Monday, April 20, 2009

Does Anybody Else Miss The Furniture Guys?

Back in the nineties, it seems like eons ago, the little bride and I would watch a home improvement show called Furniture To Go with a couple of wacky but likable guys who would show you how to repair, refinish, reupholster and refurbish furniture. Even years later we'll still exclaim to each other, though admittedly in private, "Horse Hair!" Or, "spit coat!" And it amazes me how much of an effect the guys had on us without us realizing it.

When we replaced all the doors in our house a couple of years ago, I used shellac to finish them. Had my only TV influence in life been Norm, we'd of likely gone with some stupid spar varnish or other plastic finish. But the warm, natural hand rubbed and waxed finish on our doors just keeps getting better every day. And I probably wouldn't have even noticed this influence if it hadn't been for our latest project.

Somewhere in the era we were watching the Furniture Guys on TV we found an empire style sofa covered in the most awful 1970's da-glo stripey fabric. Someone really loved that sofa in between hits from the hookah. But the price was right and we always said that we could re-cover it and make it look nice. We watched all the Furniture Guys shows and knew all about horse hair and muslin and dust covers. They showed us how easy it is to tack the material down in the center, stretch it across to the other side and tack it down and then work your way around the piece. Voila! Brand new upholstery for the cost of materials. We always wanted to try it on that couch.

We carried the sofa around with us from house to house when we moved. Last I saw it, it was piled up with stuff in a corner out of the way. Then, last weekend the little bride proclaimed that now is the time. She bought black fabric similar to what may have been on it originally and we carried the sofa out to the garage and set it up on a table and proceeded to rip off all the old stripey fabric.

(remember, clicky the picky to make them bigger...)






Luckily everything came apart in a fairly straightforward way with no major surprises.








There was a wee bit of repair work that had to be done, thank goodness the Furniture Guys showed us how to do that!







And we started putting the new cotton batting and fabric on...

















When we removed the old fabric from the back, we found a series of holes spaced suspiciously in a pattern. Looks like the original had button tufting! So we bought buttons and covered them with matching fabric (thanks again Furniture Guys) and started applying them to the back. Since the original actually had hay and real horse hair for stuffing, we tossed that and replaced it with a piece of foam (which we cut with our electric turkey carving knife) cotton batting and covering.






Replacing the pieces, one by one, we found an inscription inside one of the arms that was most likely the original maker. I couldn't make out the last name, but it was Fred something, Columbus Ohio, May 26, 1860. We tossed in our own little note and a swatch of the awful fabric we had removed and closed it back up.










The bride couldn't wait to install the piece in the living room. I think we're both pretty happy with the way it turned out. And to think, we learned everything we know about upholstery on television a decade ago. Thanks Furniture Guys!

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

holy cow! that couch looks amazing! you're really getting too good at this stuff dad. oh and btw i totally remember watching that show with you guys. i wasn't as into it as you but then again i was like 10 so i was more into cartoons. love ya!

Don said...

Couch looks great! And yes, I remember and really miss the Furniture Guys!! Informative and entertaining - wish they were back on TV.

Anonymous said...

i remember those guys! had a major crush on joe! they were the FIRST home show i ever remember watching.. now addicted to HGTV! nice looking sofa!

Anonymous said...

Horse
HAIIIRRAAH!

amy c said...

I do remember the furniture guys and I miss them! They need another TV show. I had a crush on Joe, too. He looked cute in a bandana. Great job on the sofa!

Anonymous said...

Yes, I do miss the Furniture
Guys, along with the Two Fat Ladies during the 90's. I laughed my way through the late 1990's. I wish reruns would be shown of some of those episodes.

Circa Bellum said...

The fat ladies were great, they were to cooking what the furniture guys were to, well, furniture.

Anonymous said...

And here I thought I was the only one to have a crush on Joe! I was probably in my early 20s when their show was on and I miss it dearly. I learned a lot from them. They did a red lacquer finish of some sort of an Asian piece of furniture that gave it a depth and shine that I think of often. Is that goofy or what?

Lynn in Long Beach CA said...

Count me among those who miss the furniture guys. Your couch does look good, but I don't think it would have been done in black back in the 1860s and you should have kept the horse harrrrr and hay -- it lasted THIS long. TFGs did have an internet radio show on HGTV radio back around 1999-2000 but I lost them when computers went higher tech than I had. Got to ask them questions several times.

Anonymous said...

Lynn, I've seen several sofas from the 1860's that had original covering, including a matched pair that came out of the Lincoln White House. All of them had a shiny black fabric on them. That's why we picked the fabric we did. Thanks for the input!

Anonymous said...

I just saw a note to myself in my workshop along with the note on how to connect old telephone wiring to the newer red,green,black, etc. The note was the recipe for "spit coat" and brought back many fond memories of the "Furniture Guys". HGTV was a lot more fun then than now when all there is to see is another version of how to make a house look like a furniture showroom.

Kevin said...

One of the funniest shows on TV ever in my opinion. I've been looking to see if they have the shows on DVD but no luck :( .

Anonymous said...

The furniture-based movie spoofs to start the show were awesome! And to celebrate the end of their first season, they had the Philadelphia Eagles' cheerleaders on. They started the whole fix-it craze on TLC.

I actually got to meet Ed & Joe when they came to speak at Penn State. They signed a copy of their book for me! A friend found that they were drawn into a comic book and they signed that for me too.

I miss Ed and Joe!!!

Robert Shuster said...

(February 2012 HOLLYWOOD, CA) Do not fear, "Furniture Kings" is here. I've developed a new show featuring Ed and Joe along with myself, Robert Shuster and female host Kathy Hartsell. In "FURNITURE KINGS" we travel the streets and alleys of Los Angeles, CA recovering furniture from the street, discarded and often times incomplete and return them to like-new condition. If you want to see this show on the air email me at robhsr@aim.com. Your kind words and support can make it happen.

Anonymous said...

tack rag. that's the one i hear in my head. good on you

Jeremy Blanchard said...

The Furniture Guys!

They were on of my guilty nerdy pleasures when I was a teenager. I've tried to remember their names several times over the last few months and it wasn't until I found this post that I found them.

Thanks for the post and thanks for reuniting me with the Furniture Guys.

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