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Thread: Precedent Contemporary Upholstery?

  1. #1

    Default Precedent Contemporary Upholstery?

    Is anyone familiar with this brand of furniture? Their website states they are a sister company of Sherrill, but I'm not certain if that means the construction is the same as Sherrill. My current much-loved and much-worn sofa is by Sherrill, and it's almost 20 years old. It's time for a new sofa! I like a couple of their contemporary sofas, but I want to make certain the quality is there.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: Precedent Contemporary Upholstery?

    Precedent is not the same quality as the original Sherrill that you have now. As I remember, Precedent allows buyers to select certain features like the kinds of sections in a sectional, arm height, arm style, end pieces that are not the same on both ends, etc.

    They have some modern pieces that are fairly firm, don't sit back too deep, sit upright and are reasonably comfortable for the style.

    My opinion is they are a mid level brand with a good price point and reasonable quality. As long as you pick a fabric that has a high double rub cycle count of at least 50,000 or better, the sofa should hold up for 10 years or so depending on how it's used. I prefer to buy fabric covered sofas and chairs that have detachable independent backs and seats so I can rotate them and replace the inner cushions if necessary. When we first started buying fabric covered seating, my wife bought it based on the color and pattern along with the sales person's ("designers") recommendations on wear. That turned out to be a mistake.

    Now we only buy fabrics that have the double rub count listed along with complete contents. We lean toward commercial fabrics for durability. Second to fabric is the content of the inner cushions. In general, cushions die first. Next is the spring construction, and finally the type of frame. We've never had a bad frame in our chairs or couches in the medium priced lines and up. Some of the spring construction has been a problem.

    The furniture we've bought has been used in our homes and in my commercial buildings. So I've had a lot of it.

    For frames, kiln dried hardwood is good. Engineered lumber with hardwoods is also okay. No plastic, metal, nailed or screwed together frames. Stick with dowels and glue.

    For springs, stay away from prefab coils and zig zag springs. Eight way hand tied is okay. That phrase is used on almost every piece made, and most of them are not true eight way hand tied springs. True eight way hand tied is knotted on each spring, not simply wrapped. If the coils are wrapped between the first and last knot, if the string that binds the coils breaks all the coils it linked together are cut loose. Not good. So ask about knots on each coil. And don't believe anyone who tells you every eight way hand tied system is knotted at each coil. Flexsteel has a good spring system, even though it's not eight way tied coils.

    Inner cushions of down wrapped high density high resilient foam are usually good but soften and compress over time. Medium firm high density foam is 33 lbs. Higher density foams keep their shape longer but are firmer. Firmness is a measured in load deflection. You have to decide on a balance between softness, holding its shape and longevity. Find out the ratio of down to foam. I won't go above 20% no matter how much my butt approves because my arms get tired of fluffing. The government says down to foam ratio's only need to be approximate, and it's a wide range. If the tag says the ratio is 20% down to foam, the true ratio may be much less.

    What you should buy depends on your budget, where it is going to be used and by whom. I looked at the Precedent line for casual comfortable furniture for moderate use in the basement.. I also liked the fact that the pieces we looked at were firm, weren't deep and didn't lean back too far when we sat down. They're using some kind of micro-spring (small plastic woven core) in their cushions. I don't know how that will hold up. It's too new. I prefer solid core cushions, but ones they had were comfortable.

    In a living room that is for show, the rub count of the fabric isn't as important as the look. I've put drapery fabric on couches, and it wears fine for occasional use. I would never consider it for a recliner.

    Recliners that get everyday use wear out on foot rests, arms and seats. Usually it's the foot rest that goes first. On my cloth recliners, I buy extra material so I can recover the foot rests if I need to.

    If the fabric look isn't as important as the durability because of kids, dogs and food droppers, I like the micro fiber mix. However, it doesn't come in fancy patters so my wife generally won't go for it when it's to be used in the house because we don't need the durability and wipe up ability.

