The sofa manufacturing process dates all the way back to the time of ancient Egypt. Many of the pharaohs tombs had been furnished with sofas and other furniture as well. Most furnishings had been reserved only for the rich back in those days. In the West, upholstery became more popular over the years as our technology and resources improved. Before the 1500’s, many tapestries were made and used as a source of insulation. These tapestries were even applied to hard benches. Looking back in time, these tapestries were main building block toward manufacturing better couches.
Not many people know about how much time goes into constructing a sofa. Handmade or factory process doesn’t really make much of a difference because it still can take weeks or even months to make a sofa. A single couch will require 300 to 600 hours of labor. Each couch requires heavy machinery such as power saws. There are also hand tools used to carve out couch frames, giving it a highly unique look. In this article, we will discuss the basics of manufacturing a sofa and how it is done.
Sofa materials, origin and sustainability
There are many materials needed to create a sofa. Here is some information on how a sofa is made. If after reading this article you want to learn more about the sofa manufacturing process, there are many articles on Eastman Furniture.
The first step is constructing the frame. Think of it as the skeletal foundation. The wood must be clear of any type of damage, scratches, or defects. When an upholstery craftsman makes the sofa, they measure the thickness of the wood. The reason why is because they must take into consideration the webbing. All arms, back sections, seats and legs are secured using glue joints and comer braces. Each is screwed into place accordingly.
After this, it is time to add the padding. One type of webbing is called Jute which was crafted in India. The Jute is taken and interwoven into sections. These are stretched over the entire frame and then screwed down. The springs must be secured into the webbing by using flax twine as strap. About 2 lines of the twine are used, placing in position and then secured around the spring from back to the front. More lines are added to the rows after this.
Every part is padded using layers of burlap. Sometimes they also add horsehair or any other synthetic material during the construction of the sofa. Once this is done, they cover everything with a muslin sheet. The arms of the chair are also constructed the same way using padding and burlap. Extra padding has also been secured to the arms for a more comfortable fit.
Measuring and recording takes place in a cutting list. Each piece and panel must be measured. This way they don’t use too much fabric or not enough. Each panel has been outlined in chalk so this way they match all of the seams during application. If the pieces or panels require sewing, this will be done prior to fitting.
Once everything is finished, the sofa must be flipped over. The base will be covered with a special fabric dust cover. This is the time they choose a skirt and add welted panel covers. The cushions are obviously made separately in order to cover the seats.
Sofa manufacturing; Made from MDF, pine, hardwood
The frame of a sofa is the most important part since this mainly holds everything together. High-end sofas are often made from kiln-dried hardwood such as oak or maple. These are constructed using screws, glue and wood blocks. Additionally, metal corner braces are added to strengthen the couch and add to it’s durability. These sofas have a life of a hundred years or more.
With medium priced sofas, they include hardwood and also softer woods such as pine or plywood. These may not be the best when compared with high-end sofas but they won’t fall apart the moment you sit in them. Pine usually shapes out the curves within the arms of the couch and even the back. Sometimes they even reinforce these with plywood to give the sofa extra strength.
Lastly is inexpensive sofas which you should try to stay away from. The reason being is because alot are made from pine and chipboard. This sofa may last for 7 years if you take good care of it. Otherwise, it is not good if you have kids who like to jump on the couch. The problem with these sofas is that the arms tend to wiggle and everything is put together using staples and metal braces. The staples aren’t very adequate for this type of sofa and can become loose or out of place.
Fire proofing and suitability to tenants
Many sofas that have been constructed over the last decade will contain flame retardants so you don’t need to worry about fire proofing. You can tell if your couch is fireproof by flipping it over and reading the tag. It usually has a reading from the California Bureau of Home Furnishing Technical Building 117 which states that it meets all of the flammability requirements. This requirement goes all the way back to 1970 however if you have an antique sofa that is from the 1940’s or even older, you may need to get a new sofa.
The state standard is a little different now since many parents were worried about the toxicity of flame retardants. It was found that flame retardants can be dangerous for children to breathe in. Therefore, the state standards now only require that sofas are “cigarette resistant” instead of “flame resistant” which makes a big difference.