The term 8-way hand tied springs is synonymous with high quality upholstered furniture. It simply refers to the spring up system in a piece of upholstery. This can be found in sofas, chairs, sectionals, chaises etc. The spring up system is the area under the cushions inside the frame. This area gives spring support to your sit.
There are several options to this area of springs on your sofa. Let’s talk about a few of these. First we’ll talk about drop-in coil springs. This is the less labor-intensive version of spring suspension. It consists of coils mounted on a metal frame, which is then added to the furniture as a single piece. This lower labor costs comes with some sacrifices. This spring system is screwed to the frame sides and is not supported from the bottom. Therefore this system will sag and wear out early and coils have a tendency to become out of whack. There is a lot of metal to metal contact in this system. You will notice squeaking and noises when you get up and down. This is a system notorious to be in less expensive furniture. You will not get a long life from these pieces.
The next type is pocket coil springs. This is a new comer to the furniture scene. It resembles what you would find inside of a mattress, lots of small individual springs wrapped in fabric. Not many manufacturers use this system. It seems to be more quiet but the fact that the coils aren’t integrated makes for a shorter life span.
Sinuous springs are probably the most common type of suspension in low to mid range sofas. They resemble many large zig-zagging pieces of metal set in rows several inches apart. They run perpendicular to the front and back of the sofa. Sinuous springs are a cheaper way to make sofa suspensions. I believe that a properly made sinuous spring system will perform better than a poorly made drop-in spring system. If you must buy a piece with sinuous springs, make sure that the wire is at least 8-gauge. Also that there are at least two silent-tie wires running across and clipped to each spring. Sinuous springs with smaller curves or turns work better that ones with large S curves. No matter what a sales person says. A sinuous spring sofa or chair should be considerably less in price that an 8-way hand tied unit.
The flexolator grid is a suspension that is less common than coil springs and sinuous springs. It is used on several mid priced pieces at popular retailers like Room & Board and Crate & Barrel. It is a wire grid that attaches to the frame with springs on the side. This is similar to how a trampoline is attached. The wires aren’t very thick and they tend to break often with normal use. We would avoid this type of spring up system.
Let’s talk about webbing or straps. This system is made by weaving fabric or elastic straps in a grid-like pattern. There are a few higher end companies that use this system however there is a reason. If a sofa frame is very narrow. Meaning the front rail is not tall enough to accept an 8-way hand tied system, sometimes webbing is used. If you must buy a sofa or chair with webbing make sure it is a reputable company with a great warranty. Webbing is found mostly on the cheapest furniture you’ll find. We’d avoid webbing on a working sofa that gets normal use from any manufacturer.
The most time consuming, labor intensive and most expensive of spring up options is an 8-way hand tied system. Long considered the gold standard of sofa suspension. We consider it the only way to spring up a sofa or chair if you want a long lasting, comfortable piece of furniture. 8-way hand tied is a tried and true technique that requires skilled craftsmanship.
To make 8-way hand-tied springs, laborers tie twine or strings eight different ways. From side to side, front to back and diagonally. These unbreakable strings are tied to each spring eight times and then to the frame. This web of twine keeps the springs from shifting, providing years of unwavering support. This soft twine or string also assures that there will be no metal to metal. This prevents squeaking over time. and will be silent as you sit down. The bottom of the springs are supported by steel webbing attached to the frame all the way around. This helps craftsman build upholstered furniture that is soft, supportive, flexible, and comfortable and will last 3 lifetimes.
If you want to ensure you are getting the best quality piece of furniture possible. Find one with true eight-way hand tied suspension. This is consistently the longest lasting spring up system possible. A manufacturer that takes the time to hand-tie their suspension will carry this quality through to the other parts of their furniture such as the frame, cushions, finishing and upholstery. If you can’t afford eight-way hand tied. Buy the best sinuous spring suspension you can find, but make sure there is an appropriate decrease in cost.
Here is a secret to determine if a sofa is 8-way hand tied or not. First, remove the seat cushions and press down to see if you feel the individual coil springs. If so, then reach underneath the sofa and press up. You should feel a very tough, hard material with a spring sound if you strike it. It is substantial and you will not be able to move it or push your finger through. If you feel a soft fabric that is flimsy and you can push your finger through. This sofa is a cheaper version and is not 8-way hand tied.
Purchasing high-quality furniture is well worth the investment, especially for sofas and couches that will get daily use. Don’t waste your money buying cheaper furniture that you’ll have to replace. When you buy furniture made with 8-way hand-tied springs, you’ll enjoy a comfortable and supportive seat long after you first bring the piece into your home.
Cowbridge Furniture Company’s entire process is done in Hickory, North Carolina. From the frame builders, the finishers, the sewers and the upholsterers, it is a complete venture involving several talented people. We are very fortunate to have a group of skilled technicians that take pride in their product. They combine time honored techniques and use only the highest quality materials.