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: Chair frames of mainly plywood!  ( 5032 )
baileyuph
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« : July 06, 2015, 09:11:36 PM »

Worked on two wingbacks today and was reminded that strong frames can be made of plywood.  I have done these before but had forgotten about the plywood bit - this project was a reminder.

That given, after checking the frames (mainly plywood but not all) they were strong and holding up well.  For kicks, the plywood was measured at 13/16 th inch.  Pretty thick I thought.  I was somewhat impressed of the plywood joinery also, it was holding up well.

Bottom line, plywood can be used effectively in furniture framing.  Seen them before but not that often lately.

BTW, these chairs were made in USA (if I think about it I will get the brand later).

Doyle

SteveA
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« #1 : July 07, 2015, 05:46:46 AM »

The plywood may not have been from the US - what I get is usually scant under 3/4 inch ?
Anyway plywood is strong if it's screwed and doweled together - rather then butt joined and stapled. 
The plywood boards I see most often broken is that flake board crap.   
SA
baileyuph
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« #2 : July 07, 2015, 07:25:16 AM »

Retrieved the brand of chair these are:  Sam Moore - That brand has been around a long while.

I will venture to say over 30 years.

Anyone know specifics about their plywood framing?  My small intuition, being around so long, is the chairs have been made in the USA.

The joinery of plywoods they exhibit is a locking joint, plus something else to fully lock the joints tight.

Definitely a different approach and Sam Moore chairs were not cheap to buy.

Just a thought to ask; it isn't all that important but will anyway - I don't know if 13/16 th inch was an incorrect measurement (may as well could have been 3/4 inch, but ask if there might be other markings that would identify where/who made the plywood.  These chairs are probably around 30 years and Sam Moore was making them even longer.  I thought they were made somewhere around Michigan, my best recall.

Doyle
« : July 07, 2015, 07:35:20 AM DB »
kodydog
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« #3 : July 07, 2015, 08:12:09 AM »

I don't think anything will beat a good old hardwood frame. The problem with frames these days are the joints just don't match. And  trying to use a clamp to pull the joint together just warps the whole frame.

Plywood is okay as long as its thick enough. I've seen a lot of plywood frames where the front rail is warped from the stress of the springs. Or the spring clips failed because the staple holding them in came loose. I've also seen high quality sectionals that were built like a brick s@#t house. They were doweled and screwed using plenty of glue. They were built with 1" or thicker plywood. They had cross rails in the springs and large corner blocks. I'm not familiar with the brand you speak of but personally I would not build a wing chair out of plywood unless I was on a tight budget.

 



« : July 07, 2015, 08:15:38 AM kodydog »

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sofadoc
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« #4 : July 07, 2015, 09:28:12 AM »

I've just finished a couple of Massoud chairs that were made in '93.

There was a lot of plywood used in the construction. But it is good thick plywood, and the chairs are still rock solid. And the foam still looks like it has never even been sat on. I don't think that brands like Massoud and Henredon are turning out that kind of quality nowadays.

The only difference (now) between a Massoud frame and one from Rooms To Go, is that the one from Rooms To Go will likely have cheaper foam, but will cost less.

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
byhammerandhand
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« #5 : July 07, 2015, 08:34:39 PM »

Had to fix an ottoman yesterday.   Across the top of the frame were two pieces of OSB, roughly 3/4" x 4"

The woman said her step-mother, who weighed about 125 lb soaking wet,  sat on it in the first 30 minutes after delivery.   When I got there I could pull the supports and the support blocks out with my hands leaving a trail of staple legs.

Keith

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." Thomas A. Edison
MinUph
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« #6 : July 07, 2015, 08:41:21 PM »

Had to fix an ottoman yesterday.   Across the top of the frame were two pieces of OSB, roughly 3/4" x 4"

The woman said her step-mother, who weighed about 125 lb soaking wet,  sat on it in the first 30 minutes after delivery.   When I got there I could pull the supports and the support blocks out with my hands leaving a trail of staple legs.

I bet it looked pretty in the showroom.

Paul
Minichillo's Upholstery
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byhammerandhand
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« #7 : July 07, 2015, 08:46:37 PM »

I'm sure it did.

In the last couple of years, I've worked with some Chinese plywood.   You cannot buy worst cr@p than this.  top veneer microscopically thin and splintery.   Internal plies often have voids and stuff that looks like straw.  And plies laid up willy-nilly.   A 3/4" thick piece might have 5 layers here and 10" away 12 layers.   Slam it in there, let the press take care of it.  A few years ago I was doing a job for a customer and he grabbed the cutoffs and put them on the loading dock.  I needed a small piece and went to look for a scrap.   In the misty weather for 20 minutes and it was already delaminating.  I think they used duck spit for adhesive.   

