DIY sofa


J

John Anderton

Does anybody know where I might get tips/instructions on how to make a
sofa ?

Alternatively (since I've recently calculated that I've got enough DIY
to keep me occupied every weekend until christmas 2005 without setting
foot in the garden) does anyone know any online retailers who sell
smaller sofas (i.e. 2 seaters less than three feet deep) which would
fit in a cottage ?

Cheers,

John
 
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C

Cicero

John Anderton said:
Does anybody know where I might get tips/instructions on how to make a
sofa ?

Alternatively (since I've recently calculated that I've got enough DIY
to keep me occupied every weekend until christmas 2005 without setting
foot in the garden) does anyone know any online retailers who sell
smaller sofas (i.e. 2 seaters less than three feet deep) which would
fit in a cottage ?

Cheers,

John
================
You could look for a 'cottage suite / sofa'. Yes, that *is* the correct
name. These are quite small because they lack most of the superfluous
upholstery of larger furniture. I think they usually have wooden arms and
loose fitted cushions.

Cic.
 
A

Andy Dingley

You should be able to find suppliers or custom makers without too much
trouble. There are three makers within a 100 yard circle of my house !
(Bristol)
Does anybody know where I might get tips/instructions on how to make a
sofa ?
Any book on classic upholstery techniques.

There are any number of little booklets that will tell you the basics
- try S/H or eBay, because there are a lot of '30s - '50s books to be
had cheap. Avoid '50s - '60s guides though, because they went post-war
modern and the work is ugly foam-slab. There was no upholstery work
done in the '70s. At least not that we talk about.

David James' "Upholstery - A Complete Course"
<http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1861081189/codesmiths>
is the best serious guide on designing upholstery, rather than just
recovering an existing piece. It's not a hand-holding guide though.

The frame is crude work in ash or beech, held together with mortice &
tenons. Don't screw the joints or use random softwood - either will
work loose over time. The woodworking part is really pretty easy, so
long as it's entirely covered and you're not worrying about show wood.
A bandsaw is useful, because you're dealing with a lot of curves, but
a £100 jigsaw (barrel-body Bosch) will do it as well, with a tool
that's a more justifiable DIY purchase.
 
E

EricP

Does anybody know where I might get tips/instructions on how to make a
sofa ?

Alternatively (since I've recently calculated that I've got enough DIY
to keep me occupied every weekend until christmas 2005 without setting
foot in the garden) does anyone know any online retailers who sell
smaller sofas (i.e. 2 seaters less than three feet deep) which would
fit in a cottage ?

Cheers,

John
I have been down this path several times over the years, without much
success. For once, all the comments made in this thread, so far, have
been spot on.

The books/instructions you will find, will detail construction of
monstrosities in pine, from the naffest periods of the last years.

A nice Cottage Sofa is timeless and can be picked up for almost
nothing.
 
M

Mary Fisher

It will probably cost more than DFS. You can buy a sofa there for
less than the cost of covering materials, unless you find a really
good deal on fabric. OTOH, a sofa is (or should be) a serious
investment and it's worth putting the money into one.
One of the specs the OP asked for was "less than three feet deep". I took
the word "deep" to mean the sitting area, from front to back. If that's not
true stop here.

If he did mean that I wonder if he could get it from DFS. I have no actual
experience of their wares but they keep sending me catalogues - goodness
knows why, since I never have bought and have no intention of ever buying a
sofa from anywhere - and all their seating seem to be very deep front to
back. I've noticed this on friends' and relatives' modern sofas too.

They are the most uncomfortable seats ever devised, I'd rather sit on a
misericord. One tends to slump on them because of their depth, it can't be
good for the back. They are very difficult to get up from - for some of us
at least. They're fine for lying on, which is how they're usually pictured
in the catalogue. A two seater could be problematic for that except for the
shortest among us.

If you want a sensible, not too deep sofa I think the best solution could be
to make it one's self.

Mary
 
H

Harvey Van Sickle

On 17 Oct 2004, Mary Fisher wrote

-snip-
...all their [DFS] seating seem to be very deep front to back. I've
noticed this on friends' and relatives' modern sofas too.

They are the most uncomfortable seats ever devised, I'd rather sit
on a misericord. One tends to slump on them because of their
depth, it can't be good for the back. They are very difficult to
get up from - for some of us at least. They're fine for lying on,
which is how they're usually pictured in the catalogue. A two
seater could be problematic for that except for the shortest among
us.

If you want a sensible, not too deep sofa I think the best
solution could be to make it one's self.
Or shop for an old second-hand sofa and get it recovered -- I'll bet
the end cost isn't a lot different.

My wife and I went through this exercise about a year ago. We had (a)
a 19th century drop-arm, "tub" sofa that I really, really like; (b) a
older Parker Knoll wing chair that she really, really likes; and (c)
another side chair -- kind of like a tub, but a real sit-up-straight
job that looks uncomfortable, but which is amazingly nice to sit in for
quite long periods of time. They all needed reupholstering -- and the
sofa needed some structural repair -- so we got a quote for all three
of something just over a thousand pounds, IIRC. So we thought "well,
why not check out what else is available?"

