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How to build an Eilersen

You don’t buy a sofa every day. When you do, you probably expect it to last you a lifetime. If you ever wondered what exactly goes into that, Eilersen are the people to ask. We have been in the business of making people sit comfortably for 120 years, and we know more about it than most.

These pages will tell you why


 

 

 

Slow-growing trees have fewer knots and less tension

Every Eilersen sofa is built on a framework of solid pinewood forlightweight, flexibility and durability. The pine is oven-dried to moisture contents of 8-10 %, fully traceable and certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). As the quality of the wood depends on slow and steady growth, we have a preference for Scandinavian pines from north of the 60th parallel, since the colder climate ensures unhurried growth with fewer knots and less tension. The advantage is reduced waste and a frame that never stretches or turns, no matter what you do to it.


We have a preference for scandinavian pines that grow north of the 60th parallel

Spiral grooved dowels hold stronger than dovetail joints

Spiral grooved dowels hold stronger than dovetail joints. We are proud to announce that Danish designed spiral grooved dowels are the best in the world. The spiral is pressed into the beech wood, reducing its width by 0.1 mm. Along with a precisely measured chamfer, the spiral ensures that the glue will cover the largest possible surface. When pressed into the hole, the moisture of the gluewill expand the dowel 0.1mm, providing the firmest possible joint. The spiral ensures that the glue will cover the largest possible surface.

The spiral ensures that the glue will cover the largest possible surface.


 

A little too much glue is better than a little too little

All adhesives used on wood are water based and contain a liquid melamine resin, which hardens slowly over 24 hours. For the same reason, the frames must be complete level as they harden. Critical joints should show “curtains” of excess glue as proof that the surfaces are complete covered. All glues are boildry-freeze tested and carry Greenguard Children & Schools Certification.


Critical joints must show “curtains” as proof that the surfaces are complete covered.

 

A frame fortified with a seat bracket will never let you down

The seat bracket is the curved piece aligning the longer sides of the framework. We make them out of solid beech wood or steel and mount them to secure that the frame preserves its flexibility and sturdiness, but never breaks or collapses. Most modern sofa manufacturers consider them a thing of the past, but we thought that you would like to be sure.


The seat bracket preserves the frame’s flexibility and sturdiness.

Without Masonite your sofa would soon look out of shape. 

Masonite is waterproof high-density hardboard made fromsteam-cooked and pressure-mouldedwood fibres. Like anything made from wood, it contains formaldehyde, but we adhere to the N-0 quality with the lowest possible content. 3 mm thick boards are used to cover and stabilize frames, armrests and inside backs.


Top quality Masonite has long fibres with high bending and tensile strength.

The soft staple is the one that jams your staple gun. 

At Eilersen, we not only have standards for the uniform performance of our staples. We even use them in three different sizes depending on the purpose – as opposed to one for all or maybe just a screw. For extra measure, all spring-holding staples are glue-coated for instant and permanent fixture. 


Staples are glue-coated for instant and permanent fixture

If it squeaks, replace the hinges – not the springs.

Firstly, never buy a sofa with cardboard-lined hinges or hinges entirely without coating. Our hinges are made from nylon-coated metal, and they are shot at pre-set distances between clamps with constant accuracy. An Eilersen never squeaks. Period. 

Long-lasting comfort and silent buoyancy are ensured by nylon-lined hinges.


 

Springs are tested to withstand a lifetime of impacts. 

High-grade steel and precision engineering produce nozag-springs of the highest quality and duration. 20 mm pitch and 40 mm width provide particular elasticity and the highestseating comfortfor fixed upholstery as well as loose cushions. All Eilersen springs are coated to prevent rust and secure lasting comfort. They are also tested to withstand more than 200,000 impacts without stretching, which is twice the European standard for public use. On average, you can sit down eighteen times a day for thirty years, and the look and bounce will be unaffected. 


200,000 impacts without stretchingis twice the European standard.

Foam padding is all about bulk density.

Polyurethane foam becomes softer with use, so the trick is to balance strength and comfort. The higher the density of your foam, the lower is the hardness loss and the longer the life of your sofa. Eilersen relies on cold foams, tried and tested according to ISO 2439 and ISO 3385 to a loss of hardness less than 15 % and a loss of thickness less than 3 %. Moreover, the foams are practically emission free. To prove it, all our sofas carry the Indoor Climate Label from Danish Technological Institute. 


The higher the density, the longer your sofa will stay in shape.

The one place we don’t want glue to harden. 

We would like to boast that we stick to water-based silicone glues at Eilersen. Not only where foam meets foam or frame, but also inside backs and cushions. In here, the trick is that the water-based glue will never harden completely,which ensures flexibility and prevents foams of different densities from moving. 


To prevent padding from moving, we use adhesives that stay flexible.

There is nothing like clean underwear. 

All Eilersen sofas come with an extra fixed calico cover underneath the top cover. The extra cover makes it a whole lot easier to remove and mount the top covers, if they need to be dry-cleaned, or if you decide on a complete makeover. If you are out to check the class of your sofa, just unzip and take a pee


Calico covers make it a whole lot easier to change the top covers.

