Tried & True: The Timeless Craft of Furniture Making

Choosing the right piece of furniture for your home is hard. Not only do you want a visually appealing piece that suits your existing decor, but you also want something that is well-made and durable so it’ll withstand all that life brings, especially if you have children. I may or may not have known a child that used the arm of a recliner as a “diving board” – repeatedly. That child may or may not have been me.

Implications of my past chair abuse aside, the problem is that you can’t see the quality of all the materials simply by looking at a couch or chair. In fact, even if you had them side by side, it’s likely you would have no way of telling which sofa was made to last twenty years and which was made to last five. Enter Leather Furniture by Rumours. Located in Rockwood, the house on the corner of Guelph and Main St. S holds both showroom and workshop, allowing owners Doris and Lou Bozzelli to show you just what’s going into each and every piece – in fact, they encourage it!

If you don’t have time to stop into the shop, however, don’t worry. I’m here to give you a quick rundown of what I learned from my own trip, and the answer to my most pressing question: How exactly do you build furniture?

STEP 1: The Frame

Everything in life, regardless of what it is, can’t go anywhere unless it starts with a good, strong frame to support it. For Leather Furniture by Rumours, this frame is always built out of kiln dried hardwood lumber, and usually by Lou. While both he and Doris have the same skill set, over the years they’ve fallen into a rhythm that best suits both their preferences. For Lou, it’s making sure that the frame of every piece is going to stand the test of nose-diving children – or at the very least slightly better-behaved ones.

STEP 2: The Springs

This is where Doris generally comes in. While there are many cheaper or quicker options out there, every piece of furniture from Leather Furniture by Rumours contains 8-way hand-tied coil springs, also known as web and coil springs. This is an old school method that requires tying all the springs together by hand. It’s a time-consuming process that a lot of larger companies have let die but the results hold up – when it comes to furniture suspension, this is what you want in your piece. There’s nothing better.

STEP 3: The Leather

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to selecting your leather. It’s the first line of defence against the ups and downs of life, and as such you want to make sure that it’s the best quality. Often you will find that your leather has been painted, covering up the imperfections that come with anything natural – while this may create a more pristine look, it also hides (Ha!) the weaknesses in the material. Which is why the Bozzellis have only ever used hides (Get it?) from one company located in Austria. From there they know that they are getting natural, aniline dyed leather that still shows the authentic detailing as well as the shortcomings – this allows them to better select which areas to use when cutting a particular piece. You want to ensure that you’re using the thicker, stronger portions for the highly used areas (seat, arms, back) and the weaker areas for anything decorative – this will enable your furniture to last.

From there it’s really a simple matter of taking the time and care to put all of your pieces together, avoiding any unnecessary sewing (as this will weaken the quality of the work), adding in padding to make sure it’s nice and comfy, and putting those finishing details such as intricate piping or classic tufting to give each piece an authentic, personal feel to it.

It’s a simple process on paper, and if you have the knowledge and skills required it really can be in practice too. At the end of the day, what really makes the difference between a well-made piece that will last your family decades or something else is decisions. As Doris put it, “You can choose to do it properly, with the right materials, or you can choose to cut corners.” The same goes for shopping, you can choose to buy a box store piece that may have five or so years in it, or you can go to a place like Leather Furniture by Rumours and really see what’s going into your piece, feel the weight of the materials and know that it’ll hold up to whatever your family can throw at it.

As a child that may or may not have eventually broken the arm off that recliner that I may or may not have been jumping off, I don’t think you’ll be sorry you did.

Written By: Jillian Kent | Photography: Paul Spears

Author: LivingSpaces

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