    I've spent many hours in fabric showrooms going through thousands of samples of fabric just to recover a couple of chairs. Fabric samples give off fumes that mess up my brain for days. Maybe designers think that's fun, but I don't. Instead of fabric books with names like Mediterranean Gold or Sea Breeze, the books should be named Practical, Durable, Reasonably priced, Insanely priced and Designer Love.

    If you want to recover your Sherrill, look at Robert Allen Closeout fabrics on the web. I've bought a lot of yardage for $9 to $12 a yard in fabric that was originally priced at $50 a yard and above by stores like Ethan Allen. Be sure to buy from only one dye lot. Each dye lot and the amount of fabric available is listed on the RA closeout site. Using closeouts you could probably get your Sherrill redone for $1000 to $1300.

    Good luck buying your sofa. We didn't get the Precedent, but for casual use, I thought it was okay at its price point, especially in the contemporary format.

    Old line furniture companies like Sherrill buy (or start up) other furniture companies to make furniture for a specific style and price point in the market. They leverage their sales force, pressure dealers for more floor space and keep the main brand with the high reputation free from criticism and complaints when the lessor quality lines don't perform as well. They can also pick up new dealers that are focused on the mid-level markets. Twenty years ago the main line made in America furniture companies like Sherrill had better quality furniture than they have today. None of the factories can afford to put as much labor into a piece of furniture as they once did because the cost of labor is high. A lot of the former made in America furniture companies are now simply assembled in America companies. They get the parts from other countries and put it together here. If there's a quality problem with the covers, etc. they can switch them out before assembly. While that is better than shipping the finished piece to the US, it's still not what it once was.

    In addition, people are harder on furniture now. Remember the days of the clear plastic sofa covers? What a treat those were. On the other hand, there are tons more synthetics for making fabrics than there was 20 years ago when cotton was king. So there are trade offs. When a CNC machine makes furniture frame parts, imperfections are sometimes missed. Small knots and flaws in the wood weaken the frame. If those are missed during inspection, then the frames are assembled with the flaw in it. When frames were hand made, eyeballs inspected the wood many times during the process. If a knot was found it was cut out and new pieces were dove tailed or doweled into place.

    Everything today is about price point not about how long something lasts. Very few people even consider life cycle when buying. Appliances last half as long as they once did and sometimes they aren't worth repairing when they break. When Nylon gears replace metals gears, things are are lighter and cheaper to ship from other countries, but they don't last as long. Consumers wanted cheap, and they got it.

    Furniture companies know that most furniture is replaced long before it wears out because people get tired of looking at it, they move to a new house and the decor changes, they decide to remodel or the kids use it for a trampoline.

    If you love the Sherrill, recover it.
    Last edited by JackOlso; 07-21-2010 at 12:50 AM.

  3. #3
    elementscf Guest

    Default Re: Precedent Contemporary Upholstery?

    I agree. I feel like it is a company with mediocre standards. It might not be the best quality, and hopefully last you around ten years. And yes, your right, Quality is a must.

    Like the previous post I would try to go with a manufacturer that has a high double rub cycle count of atleast 50,000. If it is used in commercial industries it's bound to last a while. www.elementscf.com does custom commercial upholstery. Maybe check it out! Or get something from a liquidation sale?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    675

    Default Re: Precedent Contemporary Upholstery?

    I know you don't do much to conceal your connection with that company, it's being listed as your member name and your home page, but please make sure you're up front about affiliations in your posts. Advertising belongs in the Vendor Classifieds section of the forum.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: Precedent Contemporary Upholstery?

    The week of August 22, 2010 Precedent is offering dealers some incentives so some of the dealers are having sales. The local dealer is offering 40% off retail. Since Precedent is usually tagged on the floor at around 20% off suggested retail, this sale is reducing prices another 15% to 20% off the typical pricing. It's a good deal if someone wants Precedent furniture. The sale makes buying a sectional really attractive.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Precedent Contemporary Upholstery?

    This is my first post and not sure I'm jumping in at the right place. I'm looking at a Precedent and an Ethan Allen sofa. Thoughts on either of those two as far as quality, value, etc.?

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