Why are kiln dried sofa frames better than air-dried or any other kind? Kiln-dried sofa frames are considered a safe bet that your sofa frame is strong enough to last you a long time for several reasons. However, before we go into those reasons, you have to remember that it is not just important to look for kiln dried frames, but kiln-dried frames.
Different Types of Wood
Hardwood is wood that we get from trees such as oak, maple, cherry walnut, and other broad-leafed deciduous trees. This type of wood is stronger and better suited to most types of furniture making.
Softwoods come from evergreen trees such as pines and cedar. This type of wood can bend or dent easily and therefore is not suitable where you need strength, such as in sofa frames. So while it is good to look for kiln-dried wood, remember to seek a frame constructed from hardwood rather than softwood.
Engineered wood is just what the name implies. It has been engineered to achieve its present form. There are two types of engineered wood: plywood and particle board. Particle board is not suitable for sofa frames, or any weight-bearing frames for that matter, because they are made from wood chips and fibers glued together. Plywood is engineered by gluing several thin layers of wood together and can be strong enough for sofa frames depending on the type of wood and the thickness of the frame.
What Is Different About Kiln-Dried Hardwood?
Wood can hold a lot of moisture when it is first harvested. What makes a kiln-dried frame better is that the process gets rid of most of the moisture inside the wood. Kilns are huge ovens with very strictly controlled temperatures and humidity. The kiln drying process can remove approximately 93% of the wood's moisture.
This drastic reduction in wood's moisture content is important so that the wood doesn't warp or shrink with changes in humidity and temperature. Warping or shrinkage can destabilize your sofa, and even cause it to lose its shape. You would not see that happening with a quality sofa.
Air drying can also work well, but since oftentimes the process is not controlled enough, so you cannot be sure that the wood's moisture content is sufficiently reduced.
Are There Any Alternatives?
There are alternatives to kiln-dried hardwood frames.
Metal sofa frames are available, too, but metal can be prone to oxidation along with seasonal changes. Changes in humidity can affect metal frames, so look for one that has been treated to protect against atmospheric changes.
Plywood frames as long as they are thick enough can also work well. As a matter of fact, many leading manufacturers now use well-constructed plywood frames.
Important to Remember
Kiln-dried frames are superior because you can be sure about the reduction of the moisture content to a satisfactory level.
Another thing to remember about sofa frames is that a sofa frame that is made of kiln-dried hardwood is a much better choice than a softwood frame even if it is kiln dried.
A well-constructed frame has reinforced joints that are dowelled and glued and uses screws instead of staples. When you look for frames that will last, make sure to ask about how it has been constructed because that is just as important.