I so often get asked why one sofa is $995 and another $3500.  Well there is a reason.  Fortunately, I will be able to illustrate this for you since I witnessed the fabrication process at Hickory Chair U.  The most important aspect is finding out where the sofa was made.  Bench made upholstery is made in the US, usually in North Carolina. 

HC first starts with a kiln dried 1 1/4 in hardwood kiln dried frame that has been glued, screwed, and doweled in each joint.  They use 3-4 dowels instead of the industry standard of 2. 

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Notice how they shape the frame instead of using padding which shifts over time.

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8 way hand tied coils add support that will last for years.  Cheaper methods employ no-sag springs or just one size coil.  It was truly fascinating to watch them tie the coils. They were really fast, I got exhausted watching them.

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Time to get some padding, cushions, and upholstery. I won't put upholstery in a clients house unless it has pocketed spring coils inside the cushion.  This is another way some manufactures will skimp to keep the price down.  With out the springs, a dacron wrapped piece of foam will start to break down fast.  I've had spring down cushions last 16 plus years.  HC Spring down cushions are standard.  Nice!

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How about some fabric?  Not only does HC stock lots of fabric they will COM too.  COM is an acronym for Customer's Own Material.  I will be honest.  I COM almost everything.  Fabrics are not created equal and I need to know the rub test numbers.  Wyzenbeck in a rating system on fabric durability.  30,000 double rubs is considered heavy duty.  I have many in my repertoire with 100,000.  What can I say.  My clients have kids and pets.  That doesn't mean you have to give up the pretty though.  There are many durable, stain resistant fabrics that look sumptuous.  Again, this is yet another place where companies can really cut costs by using inexpensive fabric.

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Nail head trim is done one at a time at Hickory Chair.  Some of the imports and less expensive furniture brands use a strip of nails where only every fourth or fifth nail is real and tacked in.  The ones in between are faux nails.  It is way less labor intensive, and the strips are cheap.
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Almost done and ready to ship.  When that much labor and attention to detail is applied to each piece you know you're getting  quality, long lasting furniture.   I hope that explains why there is a price difference to upholstery.  There are so many ways to cut corners.  The old adage holds true.  You get what you pay for.  I hope you find this helpful when you head out to buy your next sofa.  I'm joining Met Monday over at Between Naps on the Porch .  Jump over and see amazing transformations.

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