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How to tell a good Quality Chesterfield

At first glance, a good quality Chesterfield and a cheap Chesterfield may appear identical – but dig a little deeper and look a little closer and you’ll find the budget option shows several signs of poor craftsmanship.

Here’s what to look for …

FRAME

Good Quality

A good quality Chesterfield will have a frame made of seasoned beech hardwood, with rails that are over specified in dimension to provide many years of trouble-free use. Additionally, screw fixed strengthening corner blocks are used to maintain the integrity of the frame’s shape.

Poor Quality

On the other hand, a cheap Chesterfield typically has a frame made of mixed timbers, chip board panels and rails of minimum thickness, with its shaping pieces often fastened together with staples and glue rather than using dowelled joints.

FOAM

Good Quality

The padding over the frame on a quality Chesterfield is a combination of different foam densities, which provide a soft outer feel and the guarantee that the frame will never be detectable. The foam padding composite is fixed in place on the frame by hand and the position of all the individual upholstery buttons is marked.

Poor Quality

The foam to be used for the padding is typically of the minimum density sufficient to provide an initially acceptable feel. Over time, however, it’ll be possible to easily feel the frame through the flattening foam fillings, which makes for a very uncomfortable piece of furniture.

LEATHER

Good Quality

The cover is cut to template from top quality full hides and then upholstered onto the padded frame by a highly skilled upholsterer. The leather underarms and outside backs are attached and individual nail studs are hand tacked to provide attractive detail along the joining lines.

Poor Quality

The cover on the arms, back and cushions will be leather, but vinyl is used on the underarms and outback. The leather will sometimes be from full hides or as offcut pieces sewn together to make larger sheets, which is often referred to as a “demic”.

UPHOLSTERY

Good Quality

Each button is precisely positioned and the downward pressure holds the neat tight pleats that create the whole effect. On the top of the arms and back, the buttoning goes all the way through the frame, which provides a sound compaction guaranteed to maintain the shape of the whole item.

Poor Quality

To create the buttoned upholstered effect, the foam sheet is placed on a horizontal jig and the cover placed on top. Prong buttons are used to fasten the cover to the foam. This composite sheet is then placed over the frame and fixed in place around its edges. Because this buttoned pad is only attached to the frame in parts, it can tend to sag and move over time. The vinyl outside panels are then attached and finishing metal detail lines are placed to cover the joins between the cover panels. These metal lines are made up of metal nail heads fastened together in a strip with a fixing nail ever so often. The impression is of a line of individual stud nails.

CRAFTSMANSHIP

Good Quality

All of our skilled upholsterers undergo comprehensive training over several years within our workshop and can proudly call themselves traditional craftsmen. Put simply, every sofa we create can be relied upon to stand the test of time and look great for years to come.

Poor Quality

The whole process is undertaken by an unskilled or semi-skilled workforce who each has only one area of the item to work on. Their individual task can be learned within a matter of hours. The finished item will resemble a Chesterfield, but close inspection will reveal the diamond shaped button areas are uneven and wrinkled, while the pleats around the buttoned areas will be loose.

When it comes to purchasing a quality piece of furniture, you really do get what you pay for. More often than not, if the price of a Chesterfield looks too good to be true, it usually is. By heeding the advice above, you can be sure you’re buying years of enduring quality.

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