And then we went shopping. Almost no tub-shape sofas; all of them
mostly too deep to sit on without cushions (which I detest); and over-
scaled armchairs which wouldn't fit very well in a normal-sized
sitting-room (1890s' semi).

We went for the reupholstering; aboslutely no regrets.
 
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A

Andy Dingley

If he did mean that I wonder if he could get it from DFS. I have no actual
experience of their wares
I bought a pair of sofas from DFS a few years ago (although I no
longer have the sofas, house or even the cats 8-( ). I have to
say, they were pretty good.
 
O

Owain

| Does anybody know where I might get tips/instructions on how to
| make a sofa ?

local authority evening classes in upholstery?

| Alternatively (since I've recently calculated that I've got
| enough DIY to keep me occupied every weekend until christmas
| 2005 without setting foot in the garden) does anyone know any
| online retailers who sell smaller sofas (i.e. 2 seaters less
| than three feet deep) which would fit in a cottage ?

Argos has several sofas less than 90 cm deep, eg

Sommersby regular W 150 D 81 H 83 cms - 638/5657 or p212 in cat
Milan foam sofa bed W 122 D 66 H 84 - 638/7813 or p224

You could also look at a futon style sofa, eg

Tosa W 137 D 85 H 75 - 638/9330 or p226 - this comes in 3 pre-assembled
sections for easy assembly, if it is access that is the problem. The base
looks pretty basic so you could probably just buy a futon pad and make your
own base.

Alternatively, plenty of places online, or most major towns will have
somewhere (department stores can often order, but may be pricey) that sells
cut-to-size foam blocks. Use fire-resistant foam and a fire-retardent fabric
interliner for safety. Sewing up covers is not too difficult provided you
keep to rectangular shapes and have a machine.

Owain
 
R

Richard Savage

John said:
Does anybody know where I might get tips/instructions on how to make a
sofa ?

Alternatively (since I've recently calculated that I've got enough DIY
to keep me occupied every weekend until christmas 2005 without setting
foot in the garden) does anyone know any online retailers who sell
smaller sofas (i.e. 2 seaters less than three feet deep) which would
fit in a cottage ?

Cheers,

John
My Pop built a sofa from sheets of blockboard (salvaged from a skip if
my memory serves me right) . Very crude design involved two square-ish
vertical 'arm' pieces with rear and top edges cut to the desired slope
for the back and arm rests. Two rectangles - one for seat and one
slightly higher for back. Batten across back at desired height for
back of seat, corresponding battens on sides but at required angle for
seat. Two more battens on vertical edges of back to match with sides.
Screw it all together to produce a cheap, nasty but perfectly effective
sofa carcass. The next day he started making the cushions and their
covers. Any non-cushioned areas (sides and outside of back) were
covered with foam under the same fabric used for the cushion. This was
stapled to the blockboard so that the cushions hid the staples.

It sounds absolutely hideous and looked a bit 'Habitat' ('twas mid '70s)
but it served them for many years and, being made to measure, was far
more comfortable than many other sofas I have sat on (in?). No real
need to go to all the lengths of beautiful joinery when no one can see
it was his approach. And it got them a sofa when, put bluntly, they
couldn't afford one.

His previous settee was a garden bench that he made cushions for.


Richard
 
R

Rob Morley

"John said:
Does anybody know where I might get tips/instructions on how to make a
sofa ?

Alternatively (since I've recently calculated that I've got enough DIY
to keep me occupied every weekend until christmas 2005 without setting
foot in the garden) does anyone know any online retailers who sell
smaller sofas (i.e. 2 seaters less than three feet deep) which would
fit in a cottage ?
Get a sound but scruffy one in the right sort of shape for next to
nothing and cut it down?
 
P

Pete C

If he did mean that I wonder if he could get it from DFS. I have no actual
experience of their wares but they keep sending me catalogues - goodness
knows why, since I never have bought and have no intention of ever buying a
sofa from anywhere
Hi,

Do you want to get their catalogues?

cheers,
Pete.
 
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M

Mary Fisher

Pete C said:
Hi,

Do you want to get their catalogues?
No. I've told them that. They can't understand why and say that I might
change my mind. I can't be bothered wasting my breath.

Mary
 
J

John Anderton

| Does anybody know where I might get tips/instructions on how to
| make a sofa ?

local authority evening classes in upholstery?

| Alternatively (since I've recently calculated that I've got
| enough DIY to keep me occupied every weekend until christmas
| 2005 without setting foot in the garden) does anyone know any
| online retailers who sell smaller sofas (i.e. 2 seaters less
| than three feet deep) which would fit in a cottage ?

