I am Ted Goldman, and I have worked at Gallery Furniture for 27 years. I am experienced in leather and upholstery furniture, as well as the manufacturing of furniture! I’ll be responding to all questions about leather furniture and care, upholstery furniture and care, as well as the manufacturing of sofas, love seats, chairs and recliners! I will be responding real time to all of your questions from 1:00pm – 6:00pmCST today (10/09/13)! Proof: http://imgur.com/GDT7i7e and http://imgur.com/6t21Zs2

Edit: This session is now complete, but I will reply to any unanswered questions next Wednesday, 10/16/13! Thank you all for your participation, it has been great fun!!

Comments: 135 • Responses: 52  • Date: 

Scytheist16 karma

How do you know if a love seat is truly a love seat?

GalleryFurniture14 karma

@Scytheist, size and scale truly determine what a “loveseat” is. The standard dimensions of a love seat are anywhere from 66-86 inches!

Sophie_Boogalo8 karma

What's the best way to deal with surface scratches from dog and cat claws on leather? I have a Flexsteel leather couch and my cat and dog have both left their marks on the cushions.

GalleryFurniture8 karma

@Sophie_Boogalo, first and foremost, a Flexsteel is a great investment! As far as scratches, use a leather cleaner if the scratches are actual scratches, as opposed to holes in the leather. Remember, however, that this will not fill in the scratches, it will color them as if it's a scar. Thank you for your question!

BUBBA_BOY8 karma

How do I clean cat barf off old leather? I babysat a cat recently and it emptied its guts on a nice chair

Please help :(

GalleryFurniture11 karma

@BUBBA_BOY I'm sorry to hear about your chair! If the vomit has sat there for a long time, it would have likely damaged the leather. I recommend using only a leather cleaner, and considering getting the chair re-stained to match the rest of it.

BUBBA_BOY6 karma

Ok. Thanks!

First personally useful IAmA in a while!

GalleryFurniture7 karma

@BUBBA_BOY, I'm glad I could be of help, thank you for commenting!!

E39_540i6 karma

How do you find a balance between leather that is soft to the touch but won't wear out quickly?

GalleryFurniture11 karma

@E39_540i Look into pigmented leather (the most durable), and protected aniline leather. Pigmented leather has a clear coat on top, and is dyed add durability, and look nicer. Protected aniline leather is similar to pigmented leather, but is matched for color consistency across the whole piece. To reach a compromise you have to look at a couch between 84" - 90". Your targeted budget price should be between $2.2 and $3k -- always remembering the rule of thumb that you get what you pay for! Thank you for your question!

Salacious-5 karma

How can you tell good quality leather from bad quality?

GalleryFurniture14 karma

@Salacious, thank you for the question! The short answer is you get what you pay for. If you see a sofa for $799.99, and the retailer is claiming it to be full top grain leather, and everything else is $2,499 - $4,500, beware. On full grain leather, you will see a more natural look to it, as it has not been corrected to remove natural marks or imperfections. Top grain leather is from the uppermost layer of the hide, and the staining process is similar to that of whiskey or whine. The leather is tumbled in giant vats or barrels by engineers. There is also a tendency to do hand rub with another coat, as it’s more appealing than a baseball glove look. It is a bit more stain resistant than full grain leather. I hope this answered your question, sir!

DownRUpLYB4 karma

Hello Ted,

Have you ever come across a problem where high quality black leather takes on a strange pink/purple tint; almost like looking at engine oil on the surface of water?

My fiancee bought me a very expensive swiss watch with a leather strap and after no less than a month the strap developed this problem. When I rubbed it with my fingers the pink/purple fades away to reveal the brilliant deep black, but then a few hours/day later I would see it coming back.

The guy in the store told me he hadn't seen anything like it in almost 8 years and suggested it must have been on contact with some chemical or strong cologne. I was 100% sure it hadn't been, but couldn't offer any other explanation. Nevertheless, The manufacturer graciously replaced the strap for me, even though no manufacturer in the world warranties their straps!

With the brand new replacement strap, it was only a few short weeks when this started happening again! I'm at a complete loss as to what's causing it. I've left it in the box for the last few weeks...

