No matter the type of chairs – antique, contemporary, classic or modern, they will all have a skeleton frame of timber or metal and some form of shape or body usually created by the tautness of upholstery springs and webbing. These springs give furniture its memory and underlying shape; if they aren’t correct to begin with, anything upholstered or created on top of them won’t be either. As upholstery springs suppliers, we know a thing or two about furniture upholstery so here is some useful information.
Arranging springs and webbing is an art
If you are rebuilding furniture to re-create the way it was previously, especially in the case of antique furniture, the way you arrange the springs and webbing is more of an art than a science. Upholstering is also partly dependent on the finances and desires of your customer, as well as your own personal preferences.
Initially, around the 1800s, high end furniture was constructed by using a frame with webbing stretched tightly over it, then building a layer of coil or cone type springs across the top of the webbing. This procedure is still the industry gold standard today with some manufacturers even using zig zag or serpentine springs.
Materials used to repair and renovate antique chairs
Common types of webbing
The ideal is normally to keep the chair renovation as near to the original design and fabric as possible. Traditional jute webbing adheres to this rule of originality, but when renovating more modern furniture, some upholsterers will choose man-made webbing.
There are two types of webbing that may be used to support coil springs, nylon and jute. Consideration should be given when using jute as to the final environment of the piece of furniture. This is because jute will not withstand outside weather conditions, where it may quickly deteriorate. Nylon is normally thinner than jute and when first introduced to the upholstery market was cheaper, but these days this is not always the case.
The webbing would normally be attached to the end of the wooden frame using tacks or staples. However, with some of the more modern type, lower priced chairs and sofas with flimsier frames made from plywood, this method is more difficult to achieve as the plies of wood may split. In these cases, the webbing is brought around and stapled to the side rather than to the end of the plywood.
Common types of upholstery springs
Coil, or double cone springs (Bonnell type springs) are hour glass, cylindrical shaped, metal springs which may be clipped to, or sewn onto a webbing base. The process of tying the springs to each other in 8 different directions (an 8-way hand tie) gives them neatness, order and tension to create a stable, hard wearing seat able to spread a person’s weight evenly.