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Are 8 Way hand tied Coil Foundations Really the Best?

By Jeff Frank

8 way hand tied coil foundations are an endangered species.

They may become extinct within the next 20 years.

8 way hand-tied foundations are by far the most expensive type of foundation used in upholstered furniture.

The reasons for this include:

Installation of a genuine 8 way hand-tied foundation requires a highly skilled and experienced craftsperson.

The job is difficult, requires great strength and is extremely tedious.

It also frequently causes physical damage to hands and fingers.

Many skilled craftspeople who build 8 way hand tied couches are getting close to retirement age.

New apprentice upholsterers are extremely reluctant to take the time and effort needed to master this art.

Manufacturers can now produce “Drop-in” 8 way hand-tied units at a fraction of the cost.

These are drop-in coil spring foundations. They look and feel similar to 8 way hand-tied foundations. But can be inexpensively mass produced using minimum wage laborers.

Few consumers are sophisticated enough to know the difference.

Most of these drop-in units are perfectly adequate for high-quality furniture.

8 way foundations are extremely expensive and have no real added benefit in modern upholstered furniture.

For the first 100 years, since they were first developed in the 1850s, 8 way hand tied foundations were essential for high-quality seating.

Cushions were thinner and filled with non-resilient materials such as horsehair, down, and feathers or cotton.

Early foam cushions were not as thick and firm as they are now. The foam was not as resilient.

Sitting on low resilience cushions makes you sink down all the way to the sofa deck.

Because of that, it was very important to have a good, strong, comfortable foundation underneath.

8 way coil springs were critical for a comfortable long-lasting couch.

Today’s seat cushions are usually made with thick high resilience polyurethane foams or heavy-duty foam-encased coil spring systems.

The result is that you no longer “sink” into the cushions all the way down close to the decking. Unless you have a very thin cushion or are using a high percentage of down or feathers.

It is virtually impossible for even an expert to tell the difference in comfort.

No matter what kind of foundation is being used below the seat deck.

This is true, whether it is a $600 genuine 8 way hand-tied unit, a $150 “drop-in” coil foundation, a $40 elasticized webbing, or a $20 no-sag spring.

Despite the inefficiency of hand tied foundations, they are an important clue to high-quality furniture.

Any manufacturer with 8 way seating is making high-quality upholstered furniture.


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