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Removing a wool cover from my Natura (creating a FrankenBed?) or getting a new mattress 15 Sep 2013 11:17 #1

  • Nat
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Hello! This is my first post but I've been reading the forum for weeks now attempting to decide my next move. I live in rural eastern Canada, which complicates the shipping/returning issue immensely. Hope to get it right the first time!

When we got married, my husband and I spent a small fortune (for young newlyweds) on a memory foam mattress, which lasted most of the trial period before it went back because it slept too hot. He's 6'1", a lean 190-ish pounds, predominantly side sleeper. I'm 5'9", 145 pounds and a mostly-back-but-sometime-side sleeper. In a pinch after returning our mattress, our in-laws gave us their guest bed queen sized coil, which lasted us seven years until I began noticing a dip in the middle. I was tired of migrating to the middle of the mattress at night and he was sick of worrying about waking me up from tossing on the coil, so I started to look up alternatives.

Sorta miraculously, I found a nearly-new Natura Tranquil king sized mattress advertised in a local classified ad. Apparently Sears delivers these latex core mattresses even in my unpopulated neck of the woods, and the sellers had used it under a water bed for a few months before they needed to move west for work. Bolstered by this review: www.apartmenttherapy.com/review-naturalatex-tranquil-by-138729 I bought the Tranquil for $200. I got a slated bed base off amazon for $100 (www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002KQ5KRU/ref=oh_details_o03_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1).

Almost immediately the wool topper started shifting so badly we were both sleeping in channels in the bed. I was also waking up with a sore lower back, and he was waking up with a sore clavicle. It was an inexpensive experiment that failed. I know from reading these forums these issues are not ours alone, and that the ownership of the Natura company has since changed.

I travel over the border for work, and the last time I drove to Boston I stopped into The Clean Bedroom in Kittery. Great service but low value (as has been mentioned here before). My preferences were for the GreenSleep Dolchezza (wool + SMF), the Naturally Organic Dream (SSM) and the SavvyRest (SMM) - all Dunlop, as the service rep suggested Talalay would be too soft given my sore back issue. My husband would probably go firmer because of his size. I'm weary of wool toppers now, even though the GreenSleep had by far the best PPP. I also can't afford $4400 USD (and I know the bed base really affects the performance of this one), and while SavvyRest in the showroom had the side-by-side variation & lower price tag ($2500 USD), their poor return policy means I'd likely go for the SleepEZ version anyway. These are for queen sizes because we decided the King was too much bed for us.

Buying online and having something shipped to a border location is possible, but it involves at least a 7 hour return trip. I would be willing to do that once or maybe twice (for SleepEZ likely) but it's not a fun thought to contemplate.

Finally the other option is to tear that wool topper right off the quality Dunlop core of the Natura Tranquil I already own & got for very little money. Then purchase a softer comfort layer given my preferences from The Clean Bedroom visit. I searched for "removing topper" on the forum but found nothing.

This is the real question: shall I try to create a FrankenBed by tearing apart the Tranquil?!? Or abandon my $300 experiment & go with a new SleepEZ latex queen shipped to the border 7 hours away? Thanks Phoenix and others for your input!

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Last edit: by Nat.

Removing a wool cover from my Natura (creating a FrankenBed?) or getting a new mattress 15 Sep 2013 19:08 #2

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Hi Nat,

I can see you've been doing some reading :)

From the top down ... the Natura Tranquil has the wool quilted cover, 1" of polyfoam, 2" of blended Talalay latex and 5" of polyfoam so there's not a lot of latex to "save" with mattress surgery.

Having said that, the polyfoam base and the 2" of latex may still be in good condition I would personally would be tempted for curiosity's sake alone to cut the mattress open and see which of the layers inside would be worth saving or adding to. It would depend a lot on how adventurous you are and your willingness to do some trial and error mattress layering and design.

If you do decide to cut the top off I would look for the seam and then cut the stitches that hold the top to the mattress with a seam ripper which will allow you to remove the layers inside the rest of the cover.

