Is Horsehair Used For Upholstery For A Sofa? (Answered) 

Last Updated on September 25, 2022 by

Generally, horsehair fabrics are sorted for many purposes due to their toughness, durability, and care properties. They are thus applied in the upholstery of sofas in different designs, which are dependent on the preference of the person who would enjoy sitting on the couch.

What Is The Horsehair Upholstery Of A Sofa?

The process of adding extra comfort, springs, straps, and fabric or leather covers to chairs is known as upholstery. Upholstery also refers to the process of refinishing sofas. Generally, upholstery is the material that adds comfort and softness to sofas. Without upholstery, there is a general reduction in the thickness of the sofa. 

Horsehair Used Apart From The Upholstery For Sofas 

Horsehair Used Apart From The Upholstery For Sofas 

The longest hairs are utilized in fabrics, while medium-length hair is used to form bristles for paint, industrial, and home brushes, and concise hair is curled for stuffing in upholstered furniture and mattresses. The strings of beautiful violin bows are made of high-grade white horsehair. These are just a few of the uses of horsehair, but more benefits depend on the characteristics of the horsehair.

Types Of Upholsteries 

There are three types of upholstery: residential, marine, and commercial.

1. Marine Upholstery 

This type deals with water bodies, as the word suggests. The fabric chosen in this situation should be highly resistant to mold, durable, and fade-resistant.

2. Commercial Upholstery

Involves large-scale furniture production for different areas, hospitals, and gymnasiums, to mention a few. 

3. Residential Upholsteries

Involve the furniture in the living room where we stay. It is of a small scale. According to the owner’s preference, these sofas are woven in different horsehairs’ colors. This provides room for the customization of the sofas into different curves according to your needs and preferences.

Materials Used In Upholstering A Sofa

Materials Used In Upholstering A Sofa

Leather silk, cotton, and horsehair are used in sofas upholstery. However, leather is preferred because of its distinctive qualities compared to contemporary materials.

Why Is Leather The Most Durable Material For Sofa Upholstery?

Leather is probably the most durable upholstery for a standard sofa for the following reasons: 

1. Durability

For his reason, leather can withstand tension, and wear and tear relatively well compared to other fabric materials. It is advisable that in a family of small children and pets, the sofas should have leather fabrics. Leather is sophisticated and can be polished and altered into many colors depending on the buyer’s preference or the sofa’s owner.

2. Water-Resistant

This prevents the sponge and delicate parts of the sofa from absorbing unwanted water, leading to damage. It is also easy to eliminate tiny hairs from leather making it generally easier to maintain.

3. Leather Is Soft

Surprisingly, it becomes even smoother as time goes by. This makes it look and feel comfortable. Unlike other materials, which seem to fade after some time, leather maintains its color and softness. 

 Is Horsehair Still Being Used In Upholstery?

 In some areas, horsehair is still being used in upholstery; however, with increased technological advancement, horsehair is quickly being replaced with cheaper synthetic fibers produced in large quantities to sustain the large population. Being expensive to purchase, the rate at which horsehair is being used in stuffing sofas keeps on reducing as time goes by.

Additionally, the use of feathers and downs has significantly reduced due to the high maintenance of the required cushion. They require constant fluffing of the feathers and downs into the cushion after a short period. This is very expensive for the owners. That is why synthetic fibers (polyurethane foams) have risen to the occasion.

When Did Upholsterers Stop Using Horsehair?

Polyurethane foams began to replace horsehair across most home furnishing applications in the 1950s. Down and feathers were famous in high-end furniture for a few more decades. However, the high cost and disadvantage reduced their popular appeal.

The Cost Of Purchasing Horsehair For Sofa Upholstering 

Significantly, horsehair prices depend on sizes and amounts. On many occasions, this cost is considered expensive for many people, and it is a sign of prestige and pride. Often, the rich are the ones in a position to afford this. Horsehair is primarily derived from stallions, and prices range between $150–$400 per pound due to the sorting required to extract long hairs. However, paying a qualified weaver to weave the horsehair to your desired style costs even higher. It is because they need a lot of time to do upholstering.

