Interesting in leather sofa's looking at H&M and Bradington Young. From B&Y's web site I can't tell if all of their sofa's are 8 way tied. Some state it in the name but, not all sofa's state it, has me concerned. For the B&Y, looking at the Sheffield Stationary Sofa. For H&M I am looking at the Austin sofa. If anyone has options between H&M and B&Y, I would appreciate your 2 cents..
After I wrote this I saw a ton of strings that relate to this topic. ( I should have searched before I typed my question- Still learning....Newbie) No need to respond unless you feel need to. Lots of good info on this site. Thanks.
BY does 8-way, though they loop rather than hand-tie. They are a plywood frame (i.e., engineered hardwoods) rather than solid maple as is H&M. Its a good product, but a different product. BY should be 20 to 25 % less in price and you get 20 to 25% less in the build, too. Think of H&M as being the top tier product in domestic leather upholstery and BY being in the second tier. BY is solid, and durable, but they are not a custom house and they don't sweat the details like H&M.
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Duane, we have got off track and I have tried going local and it's been quite an adventure. Among other things the store told me that BY NEVER uses plywood construction and that the eight way hand tied is exactly the same as H and M. They also said the frames are all hardwood, just exactly the same as H and M. The prices on the B and Y are great there right now with a huge sale on...but....there have been some issues with some of the things I've been told. I haven't been on this quest non stop. I was in hospital for a while so got off track with my sofa quest...I'll be contacting you very soon. I've written Dejong for a quote this Friday and expect to hear back from them with estimate. Even with your policy change, we are really leaning towards your services rather than local as in our case local hasn't been as forthcoming at times when asked questions as we'd like so we are not sure our service this way is better. Wont write a novel to explain all the varying things I've been told when asking questions but, it did lead me to call H and M. They were incredibly helpful and directed me to the sales rep for our entire province who was ALSO very helpful answering some of my questions. Won't say more here but, I'm taking from your info above that BY is not made "exactly the same as H and M." And one of the questions I asked was if they hand tied rather than looped BY. :S
One of the difficult things in shopping upholstery is knowing what's inside the piece, because you cannot see inside of it. And there is never a cut-away of an actual piece in any showroom I've ever been in, so you're having to take the word of the salesman on construction. Where do they get their information? Most the time they make it up - I hate to say that, but its true. And they didn't bother to read their own B-Y construction book. The industry itself doesn't present well in that regard and I've found that the only SURE way is to get into the bowels of the factory operation and trust my own eyes - which is why I make trips into the factories and see how things are built.
If you read B-Y's current website it says:
"Our skilled artisans then carefully construct the frames from only the finest kiln-dried select hardwoods. Our sofas, loveseats and chairs feature genuine eight-way hand tied custom coil construction that is unsurpassed in terms of comfort and lasting quality."
Now, let's take that apart. Is it a lie? Not really. Is it the truth? No, its not the truth, either. The operative word we are looking for is SOLID hardwood. B-Y does indeed use select hardwood composites, but its not solid wood - its high-grade engineered plywood made for the trade. The 'kiln-dried' is misleading, because you don't kiln dry plywood per se...however the wood was certainly kiln-dried for some short period before it was made into plywood. Now, the arguments are made in the trade that the composite plywoods being used are virtually as good as solid hardwoods at much less cost and that's true - this is not run of the mill plywood you get at Home Depot or Lowes. But plywood can never have the torsional stiffness that solid hardwoods so, and that means any piece made that way is more prone to racking and twist. A stiff frame means support for the suspension, and suspension failure means sag. So you really want the frame to be as stiff as possible and not move around.
Now, for even MORE fun, ask your dealer in Canada to go to page 1 on his Bradington Young wholesale price book and at the very top it will say for construction standards:
FRAME: Multi-ply, 7/8" engineered laminated hardwood frames are precision machined for an exact fit.
That - my friends - is plywood. So you can see whomever is writing the copy for the website is on a different wavelength than what's in the price book under construction standards. And that salesperson is 100 % wrong.
As far as the 8-way construction, they (BY) are looping, not knotting at each tie-off point. I was talking to Jimmy Moore about this last fall - how so many companies still claim to be 8-way hand-tied and he told me there are only three companies still doing a full and proper 8-way hand-tie construction, and H&M is one of them. The rest loop. Quite honestly its not a real issue unless one of the strings break (looping ones will then unravel whereas knotted ones will not). I think in my entire career spanning 28 years in this business I've only seen one broken string - its rare for that to happen. Still, everyone claims to 8-way hand-tie and in the real sense of the word they are not.
Do I have an issue with the way BY presents this on the website? Yes I do....its misleading and not entirely honest. But most makers to likewise, so I suppose its a bit like NASCAR racing....everyone cheats and the cheat is good until you're caught.
