Finishing & Techniques

The chesterfield is a traditional design and incorporates traditional finishing techniques. These must be rigorously observed.

(a) Polishing: Any part of the wooden frame which is exposed on completion (eg legs, feet) must be polished by hand in two or more coats and allowed to fully harden.

(b) Pleating and buttoning pattern: The most striking feature of a chesterfield is the intricately pleated and buttoned back and arms. Deep-buttoning is an upholstery term describing a technique that originated during the early 19th century, a distinct diamond shaped, pleated fold pattern. The pattern was originally used to prevent loose stuffing from moving around within the upholstered frame, but it is now used primarily as a design feature and is symbolic and iconic of the chesterfield.

This skilled technique is well known in the industry and forms a diamond pattern of folds anchored at each apex by a deeply-set button.

(c) Pattern surface coverage: This deep-buttoning technique must cover at least 40% of the surface of the upholstered article. Buttoning is not compulsory on the back and arms alone; it may extend, or exclusively be applied, to the entire upholstered surface of the piece (excluding the bottom surface).

(d) Pleating tension and button depth: The depth of the button depends on the tension of pleating. The tension must be sufficiently high to create a button with a minimum depth of 5cm for every button . Pleating must be tight and folded over with at least a 1.5cm fold in each pleat .

(e) Studding: Studding is optional. However, if present, studs must be individually nailed in by hand using a hammer. Studding should be even and tight.

(f) Construction: Chesterfield furniture must be made over a sturdy hardwood frame that is capable of supporting the weight of the piece itself, as well as the required number of users at any one time. Frames must be dowelled, glued and screwed in at least 75% by number of their joints.


Dowelled birch frame elements ready for assembly