What Is The Source Of The High Cost Of Horsehair?

Although horsehair grows the same way sheep’s hair, horsehair cannot be harvested from a single animal in significant quantities. This is because not the whole body is covered with harvestable hair. Horsehair requires excellent caution to prepare it for weaving to insult the injury.

What Is Horsehair Used For?

The lengthiest hairs are used often to make fabrics, while medium lengths are often used to create bristles for ink, light industry, and household brushes. Short hair is rolled up to stuff in soft furnishings and mattresses. The strings of violin bows are made of high-quality white horsehair.

Horsehair Fabric For Chairs And Sofas 

Horsehair fabric is distinguished by its smooth sheen, timeless simplicity, excellent durability, and ease of maintenance, which blend understated elegance with exclusivity and history. Such natural hair material is perfect for using a sofa and chair upholstery fabric.

Horsehair is the epitome of fabric used in chairs and sofas for many reasons. It can withstand relatively high tension because it is challenging, smooth, and easy to maintain. It comes in a variety of colors which may also be dyed according to the owner’s preference. Horsehair is expensive to purchase compared to other alternatives because they are relatively harder to harvest than wool.

It is because only a tiny section of a horse grows harvestable hair while the whole body can produce wool. Horsehair can be woven into different shapes. This includes curves and right angles. 

Urability Of Horsehair For Sofa Upholstery

The silky sheen, classic simplicity, high durability, and ease of maintenance are the distinguishing features of horsehair textile, which combines an elegant look with distinctiveness and tradition. This hair’s natural material is best suited for sofa and chair upholstery fabric.

 Horsehair And Chair Upholstery

 Horsehair, for example, is a mark of quality because it is tough, resilient, and considerably more expensive than the alternatives. It was employed in historical upholstery until the 19th century. However, its popularity continues to decrease with the emergence of modern ways of handling various types of furniture. 

The Significance Of Using Horsehair For Sofa Upholstery

Unlike any other type of fabric, horsehair takes a longer time to weave, let alone prepare them. The weaver has a more significant advantage since they can obtain right angles, edges, and curves according to the owner’s preference. In addition to that, horsehair is usually of excellent quality. This makes it solid and durable. Since it is expensive to purchase, it is often seen as a source of pride and prestige by those who own sofas upholstered using horsehair.

What Is Horse Hair Upholstery Stuffing?

As a traditional stuffing, horsehair is the longest, hardest, and most long-lasting of all animal strands of hair used in domestic upholstery. Significantly, this factor contributes to its high prices.  

Spinning Horsehair For Sofa Upholstery

It also depends on the breed of the horse. Some horses have very fine hair that cannot spin, but others have fluffy hair quickly turned and braided. The horse’s body hair cannot be rotated or braided, but the tail and mane can.

Before spinning horsehair for upholstery, wash it thoroughly in hot soapy disinfected water, then rinse in cold water. Next, dry it using hot air in a particular system once it is dry and ready for use. You can mix it with different colors for a specific machine for the desired outcome. Card it and leave it open after making the mixture dry before spinning. 

During spinning, consider combing it and placing it in a drafting device. This will make the horsehair form strands that ease the upholstering process. A notable feature of the strand is the appearance of ringlets that lie on each other. Strands that become single strings and spiral hair strands spiral in shape. 

The final process is passing the curled hair strands through hot steam and drying in an autoclave machine. The final process makes curls permanent in hair. The hair is then processed and stuffed in readiness to make mattresses and cushions. The sponginess enables the couch or sofa to be comfortable to sit on.

Final Thoughts

The use of horsehair in upholstering has dramatically reduced over the years due to many reasons. One of the main ones is that horses are not considered prestigious and are only owned by the rich with the high technology in motor vehicles. Strict laws have also been enforced to curb the destruction of horse lives. Horsehair is also scarce since horsehair grows in specific places, unlike sheep wool that extends throughout the sheep’s body. This makes the quantity of hair harvested horseless. Despite all these, horsehair is expensive but has many uses even in upholstery. .


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