There is a reason H&M costs more than B-Y and other products. They adhere to the old school ways and build it right. You pay more for that. All that craftsmanship and attention to detail adds cost, and that's reflected in the sales price to you at the consumer level. That doesn't mean that B-Y is going to fall apart while you own it - it will not. I've been a B-Y dealer since 1986 and wouldn't sell the line if it were junk. I have 5 pieces of BY in my own home, all of it bought in the early 90's. Now I tend to buy only H&M or Leathercraft for my own home and the BY is in the basement media room - because I can afford the better product and appreciate what goes into the build on them. However, if BY is where you want to be in terms of budget and/or a particular style I think you would find it would get satisfactory service during the course of its lifespan.
Also, as you discovered H&M customer support is second to none. They take a lot of pride in what they build and I've seen them give customers the benefit of the doubt time and time again after the sale. Other companies don't do that as well.
Last edited by drcollie; 08-16-2012 at 08:10 AM.
All Questions should be asked in the forum
I really have a hard time with someone saying they "eight way hand tie" when they don't really. Looping to me as a customer is not the same as hand tying. And it's a shame that a company such as BY would use wording such as that in what seems to be a purposeful way. Customers have no way to know it's not the same as real hand tying unless they find this forum. They have to know people won't know the difference and truly that's a misleading statement that ought not be allowed. Some standards with regard to advertising ought to be adhered to by any reputable company. If I were H and M I would take issue with other companies making such claims. H and M costs more and so the customer might be left asking "If this other company costs less but, has the same construction, why am I paying more?" Assuming the marketing and ad dept at BY are intelligent people then they must know that customers won't really know the difference. And that is sad.
I am starting to see what you are seeing in some pieces I've looked at though. We liked the West End, Yellowstone and Rugby by H and M. All were too deep for our space which lead us to look at the "West Haven" *interesting naming there.* by BY and the discontinued "Raine" We really liked the "Raine" Store rep called and they still have some of those frames but, I was told to "Hurry up and make my decision before they are all gone" Well, the West Haven is SO close to the Raine and I'm not sure of going BY at all yet so no thanks, I won't be "hurrying up" for anybody. However, when I compared the details on the BY to the H and M on a similar product, I see that the backs on all the H and M, designs are finished with nice nail head detailing, the BY are not. I see the little things that make the piece stand out. BY is a real compromise. Yes, the piece looks "nice" with BY but, with H and M it is outstanding!
I put myself into pretzels wanting that West End to fit in my space. haha. Almost had myself convinced it wouldn't be so bad to walk out around that depth. But it will be an issue so I've got to be practical here. Back to the drawing board in a way but, I will say this, as you have told everyone. The customer service I got from H and M, not even being a customer with them yet was very, very impressive. You won't see that everywhere these days. The man bent over backwards to make sure I had the appropriate info, contacts in my entire province and was genuinely caring about my questions. He was friendly, interested and most of all really wanted us to find the right fit for our purchase. When I got off the phone, I felt like I'd been talking to a person who truly cared about the product they sell and their customers and potential customers. He even said to me "You know what? You are right, all of those similar pieces are the same depth so I'm going to suggest to H and M that we make at least one of those at say a 40 or 41 inch depth for smaller spaces." REALLY? WOW, again.
I am sure BY will last and are made well compared to the general market out there right now, people who I would not purchase from anyway such as Lazy Boy BUT this has been a true learning experience when it comes to construction, truth in advertising and customer service. I've found excellent, very good and not so great along the way. Nice to know despite everybody rushing to sell the cheapest they can out there that there are a few companies who care about quality in all of those areas still around.
The furniture industry in NC is 'good ole boy' and everyone knows everyone else or has cousins working at the competition, etc. You'll never see one maker go after another - just doesn't happen.
There is much mis-leading information out there in this industry and that's why I really even got involved in answering questions on-line (over at Garden Web before starting this forum) because the information out there was so bad. Just to try to help people make sense of it all. Some will say "Oh, Duane is a brilliant marketing guy by doing this" but the truth is I never did it for profit (and still don't), its just my way of using what I know to help out those seeking answers. If someone wants to buy from my store - that's great - I love to have the order, but they get the same answers as someone buying elsewhere. I can be brutally honest at times and I've got more than a few calls from makers upset that I called them out on something - but if they don't like that I do they need to fix their product.
If there's an H&M piece you REALLY like, you can have it tweaked and built to a particular size. You're going to pay a custom charge to get it, but they will make it the way you want - and very few companies will do that as most don't build their own frames and buy them from a jobber.
All Questions should be asked in the forum