We had the opportunity to conserve the wonderful Eastlake style sofa-bed by A. Hansen Co., Chicago, Ill., below. Our client restored a Victorian in NE Portland, and this sofa-bed will grace her office.
This is the sixth post in a series on this project, and the “buildup” series will take you through the buildup of both the mattress and the seat, back and arms — the last three being the more traditional parts of a sofa. This post continues from the previous post: East Lake Sofa-Bed Upholstery #4A: Mattress Spring Buildup. To begin at the beginning go to Eastlake Sofa-Bed Upholstery Conservation #1: Excavation.
This post will show the buildup for the sofa-bed seat proper. We continue filming Mitchell treating the pieces, and allowing him to explain the solutions he created to the problematic areas of the piece. I apologize in advance for my shaky filming; this is our first attempt and some videos are better than others.
EAST LAKE SOFA-BED BUILDUP #20 (3:24) + #21 (5:05) + #22 (2:24) SEAT SPRING: Mitchell demonstrates lashing the seat springs to the seat deck in a #4 position, including slip knots and locking stitches. He decided to leave a mistake in the video as it is a common mistake, and he thought that leaving it in was a teaching moment. It also shows that it is easy to see when a mistake is made. In #21 Mitchell corrects his mistake in #20, and re-ties the lashing. He shows a clinch-it, a modern tool, which is commonly used now, but in the 1880’s would have simply been tacked into place. He uses clinch-its to temporarily hold the spring in place in treatments with new webbing, not in conservation projects where the old webbing is used. In #22 he continues the lashing demonstration.
EAST LAKE SOFA-BED BUILDUP #23 (2:23) SEAT SPRING: Mitchell shows the seat springs halfway tied, and the determination of the height and compression of the springs. Mitchell explains why he went to a 8-way (double) lashing after he began tying the seat springs: the softness of the springs.
EAST LAKE SOFA-BED BUILDUP #24 (1:07) SEAT SPRING: the seat is dropped into the mattress position to show the 8-way (double) lashing.
EAST LAKE SOFA-BED BUILDUP #25 SEAT SPRING: Mitchell demonstrates truing funnels for proper compression and to prevent spring fatigue, and a tie fix, and discusses the older springs versus a new steel spring, and how they “sit.”
EAST LAKE SOFA-BED BUILDUP #26 SEAT SPRING: Mitchell shows a sampling of tying springs, a course front to back.
EAST LAKE SOFA-BED BUILDUP #27 SEAT SPRING: Mitchell demonstrates wrapping the front spring tie to prevent abrasion.
EAST LAKE SOFA-BED BUILDUP #28 SEAT SPRING: The sprung seat is completely tied, and Mitchell discusses why he made various decisions and discusses how the ties operate.
EAST LAKE SOFA-BED BUILDUP #29 SEAT SPRING: With the tied sprung seat in a sitting position, Mitchell speaks to the elevations and contraction from front to back and at the sides.
EAST LAKE SOFA-BED BUILDUP #30 SEAT SPRING: A change at the front just before applying the burlap topper, Mitchell decides upon a fence along the front to allow the edge to be seen as an edge.
EAST LAKE SOFA-BED BUILDUP #31 SEAT SPRING: The burlap topper is on, and Mitchell demos the locking stitch in a Holbein pattern, both horizontally and vertically to secure the topper to the spring top. He also shows a locking stitch.
EAST LAKE SOFA-BED BUILDUP #32 SEAT SPRING POD: The historic pod is applied to the seat deck. Mitchell discusses historic elevations as they relate to the back rail, and the opening into the mattress. It does not seem to be correct, but as Mitchell works with the piece to make adjustments, comes to a different conclusion in a later video. He discusses the historic pod itself. And our office cat follows me into the studio!
EAST LAKE SOFA-BED BUILDUP #33 + #34 SEAT SPRING POD: Mitchell discusses the buildup of stuffings under the original seat pod, and demonstrates stitching stuffings to the seat deck. #34 shows flax straw, Algerian (shredded palm frond), and polished red coir or coconut fiber.
EAST LAKE SOFA-BED BUILDUP #35 SEAT SPRING DECK + POD: Algerian and coir are applied to the seat deck, and Mitchell discusses and demonstrates the stitches; then the historic pod is set onto the seat deck.
EAST LAKE SOFA-BED BUILDUP #36 SEAT SPRING DECK + POD: Mitchell is securing the seat pod to the seat deck, and demonstrating stitches (looping locking back-stitch; bridle stitch/finger stitch) used in that process. The front edge roll is shown.
EAST LAKE SOFA-BED BUILDUP #37 SEAT SPRING DECK + POD
The next step is the buildup of the sofa seat and inside back: East Lake Sofa-Bed Upholstery #4C: Mattress Buildup Continued.
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