I don't know if the foam layers are bonded or not but you will quickly find out. If they're not then it would be a bonus. If they are then I would use a sharp edge (knife or exacto knife) and very gently pull back each foam layer you want to separate from the one below it starting in a corner and use the sharp edge to cut through the areas where the glue bonds them. You will also need to be very careful with the latex because it tears very easily. You may wish to keep the top 3" together (1" polyfoam and 2" talalay) if it appears to still be in good condition just to save trying to separate fairly thin layers but this would depend on how well they are glued or whether they are just tacked together and on the condition of the layers.

Once the layers are separated then you can test each one to determine if any of them have any soft spots or impressions and are worth re-using. You can do this by putting the layer on the floor and checking for impressions (using a string or straight edge across the layer) and for soft spots. You can test for soft spots by hand testing in all the areas of each layer or by putting a heavier object in the different areas of each layer on the floor (such as a bowling ball) and checking to make sure it sinks in the same amount in each area of the layer.

You can then use the layers that are still in good condition and begin the process of deciding what layers you want to add and in which order.

When you're all done then you can buy a cover to enclose all the new layers in your new mattress. If you still want to sleep directly on wool then you can also add a wool topper to go on top of your new mattress.

Phoenix
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Removing a wool cover from my Natura (creating a FrankenBed?) or getting a new mattress 16 Sep 2013 13:14 #3

  • Nat
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Thank you Phoenix, as always a purveyor of incredible knowledge!

Including the fact my current Natura has Talalay not Dunlop. Additionally, I may have blamed the wool topper for shifting when it could have been the 1" polyfoam breaking down. Removing them may remove the problem... very tempted to pull it apart. I can't (in good conscience) sell it off to someone knowing what I know about it's current quality. Plus the King is too big for us, so I would have the opportunity to slice-n-dice it to a Queen size, flipping and reorienting until my hearts content. Since I'm terribly allergic to dust mites, I have an expensive zippered cover I could use to hold the components of my FrankenBed together. Curiosity is strong - I will post pictures of my Natura Tranquil insides if I go ahead with the experiment!

I've also been watching the Nature's Sleep thread closely. If George the owner hops on tomorrow to answer all the questions suitably, I may haul out a purchase-protected credit card. But not before.

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Removing a wool cover from my Natura (creating a FrankenBed?) or getting a new mattress 16 Sep 2013 16:28 #4

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Hi Nat,

Considering that your mattress was used under a waterbed (if I understood correctly) then the wool could easily have shifted. In most cases even if a 1" polyfoam layer softens or breaks down it's not thick enough to have a significant effect on the feel or performance of the mattres which is why I usually suggest "no more than about an inch or so of lower quality materials" in the upper layers of a mattress or in the quilting.

Plus the King is too big for us, so I would have the opportunity to slice-n-dice it to a Queen size, flipping and reorienting until my hearts content.


An electric knife is the best way to cut foam layers easily. The biggest "challenge" will probably be separating the layers if they are glued together which will involve a few rips or tears and lots of latex foam pieces being scattered around :)

Curiosity is strong - I will post pictures of my Natura Tranquil insides if I go ahead with the experiment!


There is little to lose since the mattress would otherwise be discarded so I for one would 'vote" that you give it a try ... if for no other reason than curiosity and of course the "self serving" desire to have a few pictures of the process on the forum :)

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Removing a wool cover from my Natura (creating a FrankenBed?) or getting a new mattress 19 Sep 2013 07:41 #5

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Here are pictures from my Natura Tranquil cover removal surgery. More surgery is planned, but only after we've decided which orientation works best for us.

Seeing the construction of the mattress helps explain some of the issues we were having, like the "channels" on each side of the bed, which I think may have formed due to a lamination in the latex down the middle of the mattress (making that section much harder than the surrounding Talalay). Naturally, we weren't sleeping on this section at all due to it's initial hardness, which has just worsened due to loosening of the surrounding latex we *were* actually sleeping on. I think I would prefer this lamination to be under the small of my back, but unfortunately the mattress might be too short if I flip it 90 degrees. I could also cut out the laminated piece and set the two sides together in my zippered mattress cover to rid myself of the hard ridge running between us. Might have shifting of the pieces like that though.

