Why are kiln-dried sofa frames better than air-dried or any other kind? They are considered a safe bet in terms of being strong enough to last a long time for several reasons. However, before we going into those reasons, remember that it is not just important to look for kiln-dried frames, but hardwood kiln-dried frames.
Different Types of Wood
Hardwood is obtained 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 strength is needed, such as sofa frames. When looking for a kiln-dried wood frame, remember to seek one 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 particleboard. Particleboard 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 moisture content is important as it helps to ensure the wood doesn't warp or shrink with changes in humidity and temperature. Warping or shrinkage can destabilize a sofa, and even cause it to lose its shape. You would not see that happening with a quality kiln-dried hardwood sofa.
Air drying can also work well, but, oftentimes the process is not controlled enough, so you cannot be sure that the wood's moisture content is sufficiently reduced.
Sofa Frame 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. in fact, many leading manufacturers now use well-constructed plywood frames.
Kiln-dried sofa frames are superior because you can be sure about the reduction of the moisture content to a satisfactory level—just make sure they are made from hardwood and not softwood.
A well-constructed frame has reinforced joints that are dowelled and glued and uses screws instead of staples. When looking for frames that will last, make sure to ask about how it has been constructed because that is just as important.