After the last time, I swear I'll never buy that stuff again.

Keith

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." Thomas A. Edison
wizzard
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« #8 : July 09, 2015, 06:40:29 PM »

Quote
I don't think anything will beat a good old hardwood frame
e]
I'm quite old fashioned and had the same opinion but had to change my opinion recently.

Had to re-upholster some furniture from Ligne Roset.
A high end french furniture manufacturer.
Everything done with very good quality plywood. Rock Solid build - like a Tank.
Yes their furniture is contemporary, so their design calls for plywood.
But nothing like their Chinese counterparts. Screws were all stainless steel - a pleasure to work with.
A little bit heavy to lift but liked very much their Idea's of upholstery.
Original workmanship perfect no shortcuts.
All the Leather pieces top-stitched with no welting a lot prefabricated pieces like slipcovers.
Would like to have more of these pieces to work on.

 
baileyuph
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« #9 : July 10, 2015, 07:25:16 AM »

This thread actually points out the furniture market is driving quality of or lack of quality in new furniture.

Keith had an experience that is common (for furniture made today), some others have related experience of noting quality can be incorporated in furniture (furniture made of or incorporating plywood that is).

The overiding issue driving these different experiences is marketing cost; when consumers are primarily driven by cost , manufacturers have to cut value and when quality is the consumer focus, good quality at a price can be produced by manufacturers.

One over riding issue of this development is where will small shops like ours be in the next 10 years?  The repairs/reupholstering demands will not or likely not be strong enough for us to conduct business as we do today.

How do we envision our operations in -- say about 3 to 5 years?  What will be there to sustain the small shop?

Doyle
byhammerandhand
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« #10 : July 11, 2015, 08:12:13 AM »

Decent plywood is fairly strong, though not as much as solid lumber.

Advantages of plywood include
- lower cost per bd. ft.
- No need to plane faces, remove warp, and joint edges
- less waste (possibly)
- ability to use CNC machinery to cut parts, optimized layout on standardized dimension sheets
- No worries about stress on short grain lines or grain runout
- No knots, rot, wane or other defects to work around.
« : July 11, 2015, 02:33:13 PM byhammerandhand »

Keith

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." Thomas A. Edison
bobbin
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« #11 : July 11, 2015, 03:19:54 PM »


Very interesting thread, you guys.  I don't get into upholstery personally, but I'm always on the prowl for interesting pcs. set out for trash collection!  I've found some real plums, too!

I look for nice "lines", something that pleases my eye from an aesthetic standpoint.  If I like it enough I'll stop the car, get out and give the pc. a good strong "jiggle".  Wobbly doesn't necessarily frighten me off... but I'll definitely rip off the cambric and do a cursory "exploratory". 

I understand that manufacturers have to find ways to cut material costs while still maintaining their preferred level of quality, so it's good to know that plywood doesn't necessarily mean, "cheap" or "crap".  I think the nugget here is that the pcs. were dowelled/screwed... not stapled. 
MinUph
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« #12 : July 11, 2015, 08:20:17 PM »

I've seen many plywood frames since I've been back in the business. I remember when it was first being used probably in the 80s when we started seeing it. It was a Sin back then. Mainly because the plywood frame members were designed to be built like the hardwood frames of the past. This just did and doesn't work. It takes different joinery to make a decent plywood furniture frame. Hence CNC and the joinery it provides.
  If you have good plywood and good joinery I would dare say you will end up with a good frame. Put crap in any of the process and it will not be good.

Paul
Minichillo's Upholstery
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gene
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« #13 : July 11, 2015, 09:20:50 PM »

In talking about marketing costs, here's a fascinating article about Costco and why they sell their roticessery chickens so cheap. You don't see this issue in big companies very often.

Quote
...where will small shops like ours be in the next 10 years?
I hope my shop has a sign on the door, "Gone fishing, or some other retirement type pursuit."

I think there will always be work for furniture upholsterers. As the overall volume of business decreases, the number of upholsterers dying and retiring is increasing. I think there will always be young folks willing to learn the trade, but maybe in conjunction with other trades.

I think custom upholstery will continue to grow in it's focus on quality, and away from the "rag and tag" days.

gene



QUALITY DOES NOT COST, IT PAYS!
Steve at Silverstone Fabrics
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« #14 : July 12, 2015, 12:57:08 PM »

Great topic.

Several years back I purchased a couple of R&D frames from a nationally known high end furniture company and stapled to the frame was "confidential" notes. On these notes were some interesting facts about the frame. The ones I remember were: The frame was cut in under 5 minutes and from 2 sheets of furniture grade plywood (1.25" thick). The yield from the two sheets of plywood exceeded 85%. .........or less than 15 % waste.

Here is an interesting article I read the other week: http://www.performancepanels.com/upholstered-furniture
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