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Anatomy of a Sofa
With sturdy materials and hand-finished details, a well-crafted sofa -- such as this one by Luther Quintana Upholstery -- can last 20 years, or longer with reupholstering.
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A frame of two-inch-thick kiln-dried maple, secured with dowels and glue, serves as a solid base.
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A solid-wood frame takes shape on a table at one of Quintana's two workrooms, this one in Brooklyn, New York; orange clamps help set the glue.
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Jute webbing is woven along the seat and tacked to the frame with a pneumatic tack gun.
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A back view of the jute webbing reveals a network of crisscrossing threads securing the eight-way hand-tied springs.
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The webbing is then threaded along the back and vertically along the arms of the sofa.
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Eight-way springs, which offer long-lasting support and flexibility, are hand-tied coil by coil with twine to the seat and back.
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Burlap is stretched over the seat and topped with cotton batting and synthetic horsehair. A second layer of burlap is sewn into place with a curved upholstery needle.
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Zigzag stitches on the seat tie burlap to the springs.
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Next, the sofa arms take shape, also with cotton batting, synthetic horsehair, and burlap. A primary layer of burlap is sewn over the springs on the back.
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The back is filled out with cotton batting, synthetic horsehair, and a second layer of burlap.
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Down-filled casing covers the back, topped with layers of glazed cotton and muslin, which helps grip the upholstery fabric. On a straight-backed sofa such as this one, the casing supplies the comfort in lieu of cushions.
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Yellow linen finishes the sofa, and the wooden legs are stained deep brown. The two cushions -- 80 percent down and 20 percent feathers -- provide a luxuriously plush seat.
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