Even stranger.... I bought another watch around about the same time from another manufacturer which suffered the exact same problem and is in the process of being replaced.

No other leather wear in my warobe (belts, wallets, shoes, which I;ve had for MUCH longer) have ever had this problem.

What is it about the combination of my wrist and leather that's causing this?? This is two different watches from two different manufacturers. One cheapish and one very high end. I can 100% guarantee that they haven't come into contact with any chemicals, perfumes etc.


GalleryFurniture6 karma

@DownRUpLYB This is a very peculiar situation. I'm not an expert as far as watches, but I have seen something similar. Sometimes when plastic is wrapped tightly around something that is shipped, stored and left alone for awhile, the top coat of plastic migrates to the surface of the item it is wrapping. This could explain the discoloration!

Indigoal4 karma

I recently got an old pair of welding pants. What would be the best way to loosen them up or make them a bit more flexible?

GalleryFurniture3 karma

Heat is a wonderful softener, I'm no expert in welding or welding materials, but there are all sorts of "shampoos" and similar products that aid in softening leather, like you would for a baseball mit. Heat and a good deal of tender, loving care should do the trick!

McDom3 karma

Why did you get into the trade? What did you want to do as a young child?

GalleryFurniture5 karma

@McDom My father was in sales, and I knew it was hard work but also knew how much he made. As a young child, I aspired to be in sales! Thank you for the question!

UnicornPanties3 karma

Hello Ted - is it possible to get oil or water stains out of leather (shoes/boots)?

If so how and/or should I just take it to my local cleaners?

GalleryFurniture7 karma

@UnicornPanties, thank you for asking! As far as getting oil or water stains out of leather shoes or boots, I take mine to professional cleaners. But, you might try this link for a DIY solution! This is what I did when I was in the military. -- http://www.ehow.com/how_6200772_gasoline-stains-out-leather-boots.html

2OQuestions3 karma

I hear leather wears great, but won't buy leather furniture/products. What fabric is the next best thing?

Would you buy furniture used from Goodwill or craigslist? Pick up from side of the road?

Grossest thing you've seen inside a piece of furniture you've worked with?

If I want a couch that will last for 20 years, what price range should I expect? I paid $3500 for one at Kane's and within 5 years the cushions were completely disintegrated.

GalleryFurniture3 karma

Top quality leather is a great investment. It remains beautiful and durable as long as you take proper care of it. There are a whole host of fabrics and upholstery that are great alternatives to leather. Nylon upholstered items have recently gained huge popularity and continues to be a rising trend because of its unique look and durability. I would never go with a Craigslist or side of the road piece of furniture. Buy new always, it's like a mattress, you wouldn't want someone else's filth in your living room or bedroom. Buy new and thank yourself for years to come!

GalleryFurniture1 karma

Well, anything you use will experience wear. If it wears, it eventually wears out. So the lifespan mostly comes down to use. If you pay $80K for a Mercedez-Benz S class and drive it daily in heavy traffic, you still have to maintain it and it will still eventually wear out. It’s very unlikely that a couch that you use heavily every day will last 20 years, no matter how much you pay.

RedditRalf2 karma

Hi Ted, what is the best way to clean a fabric based chair?

GalleryFurniture6 karma

@RedditRalf The best thing to do is look on the log tag (shows the make up of the sofa, such as fabric, stain, etc.) and find the cleaning code. Then, contact the retailer to ensure you’re cleaning it correctly! This way, you ensure that you won’t damage and of your furniture in the cleaning process. Thanks for your question!

95DC22 karma


Morning_Star_Ritual2 karma

He is gone and I sale furniture and tend to sale mostly leather. You should always xondition leather every 3 months. I alwayd remind customers that this is skin so just imagine how dry your skin gets without lotion.

Home Depot carries a descent cleaner/conditioner called Zep or you can find your local leather focused retailer and ask if they sale any leather condionter kits

GalleryFurniture3 karma

We appreciate your concern and answers. We're still working on getting all replies answered, Thank you for stepping in and offering your expertise @Morning_Star_Ritual.

