Antique sofas are probably some the better pieces of furniture built.
Remember the sofa at your grandmothers house. The one with all the kids jumping on it. No need to fear of breaking it. Try that with a Sears, half price sale, sofa.
Most of the frames, in upholstered antiques, are make of hardwood. The joints were glued and dowel together with hardwood corner blocks. The frames would last forever if the fabric would hold up.
The cushions, allot of times, would have the spring system in it also for more added comfort.
Take a look at the sofa below. I would not give 5 cents for it. But under that ugly velvet fabric is a solid hardwood frame with a coil spring construction. This couch with a well wearing fabric on it will last you 30 years or more. Money well spent to have it reupholstered by a good upholsterer
As far as the spring construction many used the coil spring system, in the seat and back, which by far is the most comfortable.
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So when thinking of buying a new piece of upholstered furniture consider going to your local flea market or yard sale and find that gem. Have it reupholstered by a professional upholsterer and it will last you for many, many years.
The frame is more than likely made of hardwood not the cheap plywood that furniture is made with today. The frame is also reinforced with corner block that are screwed and glued into place. On top of that every joint will wooden dowels that are also glued in place. You could throw this off a 10 story building and it would not break.
So when thinking of buying a new piece of upholstered furniture consider going to your local flea market or yard sale and find that gem. Have it reupholstered by a professional upholsterer and it will last you for many, many years. Nowadays you you can buy furniture that is not very expensive and have 5 years to pay for it. Unfortunately this is about how long it will last. So it want good quality furniture you have to spend big money or buy that antique sofa for next to nothing and have it reupholstered with a good fabric and it will never wear out
If you are buying from a dealer , you are buying the frame. You want an authentic, quality antique frame in good condition. Have the seller show you the frame if possible. Many dealers leave the underside of a sofa or wing chair open so that you can see the construction. Sometimes dealers leave the back fabric attached with Velcro so that you can see the back frame.