Some Details about the Materials & Construction of this Furniture, and How it's Assembled
Please keep in mind that this page deals only with construction details of our furniture. To go to our home page (if you haven't already been there) for pictures and features of our full product line, click here.
If you receive delivery via our vehicle (normally only in the Northern North Carolina-to-southern and eastern Pennsylvania-to-north suburban New York corridor in the eastern U.S.), the delivery person would bring it in and assemble it. If your furniture arrives via common carrier (we ship almost anywhere, at moderate cost), what you do is shown by the arrows below, which normally doesn't even require a tool (the bolts can be turned by hand). In just a few minutes, the furniture can be together well enough to withstand decades of heavy use, yet it can be easily disassembled and re-assembled for moving, at any time.
The construction shown below applies to all models except for the FineFit model.
Every frame has been pre-assembled and carefully checked, together with the cushions, before shipping or delivery.
Steel tee-nuts are already firmly embedded in solid oak parts. These parts have been securely screwed (with high-quality steel zinc-plated screws) and glued (with aliphatic resin glue) to solid oak side members. Solid hardwood end blocks and support ledges (normally solid oak, but sometimes cherry or walnut) are already screwed and glued to solid oak front rails and to solid oak back frames (or to 3/4" hardwood plywood, if you choose the all-wood back). The eye bolts and the front rail dowels are 1/4"-diameter steel.
You won't find frame components made of particleboard or assembled with staples, such as is typical in the mass-production of most furniture. Construction like that has become the norm in American furniture stores these days, even for higher-priced lines; for more on this, click on the first link at the bottom of this page. There are good reasons why we are happy to show the construction of our furniture, and why other manufacturers don't do so.
The above are good reasons why we able to offer a ten-year structural guarantee on our frames, even when sold to heavy-use organizations: (1) We make the frames extremely solidly to start out with, and (2) since our frames consist of components that are bolted to each other, it is easy and relatively inexpensive for us to make and send a replacement component if there ever should be a problem.
For more details and pictures showing what's below the cushions, scroll farther down this page.
For more details on assembling a frame, click here.
The corner unit of one our sectional sofas
Each side section will be bolted to this corner unit, with the same eye bolts as shown above. When a sectional arrives, this corner unit is the bulkiest component (33" x 33" x 24 1/2"); everything else is flat pieces or cushions. However, if the entrance is too small for this to be carried in whole, even this unit can be easily disassembled into two smaller (L-shaped) sections, by unscrewing six philips-head screws, and then re-assembled once inside the destination room.
Super-Durable Cushion Support:
The standard surfaces that the seat cushions rest on are made of plywood, resting on heavy oak supports, with firm padding over most of the seat deck and then a covering of heavy upholstery fabric (see more specifics near the bottom of this page). Together with our standard (medium-firm, high-quality) cushioning, this provides non-saggy support that most of our customers find to be quite comfortable, without a feeling of hitting bottom; and it's a pleasant contrast with the too-soft support characteristic of most furniture in normal stores. Also, it will never sag and become too soft or cave in, as is typical with springs. For those who want medium-soft support, we also offer a heavy-duty webbing suspension. (For more information about the webbing suspension, scroll to the bottom of the page linked to here.)
Also, the fact that our standard (firm) seat support has almost no sag to it means that there isn't the up-and-down flexing that's typical with sofa seats; that kind of flexing is what causes normal seat cushions to inch forward a little with each sitting. Even our optional webbing suspension has less flexing to it than most suspensions. In both cases, there is coarse, slightly-rough fabric below the seat cushions to resist slipping. We have not heard of any problems of cushions' slipping with our (standard) wood seat decks or with the webbing suspensions that we have used since the late 1970's.
of weight on an individual seat, plus another test of
25 forty-pound bags of topsoil, carefully stacked on top of a Virginia model sofa suspension as shown, caused only minor sag after 24 hours. The weights were then shifted onto a California model frame. The bags rested there for 26 days. There was still no damage to the frame and less than 1/2 of sag. Our other models, except the FineFit model, have this same identical support.
Our Teenager landing on it test (shown above right) was performed by a 190-pound male, giving a beating to both a California model sofa frame and a Virginia sofa frame. These tests each included 35 backward lunges onto the sofa seat while carrying a 40-pound bag, and 50 lunges without it. They had no detectable effect on either frame.
