“In The White” Furniture

The first sections of the lolling chair being “in the white.” The arms are covered in muslin, the seat is in the process and work on the back is underway.

Not sure what “in the white” is all about? You should read our latest release. This past Friday, 360 woodworking posted a 45-minute webinar-like video from Mike Mascelli on upholstery. (See Mike’s credentials, here.) In “Soft Sculpture Upholstery: A Lost Art,” Mike demonstrated a hybrid approach to adding the soft sculpture to a lolling chair while explaining historical methods used when upholstery was more than foam and fitted coverings. Mike believes that we are about to lose another piece of quality craftsmanship if we allow the old methods of upholstery to fade away. After watching his presentation, I share his point of view.

Old & New

During the presentation, Mike shares how stuff from a coconut – it’s called coir in the industry –  was used to stuff and shape chair seats, how the use of springs has changed and how influential the staple gun has become in the industry.

He also talks about how upholstered pieces were sold back in the period. Chairs, couches and other furniture pieces in need of coverings were brought to “in the white” before being offered for sale to the general public. Doing so allowed a customer to see how the furniture could look when completed, provided an easy way to make adjustments in the padding if need be and could then be covered with whatever material was selected by the customer.

Do you think customers today would make a purchase if the piece of furniture in which they were interested was simply covered in muslin and sitting in the showroom? Could you see the chair or couch in its finished state in your mind’s eye?

— Glen D. Huey

If you’re not a member of 360Woodworking, but you would like a copy of this presentation, you can purchase and download it here for a mere $2.00 – a savings of 60 percent.

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