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Furniture building is/has changed

Started by baileyuph, September 20, 2019, 05:57:13 am

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Anyone got a furniture job that is 100% plywood and much or all the

tufting is sewn through foam over 1" thick?

I have had two lately and trying to duplicate their tufting techniques and
lifting around on the plywood frames is not fun - very heavy!

These chairs are approximately 10 plus/minus years old.  Strong!  This isn't relating to cheaper
(quality wise) made stuff.

My machines can't sew through foam that thick to form the thick three channel backrest??

Something else to have on an already busy mind.

These furniture builders are not making rebuilding their stuff easier!

Other experiences?  What did you do to negotiate these issues?  Especially sewing through the
heavy foam?



About the sewing through thick foam issue. We have the same problem and address it when we pick the piece up. We give several options to redesign the piece such as leaving the tufts off. This will also save the customer a little money. Or change it to deep tufting and that will add more money to the estimate. Another option it to change it to a solid back with no buttons. Either way this is addressed before we pick it up and with the customers approval.

Assuming you have the piece in your shop can you do this? Sew the back using 1/2 inch foam and add another 1/2 inch piece of foam to the chair before you upholster it. Poke your buttons through and pull them tight.

I've noticed the plywood frames today are much stronger than the frames built 30 years ago. Almost as strong as an all hardwood frame. I think thicker plywood and structural engineering have helped in this area.

On another note, we just finished a camel back sofa that was reupholstered 15 years ago by our competition. They made several changes without asking the customer. Changes like adding a welted seam to the center of the inside back, changing the cushion from one long cushion to two cushions and changing the front arm panel from sewn on to nailed on. She confronted the upholsterer about these non-approved changes and he simply said he would not fix them. Needless to say when we delivered it with new fabric and back to original she was very pleased. 
There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.


Good idea about using 1/2" foam.

I see a big difference between cheap plywood and furniture grade plywood. The furniture grade plywood is much heavier and seems to work similar to solid wood.

Making changes to furniture, without notifying the customer, just because it's easier for the upholsterer, is dishonest in my opinion. That's not what the customer is paying for. I wouldn't be surprised if you also said the previous upholsterer left the old fabric on the sofa.



I will better describe the chair:

The inside back is made up of three fairly large  channels.  The are formed by sewing
through about two inches of foam (probably more - a little). 

There are no buttons.

Therefore the inside back is the channels therefore created by two seams through all that foam.

The inside back is one piece of fabric (the two seams yield the three fairly large channels).  To install
this piece of upholstery, large staples were shot through the thick foam (obviously on the back side) and
the finished installation included pulling the fabric over foam and staples also to the back side of the
frame.  This yields a very dense inside back installation.

To sew the material on thinner foam and adding another foam layer, wouldn't that create an undesirable proportion (padding wise)?

I haven't concluded how I can do this trick on the inside back.  The factory work looked fine and I
think the key to their success was the ability to sew those two vertical seams (which I mentioned
created the three channels). 

If I sew the fabric to thinner foam, more would have to be done to create those thicker channels.

Time is money, so I am searching for a technique to make something to pay the bills.

Sewing listings and pulling them to the back for stapling isn't an easy way out, don't think.

Any other ideas?  This is the first issue, there may be one or two before it is over. 



Doyle why not treat this like a standard channel back and sew empty channels and then fill them after they are sewn?
Minichillo's Upholstery


September 22, 2019, 06:24:16 am #5 Last Edit: September 22, 2019, 02:39:32 pm by baileyuph

You and I think alike on this. 

Go ahead and cut the "sewed thru" factory foam.

Go ahead and form pockets for the sewed thru foam.  By the way Paul, this will only require
one pocket (that is for the large center channel as the pull down around the two outside channels --
not required). 

This technique will keep the sizing (proportions) of the three channels the same or very close to
the factory size. 

Big advantage is "get around the sew thru thick foam limitations" without revealing the constraint.

Yep!  We think alike on this one!

Another issue on my mind:  Who is building these heavy plywood frames?  There isn't a label of
the chair builder anywhere on this piece of furniture. While the framing is plywood, the joinery of
the plywood framing is pretty high tech output.  China and other producers are VERY capable.

One thought that passed through while analyzing this piece of furniture was/is:  Is it really cheaper
to do than more traditional hardwood framing after the freight is cranked into the equation)?  Then,
I told myself the industry is in this game to make a profit, otherwise it wouldn't happen!

After time working in just about all types of upholstery (years), " still learning".

My hair is turning, I think is what prompted a customer's question:  "You sure do a variety of work,
how long did it take you to learn this stuff"?

Didn't hesitate, merely stated:  "I will let you know".




 Yes I always said that China is capable of producing whatever the client orders. Cheap crap that is dependent on the $$ or high end high quality work. Just depends on whats ordered.

The thing I like most about plywood, cabinet grade) is that it is very stable. And if joined properly will hold up as well if not better than hard wood. I make my frames from a mix but mostly plywood. I hardly ever use anything but cabinet grade for anything.

Funny thing about hair. Mine turned years ago but when I look in the mirror I still see dirty blond. Knowing it is pretty much all gray LOL. Kinda like feeling like I'm 20 sometimes in the body of an old man.

Minichillo's Upholstery


Thinking along these lines "Industry Changes",  I got a job in (chair upholstery), that I think was
made by a company names "Sam Moore" because it pays attention to certain details that have been
reviewed by their products.  Can't wait to get to the internals on this one. 

I will look for a manufacturers name on it shortly to verify if my "Sam Moore" memory is good or not.

That company seemed to specialize in chairs and they were in the upward prices and what ever the
name it was/possibly is located in the N E part of the states.

Anyone remember or still know this chair maker?  (some of you - Sofadoc, Paul, Codydog, I am sure
are likely to remember the "who" on this issue.

Or, maybe the manufacturer will surface after disassembly?

Thanks, enjoy your work.



I indicated earlier that the manufacturer of the heavy plywood framed chair would be reported if
it could be learned.  As previously stated in the thread, that I would be on the look out for information
on the manufacturer of this chair.

Well, finally found the information (chair has been done a while), it was located on the inside
of the removable cushion, of all places;  the chair turned out to be made by Sam Moore.  I only
suspected that but was not sure at all.  The information was stamped on the inside of the foam cushion
liner.  Made in 2004.

The chair actually was a swivel rocker.  The swivel and base was made of heavy steel.  That plus the
high density plywood frame sums up to why it is so heavy.

The customer likes the chair, it should hold up their life-time.

Any business, it seems one never stops learning.   

This sewing experience to simulate the factory production of seams through heavy thick foam (can't do
it on my machines) continues in my mind regarding the factory equipment used?

To end the narrative - it two to carry the chair any distance.

Anyone else had the current Sam Moore experience?