer shaped, it has the centre, or waist, narrower than each of the ends. The ends pieces of wire on each spring is knotted to provide a tidier finish to the work. In America, there various option of springing and these are classified as: 'Furniture Springs' which is for seating, 'Pillow Springs' which are used in arms and backs of furniture; 'Cushion Springs' or 'Auto Springs' which are used in car seating. Without doubt, the English method of gauging springs permits a greater degree of judgement on how hard or soft a seat or seat back might be the lower-gauge and stronger springs are generally used for the seating and the smaller lighter springs for the seat/chair arms and backs.

When furniture became mass produced and prefabricated, so the type of spring used was changed, it was then that the complete 'spring unit' was introduced. The unit comes as one piece and forms the entire foundation for the required purpose, seat, arm, back. It is produced in single, double and even triple layers for seat springing. It is formed of a number of single-cone springs which are riveted to a base which is composed of thin steel laths or straps. A wore mesh is fitted on top of the springs and hold them in an upright position, the mesh has a thicker gauge wire around the edge to give additional strength to the seat. Another method of joining up the springs is by metal clips. If it is a double layer then it is normal to have an ordinary coil spring laid over the single cone spring and affixed in the same manner. These metal laths or straps are finally bent over at the front edge so that they can be fixed to the face of the front rail.

Mass produced spring units do have disadvantages. The greatest difference between these and a hand sprung item. The individual coil spring is carefully laced together so that when it takes the weight of a body it initially sinks the spring will then revert to an upright position. Whereas the spring unit does the opposite, it initially accepts the weight when it is applied to it, however, because a wire mesh sits on top of the springs and effectively binds them together, the springs with the direct weight placed upon them sink, those around them are pulled back into an upright position. Eventually, over time the spring units will buckle. A further issue with spring units is their tendency to squeak, as the bottom layer of springs makes contact with the metal webbing. Although annoying, it can be prevented by stuffing more webbing or felt between the offending coils.

Further examples of spring units are the cushion unit and the spring-interior mattress unit. The springs used are three inches in diameter and are clipped together. With the unit being so flexible it can be made up into any required size in multiples of three inches. In both of these items, the spring unit is best placed to serve the customer, since the weight is spread over a greater size with a mattress, (which is generally pocketed with calico) therefore the tension and stress on the unit is not as concentrated, likewise with a cushion.

Cable springs offer another option to the upholsterer as does tension webbing. Cable springs are, as their name suggests, made in the style of a cable. They can measure anything from four inches in diameter up to eight inches, with their gauges size ranging from fourteen to eighteen. The cable springing is affixed to the side rails of the piece of furniture, be it a chair or a settee. The rails are rebated or will have had defined grooves cut into them to accept the spring fixing as necessary. A grooves side rail will accept the hook of the cable spring, inserting it into the groove and securing by a nail being driven from the top of the rail, ensuring that it passes through the hook and the groove. Another option is the use of pre-drilled metal plates with holes, these are fixed onto the rebated edge of the rail. If the tape method is adopted, it possesses eyelets within the body of the tape and is attached to the rail using small nails tapped in around the eyelet. The cable spring hooks can then be attached, with the top tape covering the entire fixing.

Tension webbing measures the same dimension as most other type of webbing, it is usually made of high quality rubber. The number webbing used is dependent upon its role and that of the item of furniture, the size of the area to be sprung also comes into the equation. The webbing has various methods in which it can be fixed to the frame/rail, it can be tacked on, it can be screwed into position and further secured by a plate made of metal or other durable material being placed on top of the screw. Alternately, it can be fixed between an additional rail that is positioned on the inside of the main frame.

Overall, the greatest difference between orthodox springs and those discussed, is that cable and tension springs take the weight by expanding, whereas the coil type spring compresses when weight is placed upon it. The cable and tension methods are generally used with a spring interior or foam rubber cushion.

Upholstery Cover Materials

As a customer looking for a specific piece of furniture, colour, type, and quality are all part of the equation when it comes to the selection process. The type of material covering the piece is undoubtedly the most important point to consider. Great care must be taken when choosing this particularly the cost or value of the furniture, its general purpose and the frequency of use and all importantly, will it fit in with the decor and colour scheme of the room it is to be placed in?

