Heir to the upholstery makers and tapestry makers (weavers), In the 11th century, the upholsterer-designer is the craftsman responsible for the design and decoration of interiors.
- They are is assisted by:
- The UPHOLSTERER-STUFFER, whose job is the stuffing (or filling) and covering of seats and beds; work done in workshops.
- The UPHOLSTERER-INSTALLER, whose job is the in-home installation of the decorating elements prepared and manufactured in the workshop. He also hangs wall coverings, lays floor coverings and installs decorative fixtures (paintings, mirrors, carpets, etc.)
- The FURNITURE-UPHOLSTERER, responsible in the workshop for all the stitching work required by custom made design.
These various workmen must be highly qualified, since they handle precious fabrics – often very expensive – and since they may be entrusted with restoring valuable objects whether they are old or of sentimental value. The manual skill required by the multiple facets of the above-mentioned work can only be achieved through practice, knowledge of design, styles, old and new fabrics, as well as an impeccable taste, all of which only comes from experience.
LATEX, NATURAL FIBER STUFFING
Latex is a 100% natural foam. It comes from the rubber tree – Brazil, India , Malaysia. The tree is tapped and milk from the tree is collected in a bucket similar to the way maple syrup is collected from a maple tree . The tree sap is mixed into a mold and heated. This process is called vulcanization. Natural latex foam has inherent dynamic contouring properties making it ideal for exercise pads, cushions, pillows and much more. It is naturally resistant to bacteria , mildew, and mold. This high-density natural foam rubber (6lb/ft3) will last up to 30 years when properly encased. It will be biodegradable in few years when exposed to the elements, completely turning to dust .
HORSEHAIR FILLING – A ‘specialization’
Our choice for traditional horsehair filling is mostly geared towards the preservation of old furniture, antique armchairs and chairs, because it protects old woods; if one likes beautiful workmanship, the sturdiness of this type of filling has been proven over the centuries. Indeed, we have discovered very old horsehair fillings, in a perfect state of preservation, the seat had kept all its authenticity, without any damage to the filling … a testimony from the past enabling to learn for the future. Horsehair filling offers sturdiness, comfort, aesthetics, protection against pollution; thus one needs to be knowledgeable in classical and modern armchairs and chairs, as well as their different provenance.
As its name indicates, this type of hair comes essentially from horses. The most beautiful comes from the mane and the tail, and it is called flat hair. Once it has been disinfected and the fat has been removed, it is used to manufacture bows for musical instruments, as well as brushes, paint-brushes, and fabrics (La maison du crin, 73 rue des St-Pères 75007 Paris, France). In order to be used for the stuffing of seats, it must first be twisted and carded, then stitched on the seat. Horsehair is expensive to buy, but a seat filled with horsehair may last a very long time, whilst a more economical foam-filling will be relatively short-lived and its deterioration more polluting (chemical dusts).
MODERN FILLING –
Since the beginning of the 20 th century, a new kind of filling has appeared with the innovation of suspended springs, hence the name of ‘comfortable armchairs’. These modern chairs allow for a raised and very flexible filling.
We have witnessed an evolution in seats due particularly to the appearance on the market of new materials, like foams, elastic seat webbing, which permit modern seats to be shaped in a way better adapted to multiple uses. Industrially speaking, the cost price may be considerably lowered, once templates have been established which allow for the creation of a whole line. The professional no longer needs to look for the springs best suited to the lashing and the number of stitches for the twining of the filling. We may also be able to combine modern and classical materials, hence a sturdier workmanship over time. It is obvious that foam filling, despite the quality of today’s materials, will be damaged by light and will age faster compared to traditional horsehair filling.
Our upholsterer San Diego craftsmen have much experience with different types of fabrics and fillers.
Call San Diego Upholstery Restoration for consultation or for more information about our Upholsterer San Diego Services: (858) 518-7407.