After an abnormally brisk winter in Austin, I think we’re all ready for the sunny and warm Spring days to arrive. In anticipation of spring, I thought a little history about the upholstery spring would be appropriate.
Beginning in the late eighteenth century, steel coil springs made their debut in the upholstery world as a padding material for seating. Initially, poor tying techniques and the high cost of steel made springs an impractical upholstery material. Many times, upholsterers would cover over untied coils. Coils would shift and fall out of place over time leading to a very uncomfortable and lumpy seat. Later advances in the steel industry made coils a more economical means of filling seating cavities than the use of horse hair, down feathers and other natural padding materials. Advances in spring tying techniques, which employed an eight-way tie, made coil seats move as a solid unit, and technological advances led to more resilient springs which would return to their original state after compression, unlike the earlier versions.
Today, furniture pieces with coil seats are considered much better quality and are more comfortable compared to those made with sinuous (zig zag) springs or no springs at all. The labor involved in creating a quality coil sprung seat is intensive which often leads to a more expensive piece of furniture or upholstery project; however, it also provides a more supportive and comfortable foundation for furniture.
At Spruce, eight-way spring retying is a standard on all upholstery projects with coil springs. When choosing an upholsterer, make sure you ask if this is included in the estimate. Many shops upholster over old spring jobs instead of retying. Spring rejuvenation will provide longer lasting and more comfortable pieces of furniture.
Here are a few pieces we’ve redone in the past with coil springs.
HOW TO TELL IF YOUR FURNITURE HAS COIL SPRINGS: Place your hand under the seat. If the bottom is solid under the dust cover, it’s a good sign it has coils.