Halifax Furniture Clinic

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

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“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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