GalleryFurniture1 karma

Sunlight is the kryptonite for leather; it is never good for leather to "bake" in the sun, this can dry it out and cause cracks and fissures. There are lotions and rubs that you can use to moisterize and keep your leather looking healthy and beautiful. My advice to you, if you want it to last, get it out of the sunlight!

scotteth2 karma

I have always been fascinated with designing and making my own furniture. Any suggestions or resources a hobbyist can use to help with the learning process?

GalleryFurniture2 karma

@scotteth, you could research some top manufacturers to get ideas as far as designs. Then, this website offers several tutorials on how to build bedroom furniture: http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,20667365,00.html . I am sure there are more out there as well!

shadowsog952 karma

What animal does the best leather come from?

GalleryFurniture5 karma

@shadowsog95, good question! The best leather comes from cows. Pigskin and buffalo cost a lot more to produce, and they're not as easy to work with. Cows are much more readily available, and affordable.

EbilSmurfs2 karma

How hard is it to reupholster furniture into leather, and is it even worth it or should I just buy a new piece?

GalleryFurniture5 karma

Hey @EbilSmurfs! My recommendation is to buy a new piece. This is simply because most frames are generic. Unless you have a genuine reason that your particular sofa frame is unique, buy a new one because everything will have to be reassembled due to the cushions being worn out. This will usually cost more than buying something new all together. Thanks!

juroosayfur1 karma

How can I make the most comfortable couch ever made in existence?

GalleryFurniture1 karma

Great question, what do you consider the ultimate comfort? I would look at what you value most in comfort as a good starting point.

tigrrbaby1 karma

Don't know if you are still answering but...

We have a microfiber (microsuede?) couch that we opted to get Scotchguarded when we bought it seven years ago. It is in great shape, but like the other poster, it has accumated ketchup drips that didn't get wiped right away, etc.

So my first question is, how long does Scotchguarding remain effective? We were told not to use anything but their special cleaning solution on it because of the treatment, but lost that bottle of cleaner long ago.

Are we safe to use a wet rag by now? What else can we try on the stains (obviously checking for colorfastness first)?

GalleryFurniture1 karma

Scotchguard is water-soluble, which is why you shouldn’t use water or most cleaners on it – it will shorten its life. But in 7 years, the Scotchguard is probably entirely gone – it sort of flakes off over time.

Howardm501 karma

Hi Ted. I have a couple of leather chairs, oxblood color. Cats have left claw/scratch marks from jumping on them. Was thinking about shoe polish to help cover/hide the marks. Any other ideas/products for helping to hide the scratch marks? Thanks!

GalleryFurniture1 karma

Don’t recommend shoe polish. First, it rubs off on clothes, etc. Best bet is use a cleanser then a conditioner. The conditioner will darken the marks and they will look like scars. Note that oxblood often has a really high sheen/gleam from the clear micromist (top coat) they apply and adding a color like a shoe polish will not give the same finish.

dannyisagirl1 karma

My husband and I have an amazing leather couch...but the leather is peeling off! It's mostly on the armrests and the cushions, but my questions is, do you think it's worth it to get it reupholstered, or should we suck it up and buy another couch?

GalleryFurniture1 karma

Really depends on whether the frame is something unique and special. I have an art deco piece I’ve had reupholstered 3 times. But you don’t really save money with reupholstering (if you re-do the cushions, etc) so I wouldn’t do it unless the frame is unique and you’re attached to it.

uhuya1 karma

Alright so i bought this fake leather couch from Ikea because fuck it, it's mostly for looks anyways. This couch just sort of developed what looked like mold on it after about a year. It was pretty damn weird and i have absolutely no explanation for it. Do you have any idea what it is?

Grizzly_Adamz1 karma

I assume it is a dark couch? And the "mold" is mostly white? I am willing to bet that the painted surface of the bonded leather is being scratched away, allowing the undyed layer underneath to show through.

uhuya1 karma

Actually its a fake white leather couch and the mold spots are dark grey ish

GalleryFurniture1 karma

It sounds like wear and tear from denim from people sitting on your sofa.

oppose_1 karma

When did you first start getting into leather? when were you expert level?

