8 Way hand tied coil foundations are considered the "gold standard" for high end sofas. What are the advantages compared to lower cost foundations?
Thursday, April 5, 2018
Written by Jeff Frank
8 way hand tied coil foundations are an endangered species and 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:
1) 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 the hands and fingers over time.
Many of the skilled craftspeople who build custom sofas using 8 way hand tied foundations are getting close to retirement age.
New apprentice upholsterers are extremely reluctant to take the time and effort needed to master this art.
2) "Drop-in" 8 way hand-tied units are currently mass produced by a number of manufacturers at a fraction of the cost.
These are drop-in coil spring foundations that look like 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.
3) 8 way hand tied 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 these foundations were essential for high quality seating.
This was because cushions were thinner and filled with non-resilient materials such as horse hair, down and feathers or cotton.
Early foam cushions were not as thick and firm as they are now. The foam was not as resilient.
With low resilience cushions when you sat on the furniture you would 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 hand-tied coils 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 -- 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.