Halifax Furniture Clinic

Upholsterers were the first recyclers, Gottingen craftsman says. Bill Dunlop's shop turns 31.


“Upholsterers Were the First Recyclers”

Such is the claim of Bill Dunlop, manager of the Halifax Furniture Clinic (2866 Gottingen, 454-4644), which is celebrating 31 years in business. “The guy who skinned a sabre-tooth tiger in his cave, he was the first.”

His is a busy shop echoing with the sound of staple guns and reeking of stripper and sawdust. Dunlop has seen a renewed interest in upholstering and restoring of older furniture, which he attributes to growing consumer awareness of industrial, built-in obsolescence and shoddy, mass-produced furniture.

“The best furniture you can own is a 50-year-old sofa in your mother’s basement,” he says. “With a hardwood frame and heavy gauge springs.” Dunlop recommends you grip the armrest of a couch to test its durability. If you feel the wooden frame beneath, that’s a sign it’s poorly made, and suggests looking for older brands such as Cooper Bros, Barrymore and Kroehler. “You want it to be heavy,” he says, referencing a Simmons Hide-a-Bed with its guts out in the open. “This frame will never wear out.”

With Halifax Furniture Clinic’s work all over town, including at local bars and restaurants---Dunlop will have dinner or drinks at these establishments just to see how it’s holding up---he says the mission statement for Halifax Furniture Clinic is firmly entrenched: “Nothing comes out that wouldn’t go into my mother’s home. We want it to be even better than new.”

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