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Masters of their Craft

Masters of their Craft

Posted by Justin Van Breda on Jul 22nd 2022

The furniture making process is an understandably complex one. It begins by drawing on historical references for shapes and processes (we put huge stock in respecting centuries of research and development, classic pieces have sustained through history for a reason). These initial references are fused with the influences of modern technology and materials and this combination informs the first sketched out design for a piece.This initial drawing is then drawn up into a ‘working drawing’ by our expert draughtsmen who work out all the little niggly details; from how the joins meet, what the interior fabric of the piece should be, how the veneer is matched, down to where the draw pulls and sliders work best. The exact dimensions of each element is calculated to the ‘nth degree and proportions and decorative details are refined and resolved. Colours are chosen and finish samples approved.

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The signed off drawing is sent to the workshops who select the materials, solid wood is chosen and kiln dried, sawn, planed, grooved and rebated as needed. Base components are provisioned and the veneer flitches and detail materials are all carefully scrutinised. It is a veritable sweetshop of materials, and huge warehouses and yards are filled with row after row of wood options. Burls and burrs and resin rich solid wood, there are pieces for every design, era and style.

Individual components are formed and contoured. The intricate details are roughly shaped before they go to the master carvers who shape the more delicate details. If the piece being made is case goods or solid furniture, Veneering follows next with careful attention to leaf placement to account for bookmatching, slip, centre or end matched. Then the pieces are put together, with careful dovetailing, dowling or tenoning to get each separate element to sit in perfect harmony. Carcasses become fully fledged pieces of furniture, doors are assembled, drawers are installed onto their sliders for a smooth pull, interior hardware is fixed, the pieces then go back to complete any final sanding or shaping of edges.

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They are finally handed to the magician polishers and spray artists. The spray booth is a thing to behold, to make sure that there is a perfect finish from a matt to piano this work has to be meticulous, all set to the soundtrack of the running water that waterfalls along the back wall of the booth, keeping a perfect humidity and drawing away any fumes to make sure that the working conditions are safe. Finally the external hardware is installed and the piece goes to its final QC.

Working with natural materials, mostly made by hand or using traditional techniques is a fine skill, and there is a natural variation from piece to piece; this is one of the most special characteristics about ordering a custom piece of furniture; it really and truly feels unique, handmade and heritage.

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If the piece is upholstered, the fully constructed frame is sent to our upholsterers who, using the age old technique of eight way hand tied upholstery, complete the process. Eight way hand tied is by far the most comfortable way to upholster but, sadly is a declining art in favour of cheaper engineered options.

It's a very precise process to create the ultimately comfortable sofa or chair, and we are so passionate about how our pieces are made that ultimately, we invested in our own workshop where our master-craftsmen make everything in the traditional eight way hand tied method and train apprentices to ensure that this special craft continues and sustains.

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Springs and upholstery webbing go in first, these springs are tied in every direction to create the most luxurious sit. Then the foam or feather padding goes down in wrapped layers over the entire frame, the balance of these depends on the preferred sit and firmness of the piece, then the fabric is sewn on and any buttoning or stud work is applied. Et voila, the ultimate comfortable sofa is ready.

We will be launching a new upholstery collection in September, so do keep an eye out. It will be the second act in our new offering, if you would like any information on our current pieces get in touch.

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View the current upholstery collection