In the period when upholstery was considered as an important statement, rooms such as the drawing room would be filled with fine linens and silk. While the living room had other more hard wearing materials and wall hangings such as tapestries and moquettes. Rooms such as the library or study had chairs and settees covered in hide, the 'Chesterfield' became popular as did what is known as the 'club' chair, which recognisable by its sheer size and it sumptuous yet robust hide covers. To this day, the 'Chesterfield' and the club chair remain a popular choice.

In modern day homes, indeed in most homes around the globe, the drawing room is least likely to exist, it has been replaced by dining room and lounge combinations. Today it is the living-room which lies at the centre of most family activity.

Upholstery covers can very simply be divided and classified into three distinct groups, these are: Hides, Morocco's and leather cloth-pile materials or non-pile materials. Each of these have their own qualities. It is easy to see how hides, the first group mentioned, are suitable only for certain roles, hard wearing and easy to clean, they give the appearance and dependent upon location they can provide opulence, which is why they are common as club chairs. Other less grand uses of hide seating can be found on transport furniture or public seating. These may well be covered in cowhide or pigskin, or manufactured leather. Morocco's, were used on more exquisite pieces of furniture. The Morocco skin was perhaps the finest of all skins used in upholstery. It is the skin of a goat with the best specimens emanating from the mountain region of middle Europe. The animals found there possess very little fat content within their skin, which makes for a long lasting and hardwearing upholstery product. Today, it is no longer fashionable to have luxurious animal hide covering furniture.

Looking at cowhide as an upholstery covering. This is generally purchased in cuts measuring between 40 and 65 square feet, though it can be purchased as a complete skin. Since they are the largest skin types used in upholstery they tend to have very little off-cut wastage. The hide is durable and when combined with modern day techniques, polishing and dyeing can transform it into a wonderfully soft material. The hides are categorised into two different groups, these are full grained hides, and buffed skin hide. Buffed skin hide is the least expensive of the two. Its name 'buffed' is derived from the process during reparation when the hide is rubbed or buffed with carborundum stone to reduce any skin blemishes.

Different types of modern day upholstery covering continue to be found or created, leather cloth being one such product that has the look and quality feel of real leather, yet is far cheaper and easier to use. This fabric is man-made, it has a leather like feel appearance and it is very often grained. It is popular because of its effective durability off and is purchased off a roll.

We move next onto pile materials, these include; Velours and Velvets and Moquettes. Of all the type of velvet available, Velour has the toughest hard wearing pile, touching it provides a general feeling of opulence and it provides a touch of elegance to any piece of upholstery. It has one serious disadvantage when used as a seating cover. This is what is commonly termed as 'marking' and is caused through constant pressure being placed upon the pile. This damaged appearance to the pile can be addressed through daily maintenance, using a suction cleaner or soft brush to reform it does help. It is recommended that when finishing attending to such work that a gentle sweeping down of the pile towards the floor helps keep its fine appearance. The pile on the inside arms of a chair or settee should be swept down into the seat.

Moquettes originated in France , they are made of woven pile fabric where threads, either cut or uncut are formed into a short dense cut pile. Recognised for its durability it has a velvet like feel and is often found covering seating on public transport. During the 1930's the embossed Moquette had great popularity among the wealthy. This item had the appearance of its pile being cut away leaving a decorative relief showing through the back of the cloth.

The most classic upholstery materials are Damasks and tapestries. If you are looking for absolute elegance then look no further than a high quality Damask that has a self colour design. This oozes class, and is recognised as the best choice for anyone desiring that look, furthermore, it possesses good wearing qualities too. Tapestries, whilst ornate and looking fine do not have the durability of Moquettes they are however extremely attractive to look at. When it comes to using a tapestry material as a source for furniture covering, then expect to pay more for a good quality product. The purchase of a cheap one will prove to be false economy, it will wear quickly and need to be replaced. Other upholstery materials include linens and cretonnes, slip covers, these are frequently used when making loose covers to throw over furniture.