Why Theodore Alexander?
Theodore Alexander Furniture’s mission is to produce the highest quality upholstered furniture. In an industry where unfortunately quality products are becoming increasingly rare, our mission is unambiguous – we produce the best. We hope you will spend a few moments to review the list of quality features below. While we trust that you will find this list of interest, construction of quality upholstered furniture is more than a list of specifications. Quality is an attitude - the type of attitude that refuses to compromise. This attitude thoroughly permeates our entire organization and is embraced by all employees.
Theodore Alexander frames are made of kiln dried solid maple. Maple is used because it is a hard tight grain wood. Other woods such are oak and ash are never used because they are open grain woods which tend to split and are inferior for frame building. Many exposed wood carved frames are made of mahogany or beech.
The typical Theodore Alexander frame is made with 1.25” thick rails and 1.5” thick back leg posts. However, rails are as thick as 2.5” when necessary. Back legs feature one piece post construction. Both back post and front legs become integral parts of the frame by being double doweled into the side and front rails and secured with glued and screwed corner blocks. All joints, braces and corners are double doweled and secured with glue and screws.
All exposed wood frames are hand sanded and hand finished.
A quality eight-way hand tied seat construction is essential to the comfort of any upholstered furniture. Just as a quality box spring is vital to the comfort of a mattress, the comfort that you experience from a sofa cushion is dependent on a quality eight-way hand tied construction. While many companies claim to offer eight-way hand tied construction, extremely few produce a quality product. Theodore Alexander produces a true high quality eight-way hand tied job. The specifications for a top quality job include the following:
Cutting and Sewing:
- Only 7 ply nylon twine should be used.
- Coiled seat springs should be supported by propex webbing with steel bands under each row of springs.
- Seat springs should be four rows deep from front to back where space allows. Across the width of the seat, there should be a row of coiled springs approximately every 6 inches.
- Coil springs are available in various gauges of firmness. In order to provide comfort and proper support Theodore Alexander formulated each seat with up to five different gauges of springs in seats. In general firmer springs are used in the front and side rows for support while softer springs are used in the middle for comfort.
- Edge wire extends around the entire perimeter of the springs.
- Springs are insulated with cotton to minimize noise.
- Sinuous wire springs are used in the back as the support foundation for Marshall unit springs or the placement of a back pillow.
Every piece produced by Theodore Alexander is cut individually to insure pattern match. Great care and thought is given to the placement of the fabric pattern on your chair or sofa. Fabric is marked by pattern and cut in such a way as to leave a sew line on the face of the fabric. This more time consuming process insures that the sewing can be exact.
All welts are cut on the bias to provide the greatest strength and flexibility.
All seams are sewn to insure that the fabric pattern matches. Seams on stress points are top stitched for added strength.
#5 YKK steel zippers are used in all cushions and back pillows. While this zipper is more expensive, it has proven to be trouble-free during many years of service.
The art of upholstering involves more than simply stapling a fabric to a frame and is more than a list of specifications. It requires finesse - finesse that understands subtleties such as how to hand sew welts together, when an extra layer of cotton is necessary, and where to place a pleat. Below is a partial list of the highest quality upholstery standards which Theodore Alexander always employs.
Over the last 20 years upholstering techniques have evolved away from the use of cotton and toward the use of more foam in order to reduce the amount of labor. While Theodore Alexander uses high quality foam in arms and backs, we remain biased towards the use of generous amounts of cotton batting throughout every piece we produce. These heavier layers of cotton provide a more luxurious feel and look while allowing the upholsterer to shape the arms, deck, and back as demanded by the design. Furthermore, fabric is never applied directly over wood, foam, other fabrics or webbings; there is always a layer of cotton immediately under your fabric. This has the added benefit of reducing the wear on your fabric as cotton batting is not abrasive.
Upholstered backs or tufted designs feature Marshall units (connected small soft coiled springs which are covered in muslin) placed over no sag springs, a layer of foam and two or three layers of cotton. This labor intensive process insures that even our upholstered and tufted back styles offer support and comfort.
Wherever arms are pleated, a backward pleat is used so any excess fabric can be removed.
Skirts hang straight and match on all sides. Pellon (stiffener) is sewn into each skirt panel and skirts are lined with sateen. There are no staples or strips visible under the skirt.
Solid brass nail heads are individually applied.
Cushions and Pillows:
The old adage “you get what you pay for” is certainly true in the case of cushions and pillows. Other than the cost of fabric, cushions and pillows represent our single largest material cost. This is because Theodore Alexander uses the finest materials available. For example Theodore Alexander never cheapens our cushioning by blending down and feathers with polyester fiber or other synthetics. This inferior construction is know as "Blend Down". Our down and feather wraps are all down and feather. While this is more expensive, the result is a level of comfort that is possible only when adhering to this strict standard. Also all our cushions and pillows are made with down proof ticking fabric. We never use less expensive muslin or non-woven fabrics. The result is cushions and pillows which are more comfortable and longer lasting. Below is a list of the available seat cushion and back pillow constructions. While we offer optional cushion constructions in an effort to meet various customer desires, all our cushions and pillows are made to the same high standards.
Regency Down Cushion: With a few exceptions this cushion is standard. It has a core of high-grade polyurethane foam, which is surrounded by a double layer of down proof ticking. Between the layers of ticking it is a filling of 15/85 down/feathers. The ticking is channeled to prevent migration. Regency Down has a tailored appearance with a slight crown. It is best used when medium firmness is desired.
Spring Down Cushion: This cushion is constructed with two double layers of down proof ticking, channeled to prevent migration of down and filled with 15/85 down/feather. The core of this cushion is constructed with a Marshall unit encased in foam. This is our firmest cushion.
Chatsworth Cushion: This cushion has a small Marshall unit encased in foam at its core. This is surrounded with thick pads of 25/75 down/feathers on the top and bottom. The large amount of down requires frequent fluffing. However, this soft cushion has more resilience than our Tradition Down cushion. With the high crown and softness this is an excellent choice for single seat cushion sofas.
50/50 Down and Feather Cushion: This cushion is constructed entirely with 50% down and 50% feather. There is no foam or spring and foam core. It is our softest and most conforming cushion and the height of luxury. However, this cushion requires frequent fluffing in order to retain its original shape and customers should understand this maintenance requirement.
Oxford Down Back Pillow: This back pillow is standard on virtually all Theodore Alexander upholstery and is constructed with two double layers of down proof ticking, channeled to prevent migration of materials, and filled with 25/75 down/feathers. The center section is filled with microfiber with a denier of .09 millimeters. While expensive this fiber’s resiliency helps the back pillow retain its original shape. Because of the down content, this pillow requires periodic fluffing to retain its original shape and crown.
Down Back Pillow: This pillow is constructed of two layers of down proof ticking filled with 25/75 down/feathers. Because of the down content, these pillows require periodic fluffing to retain their original shape and crown.
Canadian Down Throw Pillows: This throw pillow is standard on virtually all Theodore Alexander upholstery and is constructed of two layers of down proof ticking filled with down and feathers. Because of the down content, these pillows require periodic fluffing to retain their original shape and crown.
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