GalleryFurniture1 karma

I've been in the leather furniture industry for nearly 3 decades.

debaked1 karma

is there a "do it yourself" fix for sinking couch cushions?

GalleryFurniture2 karma

@debaked, more or less, you have to replace the cushions themselves as they only have one life. You could buy the seat cores, and then stuff them yourself. This may require professional assistance if the cushions are attached. Thanks!

Panzer25831 karma

Do you know Carl Farbman?

GalleryFurniture2 karma

No sir I do not.

sixequalszero1 karma

Is it true that sunlight is worse for leather than water? What are some treatments to avoid damage to leather?

GalleryFurniture2 karma

Get a leather conditioner and give it a thorough rub-down, like you would do to your skin with a lotion It won’t rejeuvenate the piece but will moisturize it and hopefully slow the process. Direct sunlight and direct heat (like a space heater) is like a cancer to leather, and will always speed up its aging.

littlepony_11 karma

I have a (dried) water stain on my leather couch (left the window open during a rainy day...). What should I do?

GalleryFurniture1 karma

Get a leather conditioner and give it a thorough rub-down, like you would do to your skin with a lotion It won’t rejeuvenate the piece but will moisturize it and hopefully slow the process. Direct sunlight and direct heat (like a space heater) is like a cancer to leather, and will always speed up its aging.

Myshuroff1 karma

What is the life expectancy of a good leather couch

GalleryFurniture1 karma

Top grain leather should last a life time. With proper care the leather should never split or crack. Typically splitting and cracking occurs in non-top grain leather upholstery.

vinuash1 karma

What is the best kind of furniture I can buy?

GalleryFurniture7 karma

@vinuash Thank you for asking this question, it's a tricky one. All furniture is a good value. The word "best" is over used though, in my opinion. If I show someone what I consider to be the “best” furniture, and they can’t afford it, it’s irrelevant. It really comes down to making the smartest investment for your budget!

Wrobot_rock1 karma

I have a fabric covered sofa. Is scotch guarding it for stains a bad idea? What can I do to prevent stains?

GalleryFurniture1 karma

Protecting your furniture is always a good idea. They make all sorts of scotch guards, including fabric upholstery specific brands. No guard will be 100% full proof, but protecting your furniture is never a bad idea. At Gallery Furniture we offer Gallery Guard which is top of the line furniture protection!

katapad1 karma

  1. What is the best way to get pen out of a soft leather bag without damaging the leather?

  2. (Edit: original question answered) What is the oddest leather piece you've come across?

GalleryFurniture6 karma

@Katapad, I see you said your question was answered, but I'll still provide the link to this method, as it works well. -- http://www.ehow.com/how_5053172_remove-pen-ink-leather-couch.html

  1. I must say, this is the oddest piece of leather furniture I've come across, and it's also something I designed. It is a bed-frame by United Leather made out of cow hide, and stamped to resemble alligator! --

CrashnBrn1 karma

Hi Ted,

What would be the best way to clean a white leather couch?

Also if there is a very small tear in the leather is there an easy way to fill it in/fix it.


GalleryFurniture1 karma

@CrashBrn, white leather looks great, but it's not the easiest to keep clean! Here's a link to the best method http://www.ehow.com/how_4781164_clean-white-leather-couch.html .

Here is a link to a process for repairing a small tear in leather: http://www.ehow.com/how_4424710_fix-tear-leather-couch.html It calls for a leather repair kit, for which I recommend this company: http://www.mastermfgco.com/restorit.html . I hope this helps!

Suffragette1 karma

Hi Ted, I have a leather sofa where parts of it are actually vinyl. The vinyl parts are cracking now. Can you recommend something to repair the vinyl?

GalleryFurniture1 karma

@Suffragette, once the vinyl starts cracking, unfortunately things get iffy. However, you could purchase a vinyl repair kit. Master Manufacturing is a company that may help; here is a link to the category on their website containing repair kits: http://www.mastermfgco.com/restorit.html . Keep in mind though, it is somewhat similar to putting a band aid over a sore -- it may not heal it, but can help in the meantime! Thank you for asking!