Subsequent prudent economizing based on the above tests: Since very few of our customers will be subjecting our furniture to such stress, we have reduced the amount of the valuable oak wood used in the bottom support slats by about 15% since the above tests. For those who anticipate extra-heavy loads on their furniture, additional support can be ordered.
As impressive as the above test results are, we've heard of one kind of exposure that can overly strain even these frames: A heavy, autistic person with the "rocking" syndrome can eventually fracture the connection at the top of the back. If your furniture could be subject to that kind of treatment, please request extra reinforcement for that location.
To see pictures of our furniture that's in use by many organizations where it gets hard wear and tear, click here.
Shown at right: A sofa we sold in 1980, in a image kindly taken in 2008 and sent to us by a Massachusetts customer after she purchased replacement seat cushions. (Note: It's unusual to be able to find fabric many years later that matches your original covers.)
Our standard seat and back cushions are filled entirely with high-quality polyurethane foam, shaped to give it the gently rounded contours you see in our pictures.. We don't use cotton batting, which for some people is allergenic, anywhere.. We don't use typical polyester batting (which is very widely used in mass-market furniture) except on arm pillows or on the sides of our fully-upholstered model's frames, since it doesn't hold up under long-term weight of sitting nearly as well as high-quality polyurethane foam; the only polyester batting we use on any of our cushions is for our softer cushion option, and on those we use a very special, luxurious, unusually durable kind.
To understand about foam quality, one needs to know about its density. Density of foam relates directly to durability, since it refers to the amount of supporting, strength-giving material, as opposed to air pockets, that makes up the cushion filling. Our seat foam is at least 2.25 pounds per cubic foot in density, compared with the 1 to 1.5 lb. density used in typical mass-market furniture. However, this high density does not at all mean that the cushions are uncomfortably firm. Density is not the same as flexibility, which determines softness.
Comfort results from the way the foam compresses when sat on. This in turn is affected by flexibility of the foam (determined by its chemical makeup) and also by the density mentioned above. Inexpensive, low-density foam gets its support from a less flexible material composition. What keeps you from hitting bottom with cheaper foam is stiffness, which is not only less comfortable but also less durable than support provided by greater density.
Higher-density foam can be more flexible, since it gets its basic support much more from compaction of material rather than from stiffness of the foam. The additional solid material within the foam resists more and more the farther it is compressed, preventing you from hitting bottom. The greater flexibility permitted by greater density gives it a softer feel for the first few inches of sinking in, molding nicely to your contours. And this softer feel combined with progressively firmer support explains why the great majority of people find our cushioning very comfortable even when it rests on a padded wood base, avoiding the normal problem of springs' sagging. In simple terms, this foam combined with the underlying firm support just plain feels good to your bottom and back.
So why don't all manufacturers use cushion filling like this? It's more expensive, for buying it, for carefully shaping it (as opposed to the usual quick way of achieving rounding by wrapping soft batting around a block of foam), and for shipping the completed (heavier) product. The furniture industry is extremely price-competitive, and most retail customers don't look past the price and initial appearance and feel of a sofa, so most manufacturers aren't willing to pay for the higher costs of such high-quality filling.
More details on our standard seat supports:
Shown here: On the left side, exposed just for purposes of illustration, layers of firm padding on top of the plywood seat deck, 1/2" thick at the rear and middle (where more weight is borne) tapering down to nothing at the front edge. As the next step, surplus upholstery fabric is used to cover the whole deck (as shown on the right). The dotted lines show where oak supports are attached to the underside of the deck. These supports could number either two or three, but in every case they provide 4 1/2" or more of total width of 13/16"-thick oak, providing extremely strong support (see the test results higher on this page).
This deck merely rests on ledges at the front and back inside of the frame. It is therefore a very quick, easy process to lift it out (along with the backrest panel shown below) if you wish to clean below the cushions all the way to the floor. The same ease of insertion and lifting out applies to our heavy-duty webbing suspension (if you are interested in that as a softer alternative, and haven't read about it already, look below this section).