Keeping our cushions in shape is a matter of principle. 

Casings from down-proof cambric in 100 % cotton cover all our cushions. Divided into channels, they prevent the filling frommoving out of place.The design provides comfort in a class of its own and makes sure that the sofa keeps its shape longer.


Channelled cambric prevents the filling from excess movement.

Choice of sewing thread may be our least visible quality.

Perfect upholstery seams put up with heavy loads that make great demands on the performance, strength and elasticity of the sewing thread. Whether a seam or piping is part of the decoration or hidden to the eye, accuracy and durability is crucial. Thread quality is literally a matter of make or break. Rest assured that we choose without compromise and only trust German industrial standards. 


Thread quality is literally a matter of make or break.

Find a zipper that will never let you down.

If you ever owned a pair of Levi’s, you know that you can trust an YKK-zipper. With us, it is not how many times you use it. What we look for is carrying capacity. With their teeth woven directly into the tape and their automatic locks, these nylon zippers are guaranteed to hold and stay in shape year in and year out. 


Our zippers have their teeth woven directly into the tape for maximum strength

The secret behind our abundant appearance is fibrefill. 

It covers our backs, sides, front panels and armrests and provides buoyancy and optical density. As you have probably guessed, we prefer heavy pre-compressed qualities made from chemically bonded fibres;the ones that are guaranteed to retain their bulky looks for generations. 


Virgin “hollow-fill” is more elastic and resistant than massive fibres.

Only one kind of duck down will do.

Eilersen only accepts down and small feathers from dead ducks. We make the highest demands on purity, smell and non-allergenic properties, but that is just the start. The downs must be uncut, and no feather must be longer than 60 mm. More than that and your comfort might be pinpricked. 

All downs must be uncut, and no feather must be longer than 60 mm.


 

In twenty years, you should still judge us by the cover. 

Our Italian fabrics and velvets manufacturers hardly ever see the kind of flat,relentless sunlight that we are used to in the North. Consequently, no one puts their products to the test like we do, and the tests continue for as long as the fabric is used in our production. We prefer natural materials like cotton, linen and wool, because they are inherently repellent and durable at the same time. All cuts, we overlock to prevent stripping, just as we label all fabrics with their own documentation. Should you decide on a change, our cushions have zippers for easy replacement.


Our cushions all have zippers for easy replacement.

For hides without holes, look to the North.

Whether the scars are from barbed wire or horse flies is of no importance. The best hides are usually found on animals living in northern Europa. No two are alike and our best, ingrained aniline hides are chrome-tanned and vegetable-retanned using additional fats to give maximum touch and softness. 


The best hides are usually found on animals living in northern Europe.

Our sofas are housebroken and we can prove it. 

Danes spend on average 80 % of their time indoor, and comfortable and healthy surroundings are equally important to us. Consequently, the Danish Indoor Climate Label scrutinizes products in their use phase and sets standards for degassing from chemical substances. Needless to say, every Eilersen sofas carries its Indoor Climate Label with pride.


The Indoor Climate Label sets standards for degassing from chemical substances.

Change comes easy, if you build by hand. 

Skamby has been converted into a 1600-m2 showroom. Jens keeps turning out new designs, Anders controls worldwide sales, and Nils is head of marketing, production and procurement.

Together, they share an innate belief that if you give your utmost, you can make the best sofa in the world. Somebody has to do it, as Niels Eilersen would have said.

And so our story comes to a close, but the fairytale lives on. There are members of the family to whom it feels like it has only just begun.


 

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Our History

From coach to couch

Once upon a time, in a kingdom by the sea, there lived a young man, who was exceptionally good with his hands.


 

Once upon a time, 

in a kingdom by the sea, there lived a young man, who was exceptionally good with his hands.

In spite of his humble age, he had known all his life that one day he would show the world, what those hands were capable of. His name was Niels Eilersen, he lived in a village called Stensby, and the kingdom was Denmark.

“TIME TO MOVE ON", HIS FATHER SAID ONE DAY, AS FATHERS ARE PRONE TO SAY"


 

So Niels took his kitbag to a tiny chamber above the workshop of the wheelwright in Stensby. The wheelwright had kept an eye on Niels and his hands for some time, and before our aspiring youth had time to think of what else life might have in store, he was a wheelwright’s apprentice. 

In those days in the countryside, as you can imagine, there were lots of broken wheels to fix. If you were any good, there were wagons to mend, too, and maybe even carriages to build. And if you were very clever, the wealthy and the most serene might ask you to build a coach. But that was the stuff that an apprentice’s dreams are made of.


 

“I’m going to build a coach,”

After years of keeping their heads down and their noses clean, apprentices eventually stop being apprentices, but not until they have proved themselves, and each has had his craftsmanship put to the test.

Niels declared to his master, “but not just any coach. I will build a hunting wagon, and it is going to be the lightest and the strongest and the most manoeuvrable in the county.” The good wheelwright of Stensby was not a man to stand in the way of progress. Especially not, if it came in the shape of a promising youth, whom he himself had put his trust in.


