- Construction Details
Simplicity Sofas' furniture construction is more of an art form than an industrial process. Our furniture is built by hand, one piece at a time, very much the same as it was 100 years ago. After fabric is cut and sewn, a single master craftsperson upholsters the entire piece from start to finish, unlike many modern factories where different workers can be assigned to inside arms, outside arms, inside backs, outside backs, etc.
Frames – Sofa frames are made using kiln-dried solid oak and solid maple lumber with a very few exceptions. Plywood is used in the sectional bases which require precise computerized routing which cannot be done with solid wood. (Sectional backs and arms are solid oak or maple.) The Timothy and Christie sofa sleepers use all-plywood frames because of a need to reduce weight in these heavy (300 lb.) pull-out sofa beds.
All frames are corner-blocked, doweled, stapled and glued. The sofas and love seats all have horizontal support beams between each seat. For example on a full-size (3 seat) sofa there will be two horizontal support beams for both the backs and seats reinforced with corner blocks. The mid-size and apartment-size sofas will have only one horizontal support beam for the seat and back. All frames are backed by an unlimited lifetime warranty.
Spring Support System – Our furniture uses an elasticized webbing spring system. This system has been a standard in the furniture industry for high end upholstery. It is used in designs which require more steamlined profiles which do not allow the use of 8 way hand-tied coils.
Elasticized webbing is more expensive than the more common sinuous wire spring system (also known as "no-sag) which is by far the most common spring system currently in use. Both elasticized webbing and sinuous wire systems are extremely durable. It is very rare for either system to break down over the life of the furniture.
Some customers have asked why we do not offer an 8 way hand-tied coil option. 8 way coils require more space between the deck of the sofa and the floor. Our furniture (and most modern style furniture) does not have enough space to fit an 8 way coil unit.
8 way hand-tied coil springs vs. elasticized webbing comparison -- Genuine 8 way hand-tied coils have long been considered the gold standard for seating support systems. Although this was the world-wide standard for high end furniture for many years, its use has drastically been reduced over the past two decades. It is rarely used outside the U.S. or in modern style furniture.
There are three primary reasons for the demise of 8 way hand-tied coils.
- Comfort -- 8 way hand-tied coils first came into popular use more than 100 years ago. At that time they were critical to ensuring a comfortable seat. This was back when cushions were being made using down and feathers, horsehair and cotton. Eventually foam began to replace those early cushion materials, but the early foams were far less resilient than those now in use. In addition, cushions were traditionally thinner than they are today. As a result you could actually feel the springs beneath the cushions.
Today, cushions are made with far more resilient (and thicker) foams or with coil springs inside the cushion core. As a result, the cushion itself provides the support -- and the spring system used beneath those cushions becomes far less important to the overall comfort. It is almost impossible, even for an expert, to tell the difference between different foundation support systems when seated on a high quality cushion.
Even lower quality cushions today will look good and feel comfortable when new. The difference is that lower quality cushions will begin to collapse and lose their shape after 1-3 years while the best quality cushions will last 15 years or more. The difference in price between a lower quality cushion and a high quality cushion can be substantial.
- Skill -- many of the older upholsterers who were highly skilled at making 8 way hand-tied coils are dying out or retiring. Very few new upholsterers are willing to make the commitment of time necessary to master this difficult and physically demanding skill for which there is a steadily declining demand. It is increasingly common to see spring suppliers offering less expensive versions that are still called "8 way hand-tied" but do not require the same level of skill or time consuming labor to install.
- Cost -- a genuine 8 way hand-tied coil system installed by an expert adds at least $500 to the cost of a typical sofa. By far the largest part of this cost is in the many hours of highly skilled labor required to install them. Expensive 8 way hand tied coils are not any more durable than most of the less expensive support options. Any of them should last for at least 10 years and probably far longer.
Our elasticized webbing spring systems are covered by an unlimited lifetime warranty. If one of our frames fails at any time for any reason (including customer abuse) we will replace the damaged part at no charge.
Simplicity Sofas offers a choice of (3) different cushion constructions:
1) 1.8 density HR (High Resilience) foam cushions.
This is our standard cushion. The foam has a life expectancy of 3-5 years (when used an average of 1-2 hours per day.) These cushions have an unlimited 5 year warranty. (If you have any problem with the foam part of the cushion we will replace it free of charge if we are notified within 5 years of the date of purchase.)
2) 2.4 density Ultracel™ HR (High Resilience) foam cushions. (This is an optional upgrade for $75 per seat cushion.)
Our 2.4 density Ultracel™ foam cushion is one of the finest quality cushions available in the furniture industry at any price. It is also Eco-friendly, fabricated using a soybean derivitive that reduces the need for petroleum-based ingredients by approx. 20%. (Details furnishied below.)
This is a super-premium cushion. The 2.4 density Ultracel™ foam has a life expectancy of 15 years (when used an average of 4-5 hours per day.) These cushions are backed by an unlimited lifetime warranty (except for the fabric.) If you ever have a problem we will replace it free of charge.