A thinly-padded wood deck below the cushions may sound like it wouldn't be comfortable, but when used in combination with our very high-quality cushion filling, it actually is very comfortable for about 90% of all people who have tried it in our showroom. Of those for whom it feels too firm at first, they often like it at least as well after getting used to it for a few minutes. And there's no doubt that firmer support is (a) better for your back, and (b) easier to get up from -- than a sinky suspension. Most people have back pain at some time in their lives, and almost everybody becomes older eventually and starts having difficulty getting up. At such times they would especially appreciate the firmness of support of these flat wood bases.
We have been using a wood base like this below our cushions since the mid-1970's, and finding that 80-90% of our customers who have come to our showroom have been choosing this support over the webbing suspension. (However, there is some bias in that figure, since some people come to us because they like our statement that we offer firmer-than-average support.) But more important than customers' initial impressions is the fact that, when they come back after twenty years or more when it's time to renew their furniture, at least half of our customers only replace the covers on their cushions, because their inner cushions still give them comfortable support. That is something that would not be happening if we used run-of-the-mill cushion filling.
We regularly receive favorable feedback from our customers about the comfort of our furniture, both when people are in our showroom and when we hear from customers decades later. All of the customer comments quoted at www.comfy1.com/customer.htm are exact direct quotes from customer letters and e-mails, with the only editing being deletions of some of the text for purposes of keeping it reasonably brief.
If you want to test our furniture for comfort and if it isn't convenient for you to come to our showroom, please note that you can request that our sample seat be sent to you (at no charge, only with a $50 deposit), which will allow you to find out exactly what it feels like to sit on our furniture with the padded wood base and standard cushioning.
Shown here: A backrest panel (plywood covered with non-woven black fabric) near the rear of the seat deck, supporting the back cushions at the forward angle that most people find comfortable. Also shown: Glued to the covered seat deck is a rectangle of special, slightly rough fabric which (when the seat cushion is pressed down onto it) strongly resists movement of the seat cushion. Alternatively, the entire deck could be covered with a coarse-textured fabric, with the rough back side facing up.
If incontinence or spills of drinks could be a concern, we can cover the seat deck and backrest panel with a heavy vinyl fabric in place of porous fabrics. We can also waterproof the surrounding areas.
And, of course, all of that is completely hidden once the cushions are in place.
Our webbing suspension, being made:
It starts out with a solid oak frame, glued and screwed together. On the left below is shown a top view of the suspension for a loveseat, made as a one-piece suspension, which is the way we make them for orders that will be delivered in our van. If the order will be shipped by trucking company, we will normally divide the suspension into individual-seat-size units.
The top view, above left, shows pieces of plywood attached on top of the solid oak front-to-back pieces, for spreading and leveling out the support for the webbing. Looking at the underside of the frame (above right), you can see the complete solid oak structure more fully, although this view doesn't show the high-quality steel screws (as well as glue) that join the structure together.
Above left: The first layer of webbing is applied tightly from end to end along the suspension, with the webbing wrapped around the (rounded) edges for the major stapling, for much greater strength than would be the case if it were stapled only on the surface to which the stress will be applied (the latter is how webbing is typically attached). Above right: On top of the base layer goes a second layer, applied tightly front-to-back. Initial stapling is done on top for best tightening, and then it's pulled around the edge for additional stapling on the other side, for maximum permanence. This a very heavy-duty webbing material, a sample of which we can send you on request.
Above is shown a chunk of foam opening it up a little to show where we leave access between the two layers, where you can reach in and insert additional, firm material (old sheets or towels, folded?) if you want to increase the firmness of support.
Above right: That same suspension set down into a loveseat frame, where it rests on solid oak ledges at the front and back. It can be easily lifted out for (a) convenient disassembly and re-assembly of the frame for moving, if desired, or (b) for repair, if that should ever be needed. But, judging by our experience with making suspensions very similar to this for over 25 years, for furniture that we have always guaranteed structurally for at least 10 years, any need for repair would be extremely rare.
Full statements of our warranties are in our printed product literature, available on request, and are also on this web site. To read them, click here.
To return to the page that explains about the general practicality and durability of our furniture, click here.
To return to the page that deals with our various cushion options, click here.
To return to the page about our furniture in use by fraternities and other heavy users, click here.
To go to Comfy 1 home page, click here.