Monday, May 7, 2012

A brief primer on hand made furniture

   "Arhaus" has an excellent article on the Fine Art of American Craftsmanship that I'd like to share with you.  Bethany wrote  a great  post on inexpensive, moderate and custom sofas last December.  The key points of custom hand made quality furniture are:

  • kiln dried  hardwoods, double-doweled, glued and screwed and corner-blocked 
  • supports span the frame front to back
  • lifetime guarantee on frame
  • hand built arm panels secured to frame with oversized flat head nails
  • mortise and tenon joinery
  • strong, heavy gauge, sinuous springs
  • connected with  coated metal clamps (prevents rubbing of metal on metal, eliminating squeaks)
  • assure lasting comfort and durability.
  • warranteed to be free from defects for life.
  • eight way hand tied
  • arms are wrapped in generous dense fiber to maintain shape. 
  • all frame parts are covered with foam and fiber prior to fabric covering
  • more firm high fensity foam layer is followed by a softer plush foam to create comfortable seating
  • hand sewing, hand pleating, meticulous craftsmanship and finish.
So next time you are swayed by color, style or price, look below the 'surface' ( or underneath) to see if the piece is well made.  Look for a lifetime guarantee.  Even though I look for bargains myself, knowing how good furniture is made, can help me find a diamond in the rough.  As Suzanne and Lauren McGrath say in their fabulous new book "Good Bones, Great Pieces"- "Each and every piece you choose should have legs-if you can't see using it again ten years down the road, the it's not worth investing in." 



  1. I couldn't agree more that quality is actually a bargain in the long run. I bought a sofa with with good bones from a second hand store and had it reupholstered so there is no yucky factor in old cushions and it was a relative bargain considering its custom nature and quality

  2. Totally agree Nancy! Great post! I have slip-covered one sofa at least 4 times now! Have a great week!

  3. Great post! I couldn't agree more.

  4. I am going to bookmark this.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Happy Monday.

  5. For a family room sofa it's worth it to pay a little more - comfort is key!

  6. Hi - I totally agree!! Especially if you are going to cover the sofa / chair, etc. with a high quality fabric. That is an investment you want to last. I do buy less expensive and so-so quality pieces (seating) as well, but I won't invest in fine upholstery fabric for them.

    I love seeing you and Bethany on Saturday. Thank YOU TWO for the visit. xoxo, Loi

  7. Good Bones, Great Pieces is such a fabulous way to put it!

  8. I wish I had my old sofa with good bones! :( Thanks for the reminder.

  9. Hi Ladies! So you got the book? Would love to know what you think of it. (That quote is pretty great, BTW.) I've been thinking a lot more about buying quality furniture lately and will definitely refer back to this post as a guide since we desperately need a new sofa.

    1. I love the book. Im going to write a review on it to post in a day or two...


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