Why Ultracel™ Foam is Superior to Conventional Polyurethane Foams
Ultracel™ foam is a revolutionary material that offers superior support and long lasting resiliency. Ultracel is more resilient and durable than other conventional foams, and will maintain its shape under compressions better than other polyurethane foams. Ultracel foam offers up to 25% more support than conventional foams. Extensive lab testing has shown that Ultracel material suffers from less unsightly flattening and sagging and is less likely to be subject to body impressions, even with regular use over time.
There are two primary kinds of foam - conventional and high resilience (HR). The density of a foam (a weight for a given volume) is not a measure of firmness, but rather a measure of support. Different levels of firmness can be created for the same density of foam. Nevertheless, density and firmness do tend to parallel one another, and so typically, HR foams have been chosen for support, while conventional foams were chosen for comfort. Ultracel beats both at each other's game.
Indentation Forced Deflection (IFD) is a measure of how much weight is necessary to compress a given piece of foam by a given amount. In fact, there are two measures taken, one is what does it take to compress the foam 65% (inner support) and the second by 25% (surface firmness). The ratio of the two measures is the most telling. Ultracel foam consistently provides superior support compared to both conventional and HR foams across the board, regardless of density!
Ultracel also performs better than conventional foams in resilience tests. In this test, a steel ball is dropped on a piece of foam from a given height and resilience is expressed as the percentage of the original height that is reached on the first bounce. The "spring" or "bounce back" is what people associate with comfort and Ultracel is 25% more resilient than conventional foam.
In a variety of other tests, for example dynamic fatigue by roller shear and 90% compression set, Ultracel continues to outperform both conventional and HR foams. The result is a better foam that is typically only used by high end furniture manufacturers.
Ultracel™ foam is made from BiOH polyols, a soybean derivative. The BiOH polyols reduces petroleum-based polyols in the polyurethane foam manufacturing process by approximately 20% with the end result being a product that remains exceptionally high in quality, but is much more environmentally friendly.
Ultracel foam is made using the oil of the soybean which is a renewable resource making it safe to the environment. It is fabricated using a state-of-the-art carbon filtration system to reduce the emissions from the production of polyurethane foam. The overall system can be described as an activated carbon system working to absorb contaminants from a stream. This system uses activated carbon pellets that are 100% recyclable.
3) Spring-down cushions. (This is an optional upgrade for $75 per seat cushion.)
Although these super-premium cushions are still "firm" they are more "plush" than the Ultracel foam cushions. Our Spring-down cushions are backed by an unlimited lifetime warranty (except on the fabric.) If you ever have a problem we will replace it free of charge.
Spring Down cushions are designed for a softer initial feel but to be highly supportive once compressed. To achieve this, the heart of the cushion is a pocketed coil spring unit (also known as a Marshall unit) made with 14 gauge tempered steel springs that are individually wrapped in a fabric cover and mechanically tied together to create a complete innerspring core. The spring core is then wrapped top and bottom with a 2.4 density Ultracel® foam cap and surrounded with a 2.4 density Ultracel foam border to completely encase the spring unit. Next the foam is wrapped in a 1" thick layer of 2 oz. polyester fiber. The final cushion is then encased in a tightly woven channeled envelope of high quality down proof ticking, and filled with a 50% blend of feathers and down, and 50% super slick conjugated fiber. The final cushion provides a smooth elevator type of ride as each material layer yields as the weight is distributed. The first level of comfort comes from the slow release of air from the down proof ticked envelope. The second level comes from the compression of the feather-down and fiber layer and the air stored within. Lastly, you will feel the support of the innersprings as they equally distribute your weight across the cushion.
Both our Ultracel and Spring-down cushions are available in 3 configurations: Roll-front (also known as bullnose) cushions,, Box Cushions, and Box T-cushions. These different shapes alter the styling of the sofas. They have nothing to do with overall quality or durability although the roll-front cushions do tend to "wrinkle" more easily than the box cushons with some types of fabrics.
Our standard cushion shape is the roll-front cushion (also known as a bull-nose cushion.) The roll-front cushion is generally considered more "casual."
Cushion Thickness: Our cushions are 8" thick at the corners and 8 1/2" thick with a slight crown in the center of the cushion. Our 2.4 density Ultracel foam cushions have a 5 1/2" foam core with a 3/4" polyester fiber on each side. This allows our cushions to keep their shape and resilience far longer than cushions using less foam and more fiber. (Foam is considerably more expensive than fiber.)
Optional Box Cushions. Box cushions are slightly more expensive ($50 per sofa and $25 per chair or sectional unit) because of the extra labor required to sew the double welting all around the cushion. Box cushions are generally considered to be more "formal" than the roll-front cushions.
Optional T-Cushions. "Box" T-cushions ($100 per sofa, $50 per chair) will give a more formalized "traditional" look. One advantage of the T-cushion is that it adds more leg room when lying down on the sofa since the cushion extends out in front of the arm.
Back cushions have a different construction than the seat cushions. Our back cushions consist of 3.25lbs. of virgin conjugated polyester fiber (the highest grade available.)
Here is a diagram of our Spring-down cushion.
Here is a diagram of a foam cushion. The cushion below specifies a polyurethane foam. Our standard cushions have the same construction except that we substitute a long-lasting (and significantly more expensive) Ultracel HR high resilience foam in place of the polyurethane. Our Ultracel cushion comes with a lifetime warranty.