Argos has several sofas less than 90 cm deep, eg

Sommersby regular W 150 D 81 H 83 cms - 638/5657 or p212 in cat
Milan foam sofa bed W 122 D 66 H 84 - 638/7813 or p224

You could also look at a futon style sofa, eg

Tosa W 137 D 85 H 75 - 638/9330 or p226 - this comes in 3 pre-assembled
sections for easy assembly, if it is access that is the problem. The base
looks pretty basic so you could probably just buy a futon pad and make your
own base.
Thanks, that's interesting but, unfortunately, not quite what I
wanted.

For various reasons I'm after a traditional looking sofa with a curved
back (a tub sofa ?) so that I can sit comfortably at about a 45 degree
angle. Annoyingly I know someone who has exactly what I want but they
don't want to part with it.

I'll have to spend a little time hanging around local antique shops I
think.
Alternatively, plenty of places online, or most major towns will have
somewhere (department stores can often order, but may be pricey) that sells
cut-to-size foam blocks. Use fire-resistant foam and a fire-retardent fabric
interliner for safety. Sewing up covers is not too difficult provided you
keep to rectangular shapes and have a machine.
Yup, as others have also mentioned DIY looks like the only other way
apart from indulging in a little housebreaking :)

Cheers,

John
 
M

Mary Fisher

John Anderton said:
Yup, as others have also mentioned DIY looks like the only other way
apart from indulging in a little housebreaking :)
Or offering a sum which can't be refused ...

Mary
 
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A

Andy Dingley

Get a sound but scruffy one in the right sort of shape for next to
nothing and cut it down?
It's quite hard to buy S/H sofas. Because of the fire rules, it's
near impossible to trade in old sofas, even if they're foam free -
it's a headache for dealers, even if they're 18th century ! So the
only ones around for trade are fairly new, yet discarded. Either
they're badly enough made to have worn out, they're damaged (maybe a
ruined cover is a good candidate for recovering) or they're the past
property of people who change sofa according to taste and whatever
Linda Barker tells them -- so they're probably as ugly as everything
else in their houses.
 
N

N. Thornton

John Anderton said:
Does anybody know where I might get tips/instructions on how to make a
sofa ?

Alternatively (since I've recently calculated that I've got enough DIY
to keep me occupied every weekend until christmas 2005 without setting
foot in the garden) does anyone know any online retailers who sell
smaller sofas (i.e. 2 seaters less than three feet deep) which would
fit in a cottage ?

Cheers,

John

The first question is to decide which method to go for.

1 Chipboard job - very very cheap, but not very nice. Can be made from
scrap.

2 Slatted bench style - very comfortable indeed when correctly
designed, no upholstery on the wood frame, unpretentious. Some wooden
garden furniture is made this way.

3 Fully upholstered curved padded job - pretentious or fancy,
whichever way you see it. No more comfortable than the above one
though.



Now a repost for you...


Had a DIY type sofa, once, very comfortable. Lasted faultlessly,
unlike most sofas, but of course had none of the pretentions that
modern sofas usually have.

Both seat and back need to be tilted for comfort. So using the wall
for a back is a real no-no. A simple wooden frame with slats is all
thats needed. If moneys problematic, chipboard would do for the seat
bases if it wont be seen. Dont use melamine chip though :)

For fabric covering it, theres no need. Wood looks good, as long as
you dont stain it, and especially dont use that dreadful coloured
varnish. Wood floor varnish should wear well.

Simple garden furniture type full long rectangular cushions provide
comfortable squish and softness, but finding some that look decent is
another matter. You'll inevitably need to make covers for the
squishies. Sheet foam works nicely, but is pricey. If you use that, do
get the 2 layer stuff, firm foam with a soft top layer bonded on.

The wood: I found 4" x 3/4" works ok for the sit on slats but is not
100% abuse proof. 1" would be best I think. Keeping gaps small helps
for best comfort.

The frame: 2x2, 2x3, or 1.5x2.5 CLS. The CLS comes with ready rounded
edges which saves work if you have no plane. For the others I'd plane
1-2mm off each corner, at 45 degrees. Simple and looks quite good.


If OTOH you want something fancier, you could go to plywood and use a
scrollsaw to cut out all the shapes your heart desires. Tidy up the
edges with a drum sander and you have a typical 1930s type of
furniture construction.

Or if you want cheapass, box shapes can be made from chip.

BTW the simplest form of storage is just a drop curtain on the front:
just lift it for access. Liftoff or hinged front panels are better
though, but can be added later if desired.
 
M

Mary Fisher

*unpretentious*


*pretentious*

*fancy*


*pretentions*
*Wood looks good, as long as
you dont stain it, and especially dont use that dreadful coloured
varnish.*
Wood floor varnish should wear well.

Simple garden furniture type full long rectangular cushions provide
comfortable squish and softness, but *
*finding some that look decent*

* ... *

All show your taste, they are not standards for everyone.

Mary
 
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