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Old And Sold Antiques Digest Article

Brief History Of Upholstery
Tools And Workshop Requirements
Types And Styles Of Frames
Springs And Spring Units
Stuffing Materials
Cover Materials
Measuring, Cutting, And Preparing Covers
Basic Principles Of
Types Of Stitched Edges And Fronts
Making An Easy Chair With Cushion Seat
The Arm
The Back
The Seat
Second Stuffing-Calico Covers
Pin-Cushion Seat-Stools
Dining-Chairs-Loose Seats
Cable Springing And Latex Cushions
Occasional Chair-Cable Sprung
A Bedroom Chair
Modern Tensile-Sprung Easy-Chair
Adaptable Settee Unit
Upholstery Repairs
Upholstery Terminology

Upholstery - Cable Springing And Latex Cushions

( Originally Published 1961 )

Cable or tension springing has become very popular in the last few years, particularly for the smaller type of chair and indeed for the well-designed easy-chair. The cable spring in appearance is the same as those fixed to `exercisers' and sold in sports shops. They are made in various diameters and are usually covered with plastic, and in some cases with a material. The less expensive chair carries a spring without any covering at all. These cable springs are fixed to the side rails of the chair which are higher than usual and the inside of the rail is grooved or rebated. This is done to fix the springs as the sketches will show. Sometimes the hook of the spring is inserted into the groove and a nail driven through from the top of the rail, passing through the hook and groove before being embedded in the lower part of the rail.

Another method is to have metal plates with holes bored in at intervals screwed on to the side rails. The cable springs are then looped into the holes. This is an improvement on the grooved idea but this too can have a drawback inasmuch as the metal edge sometimes wears the cover. Perhaps the best type of fixing is the webbed tape idea. This is a double tape about 12 in. wide and sewn together along one edge only. The under tape has eyelets punched in at intervals to carry the hooks whilst the top tape covers them and makes a neat finish. These tapes are fixed to the rebated edge of the frame by tacking with fine nails around the rim of the eyelets.

This type of seat- or back-springing was first used in conjunction with the spring-pocketed units in cushions. These consisted of light calibre springs sewn in 'individual pockets of calico or hessian and the whole assembly wired or clipped together making the complete springing unit. The unit is then covered with prefabricated stuffing and linters felt and sewn inside a calico casing. This form of seating cuts out a lot of work in the manufacture of a chair whilst providing a most comfortable seating foundation. Using the same principle of seating, another very satisfactory form of springing is by using tensile rubber webbing and latex cushioning. The rubber webbing is fixed to the side rails and sometimes interlaced in the same way as conventional webbing. It is fixed by nailing and some manufacturers fix a right-angled clip at the end of the web. This is kept in place by screwing an extra inside rail to the existing rails of the chair. Of course the better-class chair uses a latex cushion interior which is moulded to its particular shape and size of seat. Latex along with rubberized stuffing is undoubtedly an improved form of upholstery for many things and certainly makes the upholsterer's work easier and cleaner, without any loss of quality in the finished article. Of course there are many people who prefer the spring-interior cushion. The required type and size unit is bought and put into a calico case or it can be covered with rubberized hair and a layer of linters felt or wadding. Both sides of the cushion unit and the borders should be `bridled' and the stuffing put under evenly. It is then covered with the linters felt or wadding ready for the actual cushion case. To get the prepared unit into the case one requires two pieces of ply or hardboard slightly less in dimensions than the cushion size. With one piece of ply on the bench lay on the prepared unit and place the other board on top. Pass two lengths of twine lengthways around the two pieces of board and with a slip knot pull tight and secure. It is now a simple job to pull the cover over, starting at the narrowest end of course. Once the unit is in the cover the twines are released and withdrawn along with the boards. A corner or two may need to be stuffed out before sewing up the cushion case. With a latex-rubber interior it is simple to fold it and slip it into the cushion case. It is always advisable to cover the actual rubber with a calico case first.

The finished cushion can lie directly on the rubber webbed type of seat, but with the cable-sprung job a covering of some kind is normally put over the springing. The chair that simply has four or five cable springs between the front and back rails has a lining hemmed at the sides and a pocket at each end through which the first and last spring is inserted respectively. Many cable-sprung chairs have the front rail set in at the lowest point into the side rails which enables two or three cable springs to be fixed closely together to form a spring edge. With this seat a separate piece of cover is hemmed at the width of the edge having sufficient length to be back-tacked on the inside front rail and brought over the combination of springs and tacked off under the front rail. The remaining main seat springs are covered with lining.

When sewing the lining for the seat the hemming is done first and then the slots are machined in. The lining is held only by the front and back slots and of course the whole lot goes down as anyone sits upon the chair, without any strain on the lining cover.

Most firms have machines for cushion filling with spring units but of course the general upholsterer rarely needs such a machine.

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