JoeUsr1 karma

I have high-quality (H&M) chair and the arm rests are really starting to dry out and wear. Is there any conditioner that will help feed the (unprotected) leather?

GalleryFurniture3 karma

@JoeUsr, Handcock and Moore is a great company! You can delay the aging process with a conditioner. But, If the leather is 20 years old it's past it's prime, and unfortunately it won't rejuvenate.

Edit: I recommend Leather Honey as a conditioner, which can be found here: http://www.leatherhoney.com/

mtgmike1 karma

How can I clean microsuede?

I bought a sofa about ten years ago just as microfiber was about to take off, but mine is microsuede, and dry clean only. It was in a media room for most of its years, but I started using it as a main sofa this year when I moved. Its in great shape structurally, even the foam feels great, but its spotted from drinks, toddler drool, etc. Ive had two cleaning services decline to mess w it.

Fellow Houstonian BTW. Mac is the hardest working guy in town, and deserves his success.

GalleryFurniture3 karma

@mtgmike good evening to a fellow Houstonian! I agree about Mac, he's a a great boss to have, and inspires us daily! On to your question; microsuede is a difficult one. However, I am providing this link to a how-to of cleaning a cream microsuede as that's a very delicate color: http://www.ehow.com/how_7744227_clean-cream-microsuede-furniture.html . I hope that answered your question, and have a great night!

thatturkishguy1 karma

I'm interested in making leather pockets for a pool table, what do you suggest? Are there any how toos online? Also I'm thinking of laying new felt on the surface any suggestions?

GalleryFurniture2 karma

@thatturkishguy, honestly, I haven't come across any tutorials on leather pockets for pool tables. The same would be true for felting a pool table. My expertise is more-so in general furniture upholstery, as opposed to crafting specific items. I recommend getting in touch with a billiards factory, as they may be able to better point you in the right direction. Thanks!

BugLamentations1 karma

Hey Ted -

I have an Eames Leather Lounge repro / knockoff.

The leather (black) is pretty much shot on the chair, although the ottoman is OK.

What would be my most inexpensive / coolest route for re-upholstery? Not married to leather.


GalleryFurniture2 karma

@BugLamentations, I would recommend calling some local reupholstery companies, which is of course going to vary a lot by where you are. You will want to get quotes on various fabrics, leathers etc. These can vary quite a bit, so it's hard to say if it will be worth it to reupholster!

stew19221 karma

Hi Ted- great AMA and way to represent houston!

I have a bed that has a leather headboard and it is starting to look a bit worn. What would be a good leather cleaner or conditioner that you would recommend?

GalleryFurniture4 karma

@stew1992, thank you!! As far as a conditioner, though I don't necessarily endorse it, is Leather Honey. Here is a link to their site: http://www.leatherhoney.com/ . This should help quite a bit!

BloodthirstyTimes1 karma

Someone sat on my suede couch and their perfume stench is still overpowering. How do you get a bad smell out without damaging the fabric?

GalleryFurniture2 karma

@BloodthirstyTimes, the first thing to do is check the log tag usually on the bottom of the couch. It will tell you how to clean the couch as the manufacturer intended. Further than that, you can try this tutorial: http://www.ehow.com/how_7805958_odors-out-sofa.html . It recommends baking soda, as it's a safe way to clean leather! Thank you!

SmartDrug1 karma

I have a very nice leather couch that is about 15 years old, it is in very good condition overall but one of the arm rests has developed very tiny fissure looking things, almost looks like a series of tiny canyons in the leather. The leather is very thick and has been cared for all its life. Is there any way to reverse/stop whatever is causing the leather to fail in that spot?

Thank you!

