Tuesday, June 17, 2008

They don't make them like that anymore

Couches, that is, and I'm glad. I finished disassembling our overstuffed 1930s couch today, and found it a very difficult task. Not only was the dust inside half an inch thick, the whole thing was simply COVERED with springs - along the top, the back, the sides, and of course the bottom. Springs wherever you looked, and they were attached in the old-fashioned way: clamped onto a metal frame, stapled down with WICKED star-shaped pronged thorns, and sewed onto the fabric with unbreakable thread. Then they were all tied to each other with elaborate interlaced cords. There were about 3 layers of strapping on the very bottom, and the stuffing was a combination of horsehair, cotton batting and straw. I was completely covered with dust by the time this was over, and I managed to damage myself by slashing my thigh with the prybar, and then kneeling on a tack!

However, it's all over now. I ended up with 3 garbage bags full of horsehair, which I'm thinking of putting in the compost and maybe using as mulch, if I can keep it from matting. There were 8 or 10 more bags of cloth and cotton (I didn't count them), one garbage can full of springs, and then just a few sticks of wood. It's funny to realize that no matter how solid and heavy a couch is, in fact it's really mostly hollow, and breaks down to a small pile of solid materials. The TV room is now delightfully open.

Dean and I have been watching HGTV, the house and garden channel, a lot recently - mostly the shows about buying and selling homes. We call it "real-estate porn", and it is sort of titillating to look at other people's houses and vicariously experience the drama of buying and decorating a place. We also like watching Colin and Justin abuse the admittedly bad taste of people whose homes they take over and redecorate. I seldom like their ideas of redoing a place, but I find I always agree with them about what the problems are that they start with. I've learned a little, though - mostly that we have way too much furniture, and would benefit from thinning out the collection a bit, especially as our stuff tends toward the shabby vintage stuff. Now that the couch is gone, I can go ahead and repaint that wall that it stood against.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd be giving a 2nd thought to putting horse hair in my compost or using as a mulch. Under ideal conditions it can take a decade to decompose but there are archeological digs where human and animal hair remain as the only artifact from a burial centuries ago.

11:08 am  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

Well, I'm not SURE about it yet - I've looked it up online, and they say you CAN put in horsehair, but as I said, I've got a lot, and maybe a little goes a long way. There are other things that can go in compost that I don't bother with - dryer lint and leather dust, for example. I suspect the thing is, horsehair doesn't contain fats, and won't attract rodents or decompose in a smelly way, but it won't necessarily turn to earth very quickly. Sometimes that's not a bad thing - it's sort of like "roughage", and keeps the compost light. But 3 bags may be too much.

7:18 pm  

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