 

So Niels Eilersen built his hunting wagon, and people came from outside the county to admire it, and though Niels did not own a horse to put it front of it, his coach became the start of a business that would grow into a dynasty.

The year was 1895, and Niels Eilersen was twenty-two years old, when he opened his own shop in the neighbouring town of Skamby, building wheels and carriages for a clientele on he move. Niels could make a living and took a wife. Business was good, but as it turned out, his sons had little faith in horses.

"AUTOMOBILES ARE THE FUTURE," THEY CHALLENGED THEIR FATHER. LET US MAKE THEM MORE COMFORTABLE TO RIDE THAN HORSES."


 

Now, we are not going to explain, how a wheelwright makes his wheels; only that you have to know how to bend wood in steam to perfection. Adapting from horse-drawn carriages to diesel-powered coaches seemed no far cry at all. Much less, if the steam was up and you knew which wood to pick from your stockists.

Eilersen were pioneers in steam-bent wood and soon became industry leaders in frameworks for cars and omnibuses. In 1934, with half of Skamby on the payroll, the factory burned to the ground. Now what?

Steel parts and assembly lines were all the rage in the automotive industry. Rebuilding a production based on skilful carpentry made little sense. Not unless you focused your skills on making blind frames for upholstered omnibus seats.


 

 

The world was at the brink of war, and beech wood would soon be just about the only thing in unlimited supply. Cars stood still and genuine horsepower was back in business, but a market for readymade furniture was budding.

Post-war economies called for moderate measures. Early models were modest spindle backs of beech wood. Next came runners, and we had rocking chairs. Customers were saddler’s workshops that would order one in black, one in white and one untreated.

Rumours of ease and toughness travelled, with Eilersen’s salesmen in hot pursuit. Back in Skamby, Eiler Eilersen invented a drill to bore holes in the seat for spindles and legs in one go. Precision and speed has always kept competition at bay.


 

In Copenhagen, cabinetmakers were carving names for themselves drawing furniture, and Eilersen drew on the best. Danish Design combined highquality craftsmanship with industrial production and freedom of individual expression. Eilersen #4, a hardwood modular sofa with loose cushions, could be extended to infinite length and sold like hotcakes.

IT WAS TIME FOR A NEW GENERATION TO STRETCH ITS WINGS. 

Eiler’s son Jens was the oldest and took control. His brother Peter was in charge of sales and procurement. The 1960s were roaring, and at an exhibition Peter fell in love with a safari chair. It was clean and minimal, and Jens had an idea. “Let’s take it apart and add holes and bolts, it’ll be a lot cheaper to transport. If people can afford two, they can build their own two-seater.”


 

Jens had developed a flair for anatomy sketching athletic shapes during class, and he had a knack for thinking in three dimensions. Designers would have to prove their ideas, which Jens would translate into live models to test their comfort.

One morning after a long night in the studio, Jens called the designer, whose wife answered that he was still in bed. “It’s like that every time he’s been with you. Your talks really wear him out.”

Eilersen became a household name in Denmark, when a boxy lounger seated prominent guests in Saturday’s Corner, a talk show that would run for years. Dimensions had a long way to go, though, to comply with Jens’ classic ideals.


 

“Most things that go into a square are peaceful to the eye. The Greeks put the Golden Section to work, but to create something beautiful you sometimes have to cheat. One or two centimetres can make a world of difference. The trick is to get away with it without anyone noticing.”

1979 saw Stratos, the first couch designed exclusively by Jens Juul Eilersen. Its balanced lines and generous abundance created an immediate emotional response, and imitations popped up high and low.

Three new designs were presented in rapid succession at international furniture shows. Jens had struck a chord with a mindful and discerning audience, and Eilersen began to appear in high-street windows from Hilversum to Honolulu.


 

Americans in particular took to Eilersen’s shapely universe, and before long transport costs became an issue. To keep price tags from swelling, something would have to change.

In Skamby, Jens’ oldest son Anders had stepped up. Together, father and son looked to China for craftsmanship that would make the cut. A little southeast of Beijing, they found what they were looking for.

It would take some lecturing, but little by little quality improved in Tianjin. With new bespoke production methods, sofas could even be made to measure at little or no extra cost.


 

Now, if you could have your couch exactly the way you wanted it, would you wait six weeks for it to sail from China? Time to travel again.

Slovakia, with its industrious, true-to-word and straightforward mentality, turned out to feel like home. In 2011, the last sofa was built in Skamby, and Jens’ second son Nils took charge of Eilersen Production in Velky Krtis.

Out east, efficiency was reaching a point where Anders decided that it was time to make an offer, and since 2014 our name has been over the door in Tianjin.


 

Skamby has been converted into a 1600-m2 showroom. Jens keeps turning out new designs, Anders controls worldwide sales, and Nils is head of marketing, production and procurement.

Together, they share an innate belief that if you give your utmost, you can make the best sofa in the world. Somebody has to do it, as Niels Eilersen would have said.

And so our story comes to a close, but the fairytale lives on. There are members of the family to whom it feels like it has only just begun.


 

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