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: Excelsior Alternatives?  ( 3857 )

« : August 23, 2011, 08:31:16 PM »

Availability of supplies needed to restore older, antiques normally, furniture have changed a bit over the years, primarily due to the change in the market.  Not as many of them being restored, needless to say.

So the question is what are the current alternatives to using excelsior, wood shavings to those who might wonder.

After the springs are tied and covered, is there a material someone would suggest using as a filler or padding?  Excelsior or moss were used in considerable quanties in the long past but there has to be something better, plus older materials are hard to find. 

Appreciate to know what the alternatives might be and where to get the material.

Thanks in advance, we have some antique work on the list to do.  I know it is against the grain of some craftsmen to deviate too far from original fillers but in this case the customer actually wants comfort and is not religious about this matter, is fair to say.  Feel free to state your ideas.


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« #1 : September 28, 2011, 09:18:24 PM »

Excelsior Alternatives?

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« : September 28, 2011, 09:19:13 PM kjwalkman »
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North Central Florida

« #2 : September 29, 2011, 08:51:19 AM »

I leave it up to the customer. I've restored and reupholstered many antiques and never had a customer demand that I use all original type padding.

I once worked next to an older upholsterer, he is in his 70's now and still going strong. He told me when he first started he had to mess with all that horse hair, Spanish moss, and straw. He said when poly foam first came out he was so happy because its so much easier to work with. He said if they had foam back then they would have used it. This is why I don't feel so bad when I remove old worn out horse hair and replace it with foam.

I can see for a showroom or museum piece why you would want to stay true to form and use the same type of padding that was originally used.

If your customer wants comfort and is not religious about restoring their furniture to original condition I'd go with foam. I think the important thing is to make it look as close as possible to the designers original intent.

The only time I cringe is when a customer wants to remove feather cushions for foam. Some chairs are designed for feather cushions and don't look right with foam in it.


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« #3 : September 29, 2011, 07:29:59 PM »

In the US:
synthetic hair, hog/horse hair mix, Synthetic /horse mix, 100% hose hair, coconut fiber.

In the EU:
All of the above plus spanish moss.

We use Spanish moss for the first stuffing and horse hair for the second,,,that's in regular shop
in high end shop it's all 100% hair, it's blonde, has a great loft and come in a pig tail form therefore it needs to go thru the picker.
You can get it already picked but it's more money.

The picker or carding machine does not exist here anymore, we have one that is hand operated, it's been around for hundreds of years and still does the job right without plugging it.
The electric ones have an integrated vacuum, therefore you can recycle and clean the old stuffing.
it's great for all fibers including wool, we use wool for mattresses and also for second stuffing in furniture.

Our trade is intrinsically related to natural animal fibers and natural vegetable fiber.
The stuffing that goes in your chair will last as long as the wood frame.
so every 40 years the scrims. and burlap need to be changed, the amount of hair remains the same and it's recycled....
I know ...such a foreign concept!

Some would say , its too much work and no-one wants to pay for it.
Get real you ain't gonna get rich during upholstery, might as well do it right and have fun doing it! beside isn't it all bout getting better and more skilled?
Joys Shop
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« #4 : October 02, 2011, 07:10:26 PM »


You can get Spanish Moss ?!?!?!?!!??

Where do you get it?

Can you get tow, also?


« #5 : October 02, 2011, 07:46:43 PM »

Tow is usually what color?

That comes from hemp and flax?  I am thinking it is usually brown.

I haven't seen much of that in a long time.

We used to get moss, but not sure where it can be obtained today.

What twine do you guys stitch to form those fillers?  I haven't seen the traditional natural twine in a long while.  The last two chairs I used a synthetic cord. 

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« #6 : October 03, 2011, 05:08:27 PM »

 Spanish moss suppliers:

Joys Shop
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« #7 : October 03, 2011, 08:20:45 PM »

That's what I was afraid of, you get it from Europe
you can get skin wadding there too

I can't afford the shipping

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