Questions & Answers

Candid answers to your questions about furniture and design.

View All Questions

What's an 8-way hand-tied suspension?

Hi there, I'm Chris with Roger + Chris and I'm here to answer an important question for you today. What's an 8-way hand-tied suspension system and why should I care?

Well, an 8-way hand-tied suspension system, first of all, a suspension system on your sofa is the set of springs that sit beneath the cushions beneath that black fabric that's underneath the cushions. That's where the springs are. There's a couple different types of suspension systems: sinuous springs, kind of a lower end suspension system; pocket coil suspension system is what we use; and then 8-way hand-tied.

And gosh, you know, a lot of people really hear that term, they latch onto it, they really, really want it, and they don't necessarily know why. Here's what it is. It's probably between eight and 12 large coil springs that sit in your sofa. They are attached in eight different positions to the frame of the sofa. That's where the 8-way hand-tied thing comes. What is that for? Well, those eight different directions of connection keep that spring locked in place. So it is prevented from moving around, and it isn't gonna slide out of place or come undone or anything like that. When an 8-way hand-tied suspension system, which is a very long term that I'll keep repeating, when it's done well, it's very durable, it's very effective, and it's just kind of, you know, you forget about it, it just works. That's great. I don't think it's that big of a deal.

I think it's one of those things that is considered a luxury because it's considered a luxury. It's expensive because it takes a lot of time to make it. Because it is hand tied and it's a lot of labor. That's it. It's a traditional way of doing sofas.

Now, hey, we're big on tradition. We build our frames the old-fashioned way. We do our tufting the legit, old-fashioned way. However, sometimes, you know, sometimes there's technology that comes in, solves problems that weren't solvable before.

Here are a couple of problems potentially with an 8-way hand-tied suspension system. First of all, you know, it has these hand-tied connections, right? So every spring has 16 different points that have to be hand-tied. We believe in hand craftsmanship. I think it's really important we do it well. It's something we're fully onboard with, however, you are introducing so many potential points with failure. I think that's an important thing to consider. You don't have a tremendous amount of redundancy with a suspension system like this, so if you have a failure of one spring, you're gonna know it. There's no real opportunity for another spring to kinda take over the load. So that's problem number one.

Problem number two. The company that made the high quality twine that was essential to this hand-tying process is no longer making that twine. It is not available anymore. And what is now out there on the market is of lower quality, lower strength and durability. And what we're starting to see, you know this is a relatively recent development, what we're starting to see is that these previously relatively failure-resistant systems are starting to fail because that twine is just not of the level of quality it once was. It's a new problem. It's just come about in the last few years, but I think it's something to be concerned about.

Finally, we are in a world where marketing sometimes trumps all and there are certain companies out there, large companies that send you large catalogs in the mail every six months for no reason at all. Companies like that are advertising that they're using 8-way hand-tied suspension systems and either, straight up or not, and are using sinuous spring suspension systems which you should never pay a premium for. Or, they're doing a drop-in, 8-way hand-tied suspension thing which is sort of like, I don't know, it's like, it's like fake cheese. It's not the real thing. It's pre manufactured, pre assembled to a certain size, and then it just sorta gets plopped into the frame and attached in a few places and the whole point of that sort of suspension system is that it is handmade for that sofa so it's sort of contradiction in terms.

Um so I think, you know, there are craftsman out there that are doing these and swear by them and I think they're absolutely right in that they are high quality when done well. But that, when done well, is a really important thing to consider. So, if you don't really know who's building your furniture, I don't know.

We have a system we use that we have really fallen in love with. It's very reliable for us. It never gives us problems. It's called pocket coil suspension. I think you should watch the video on that to get a little familiarity with it and I think you may just feel that it's the right system for you too.

More Topics

What is an English roll arm sofa?
Should I feel bad about myself for buying a neutral colored sofa?
Should I put casters on my sofa?

We'd love to keep in touch

Sign up for our very occasional newsletter featuring news, design ideas, semi-literate ramblings, specials, tips and tricks, giveaways, and other things that you will (gosh, we hope) enjoy.


Well Built in the U.S.A.

© 2009-2019, All Rights Reserved

How do you feel about the latest season of RuPaul's Drag Race?
Because we have some OPINIONS.