The cover came off easily and in one piece, and didn't seem to have shifted much, as far as I could tell from laying on it directly on the floor. You can also see where Natura has laminated an extra piece onto a queen size to make a king size. We never really felt this either under our heads or our feet. The Talalay was laminated to the understory polyfoam layer, so I just kept them together.

Next step is to see how it sleeps directly on the floor, on the traditional queen boxspring, and on the flexible slated bed base. And to try different orientations of the laminated section to see if we can make it less noticeable.

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Removing a wool cover from my Natura (creating a FrankenBed?) or getting a new mattress 19 Sep 2013 11:46 #6

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Hi Nat,

Thanks for the pictures of the internals of the mattress :)

Seeing the construction of the mattress helps explain some of the issues we were having, like the "channels" on each side of the bed, which I think may have formed due to a lamination in the latex down the middle of the mattress (making that section much harder than the surrounding Talalay).


The channels on each side are usually because that's the part of the mattress that is used the most and the part in the middle isn't usually slept on as much so in larger sizes (such as king and queen but king size more than others) each side will often develop some degree of impressions. This is especially true if there are any thicker layers of fiber in the mattress which will pack down under use or any lower quality materials which will soften and impress more. The glue that is used to join pieces of latex is normally latex based and very flexible and doesn't usually cause these types of issues (unless it was done poorly or a less flexible glue is used which isn't normally the case with latex fabrication).

The latex in your mattress is also zoned and is firmer in the middle section of the mattress (including the small of your back) than it is in the top and bottom sections but this is only a small part of the mattress's construction so the zoning wouldn't have as big an effect in terms of alignment as it would if the support layers were zoned.

Which part or layer of the mattress is image #5114 showing ... I can't tell from the picture?

Phoenix
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Removing a wool cover from my Natura (creating a FrankenBed?) or getting a new mattress 19 Sep 2013 16:40 #7

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The last picture (#5114 - I wish I could name them and give captions but couldn't find the option when I uploaded) is a close-up of the initial corner I cut aka a side view of the 2" Talalay over the 5" polyfoam with some of the light batting material hanging on either side. You can see the smeared, dark yellow glue on the corner where it was once holding the fabric taut.

The glue is inelastic and hard to the touch where I can see it, and it seems to be the same as between the latex layers on the comfort layer, although I'll check again this evening. (definitely hard and non-flexible glue between the layers)

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Last edit: by Nat.

Removing a wool cover from my Natura (creating a FrankenBed?) or getting a new mattress 19 Sep 2013 19:33 #8

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Hi Nat,

OK ... that makes sense and now when I look I can see the pincores on top of the latex.

The glue used in the latex would be different from the glue used in putting the mattress together. One is done when the latex is fabricated and one is done when the mattress is manufactured.

based on the look of the latex ... it also looks like the mattress has been subjected to a great deal of weight. Did they really have a waterbed on top of the mattress?

Phoenix
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Removing a wool cover from my Natura (creating a FrankenBed?) or getting a new mattress 20 Sep 2013 12:44 #9

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Entirely possible they could have lied.

Last night sleeping at 90 degrees was still much too soft. It was still sitting on the slat frame, so tonight it will go on the floor.

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Removing a wool cover from my Natura (creating a FrankenBed?) or getting a new mattress 20 Sep 2013 22:12 #10

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Hi Nat,

Entirely possible they could have lied.

Last night sleeping at 90 degrees was still much too soft. It was still sitting on the slat frame, so tonight it will go on the floor.


It looks to me like they were telling the truth and that the latex was subjected to continuous compression and temperature and has degraded to some degree. This is similar to a test they use to simulate long term wear where a material is subjected to heat and continuous compression for longer periods of time which simulates the effects of aging over a period of years in a much shorter period of time.

Phoenix
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