GalleryFurniture2 karma

The fissures are occurring because the leather is drying out. This will always eventually happen with leather. Just like our skin dries and and gets grooves so will your natural leather. However, you can apply a conditioner. This will darken up those canyons and they will look more like healed scars. Unfortunately, there’s really no way to reverse or entirely stop this aging process. 15 year is really a nice, reasonable lifespan for a leather couch.

blazedd1 karma

I've got an amazing leather chair that I've had for years. Unfortunately it would appear that I've outworn my welcome. Is there anything I can do? http://imgur.com/2zyDGst

GalleryFurniture2 karma

Is it 100% Leather? You typically see splitting and tears in bonded or mixed leather materials? Unfortunately there is little you can do to reverse the effects of splitting. Perhaps you purchased a bonded leather alternative? Genuine, 100% leather lasts a great deal of time. How long have you had it?

clayphish1 karma

Thanks for doing this Ama!

I have a quick question if you're still answering. Im wondering the difference between full grain leather and top grain leather. The reason I ask is I have found these terms used almost interchangeably in some instances, while in others they are not to be confused with one another. So which is which?

Also if there is a difference, what can be expected from durability of either type. Thanks!

GalleryFurniture3 karma

Full-grain leather comes from hide that has not been altered in any way. Typically hides are sanded, buffed, or snuffed to remove blemishes(or natural marks) on the surface of the hide. The grain remains in tact allowing for the utmost strength and durability. The grain also has breathability, resulting in less moisture from prolonged contact.

Top grain leather is a very common, and cheaper, alternative. It has had a layer separated away, making it thinner, and more maliable than full-grain leather. Its surface typically is sanded and a coat is added to the surface which results in a colder, plastic feel.

GJ7231 karma

Hey Ted, What are some ways to spot good quality furniture... (besides the price tag), or brands that have a good cost to quality ratio? After spending a good amount on a leather couch and having to replace springs after just 2 months, I find myself a little lost. I will be buying again soon and just don't want to regret my next purchase.

GalleryFurniture1 karma

Very interesting question, @GJ723. It really depends on where you buy it from and who the manufacturer is. What is the culture of the store? Does the store or manufacturer have a reputation of quality? Also the weight of piece equates quality. Is it a heavy and sturdy sofa? That's one of the first ways to determine quality.

Jacerator1 karma

I have a cloth couch and the back cushions are very lumpy and saggy. What can I do to replace the stuffing inside? What is the approximate cost for me to have it professionally done by someone like you?

GalleryFurniture1 karma

First check to see if the back cushions have a zipper or channel stitching. If it has channel stitching and no zipper you will need to call a upholstery company to repair. You will want them to re-stuff or regulate the back cushion. The approximate cost can range from $300 to $500. If there is a zipper you can use Dacron also known as PolyFill (found at Walmart or Craft/Fabric stores) to hand stuff the cushion yourself.

_JackieTreehorn_0 karma

this thread has about as much appeal as licking an nyc subway pole . haters gon' hate!

GalleryFurniture2 karma

Thanks for your feedback, if you have any great questions about leather or upholstered furniture ask away, I'm here to fascinate and entertain you, we can only be successful at those goals together! :)

trudat0 karma

Will Gallery Furniture really save me money?

GalleryFurniture0 karma

YES! And Gallery Furniture will save YOU money TODAY!

WataMelonNigga0 karma

Is jewish or murican your true identity?

GalleryFurniture1 karma

100% American made! I love this great country!

SeekingAir0 karma

My deadbeat brother asked to sleep on my leather couch for a weekend, and stayed 9 months. How do I get the stink of BO out of a leather couch?

GalleryFurniture1 karma

Sunlight/fresh air (put it outside) – wouldn’t do this much because light and heat aren’t really good for leather. Also clean with baking soda. Some articles say using an ozone air purifier can work but we don’t have experience with that.

GalleryFurniture1 karma

I love leather :) thanks for the laugh!

tinylittlegnat-2 karma

Should I get rid of my cats?

GalleryFurniture0 karma

Are your cats ruining your leather? Declawed cats can't ruin leather, just my two cents.

kjekkgutt-3 karma

how do i remove sperm stains from brown leather couch? me and my girl often have sex on the couch and it does not look that good.

GalleryFurniture2 karma

Warm water, a cloth and some elbow grease should go a long way! A little bit of Talcum powder can also go a long way in removing stains from leather.