how would you go about building this?


Hello, I want to make this style sofa on a really tight budget. Could you help me answer some questions about the design of what is pictured here? http://www.dellarobbiausa.com/products_file/dr/sofa/zatana.htm
What kind of wood would you use to build the platform that this sofa sort of "sits" on? I've seen this sofa close-up and there is an angle iron that runs the length of the sofa underneath, to add extra support to keep the wood from bowing. Please add your thoughts about what kind of wood. Also, if you reccomend a certain type of wood, can you tell me where I might find it and how much I should expect it to cost?
Also, I know I can slide a square piece of plywood inside of a couch cushion, and then screw the cushion to the frame of the sofa, but what about the backrest? How would I make a sturdy support for a backrest cushion? I just can't picture this aspect of it in my head. Would I just use something like an "L" bracket to give support? That would be fine, but that's not what was done on the model I am trying to copy. Thoughs again, please?
I highly respect you guys (and girls) and appreciate any advice I get on this. Thank you for your time and I hope the rest of your day or evening goes pleasantly.
Keith
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
That's a pretty long span. I'm thinking maybe a torsion box might do the trick for that. For the backrest I believe you could just bolt one some large L-brackets, or you could do some doweled M&T into solid timbers within the torsion box.
JP
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks for your responses guys.
So, to make a torsion box, I buy 2 sheets of MDF, and build a grid on the inside of one of them using MDF also, or does matter if it's MDF or 2x4 type wood? Then attach another piece of MDF on top of that? Sounds easier than I know it is. Can this be done without owning tools? I can probably get the guys at home depot to cut the wood for me. I just moved into an apartment and don't have any of my tools yet.
Thanks a lot for you replies.
Good Day, Keith
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I really don't think you can tackle this project without tools. The guys at home depot will not do precision cuts, only "rough" cuts and they will be very rough. Not to mention, they will probably be in a bad mood if you ask them to do the number of cuts a torsion box requries.
I think you are going to have to buy some tools to get this project done. If the entire motivation for this project is to get a cheap couch, I think you'd be much better off looking for a used couch. You can get a decent used couch for under $100. The materials for this project will probably end up being more than $100.
If the motivation to do this project is to have fun building stuff, you'll need to buy some tools.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
My motivation is to have a custom made piece of furniture that works with the size, shape and atmosphere of my apartment. The limitation is that I have very little money (maybe $150) to put into the project.
I can purchase some tools, and I can bring the bare necessities from home: drill, hammer, etc. I just don't have them right now because I just moved here to chicago.
So, don't write me off as a hack for suggesting I might be able to do it without tools, i'm just examining possibilities.
I suppose my question now is, what tools are downright necessary that I should go out and buy right now? Thanks for everyone's help so far and especially thank you very much to dadiOH for such a thoughtful and detailed reply to my original question. I'm still doing this project, despite any limitations. It will be done, in someway. Please keep the advice coming if you have any more to give to me.
Thanks, Keith
bf wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Best advice I can give you now is to give it up...no way no how are you going to be able to do what you want for $150. Have you tried pricing upholstery material? Foam?
Your cheapest course would probably be what someone suggested...build the platform, buy a second hand couch, whack the legs off and set it on the platform. Forget laminate for the platform too ($50+ per sheet) and go with flat paint.
-- dadiOH ____________________________
dadiOH's dandies v3.06... ...a help file of info about MP3s, recording from LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that. Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
dadiOH wrote:

I'm not trying to be negative or discouraging but you need to be realistic money-wise.
When I was in college I did something similar for an apartment...built a sofa and two arm chairs, both with cheap goods. Bought an unfinished desk, chair and bookcase...used bed, fridge and kitchen table w/chairs, new rotisserie oven...couple of sling chairs, 4-5 dime store lamps and a couple of rugs. Cheap drapes from Sears. Cheap stuff and sweat, you get the idea...
I don't remember what the cost was but when I left I sold the lot for $400 and it cost me more than that. Those are 400 1958 dollars...now it would be $2,500 minimum. I really don't think your $150 budget is realistic.
-- dadiOH ____________________________
dadiOH's dandies v3.06... ...a help file of info about MP3s, recording from LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that. Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I feel perhaps that you are mis-taking me. I do not wish to create the exact replica of the sofa in the picture, I want to make something that functions as such. When I said $150, I was basically thinking just of the wood and tools and hardware to put together the frame. Once the frame is built, I would throw old couch cushions on top and use it as a bench until I get the money and materials to finish it the right way. I guess my first goal is to really just have a bench that goes around the corner of my apt. It could even act as a stylish asian coffee table if that's all it ends up being.
I like the idea of simply building the frame and slapping a couch down on top of it, and if I come across a used sofa that lends itself well to that, I will do that. However, I wanted something simpler and cleaner looking than a full blown sofa, but still something comfortable to relax on. It's tricky.
Again, thanks for all the help i've received, and hopefully a few of you will stick it out with me until I figure out exactly how i'm going to do this.
Good day, Keith
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Make sure you read to my last comment for the most important thing about this project.
OK - here is what you could do. Just make a platform for cushions. Make it L shaped to sit in a corner. if you can fasten it to the wall you will have that much more support and could do w/o learning about torsion boxes.
Assuming an L shape
You will need: Materials two sheets of 3/5x4x8 plywood or MDF - 2x$45 = $90 (Good stuff, A/B or a hardwood veneer if possible, you will paint it) 2x4s - qty 6 @ $2.69 = $16.14 Use these to form up the frame that the plywood will attach to. Screws - One box of 1 5/8" multi purpose screws (Drywall screws) and one box of 3" deck screws to hold the frame together. about $6 sandpaper $3 paint = $20 glue = $4 Cushions = Who knows, I suspect you could end up spending a lot here Materials, without cushions = $139
Tools: Saw to cut the plywood (Borrow one from a neighbor) = Free Drill/driver = (Again Borrow one) = Free
OK, so even if you spent nothing on tools I cant really imagine building a decent base for under $150. A crude base is possible at that price. There could be some techniques for making this not too bad with the above materials but would require more skills and tools.
Post here if you want some suggestions for making the base sort of niceish with the above materials.
Here is a suggestion - try and make just a coffee table in the style if you posted picture without any cushions. If you can do a decent job of that then move on from there. If you are dead set on a couch then I would suggest starting with the cushions. Price them out. If you find the right cushions then you can design your platform around them.
Oh - And one more thing. Once you get established, have more money, find a wife and move to the burbs. THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL YOU WIFE WILL LET YOU MOVE THAT THING INTO YOUR HOUSE.
FYI, I have a coffee table I built in college. Modeled after the tables at chili's restaurants. Tile top, etc. It came into the house for a short time but was banished pretty quickly.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thank you very much for your reply. This is the sort of post I needed. You mentioned that you could give me more suggestions on making a good "quality" base with my limitations? If you have a moment, I will definitely read your suggestions and see if I can do it.
Good night Keith
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Here is what I was thinking....
You will make a frame out of 2x4s, you have two options to make it look better than just slapping it toghether....
Option 1 A standard 2x4 is sanded on all 4 sides. This creates rounded edges. If your 2x4 is visible, you will have a gap where it meets the edge of the plywood. Find somone with a long bed jointer or a planer who can trim the 2x4s to make them perfectly flat or square. Once attached, it will look better, because it will fit tighter and have no gap at the edge of the 2x4 and the plywood. You still have the issue of the ugly edge of plywood which will still be visible after painting.
Option 2. make your 2x4 frame, do not worry about planing or jointing the 2x4s unless its easy to have this done and doesn't cost you anything. you will then wrap your 2x4 edge with the plywood. This would require you to cut a very accurate 45deg edge on the surface plywood and on the front plywood edge. Attache these with glue and screws to the 2x4 frame. Upside of this aproach - it will look the best. Downside of this - It will be very dificult to do if you do not have a perfectly straight frame and acurate cuts on the plywood.
Good luck
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

You are going to need tools.
--
dadiOH
____________________________
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
For the base - I would make a torsion box w/ the ribs going length wise w/ supporting cross members.
The rest of it - not sure yet - its just off the top of my head.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Go to a used furniture store and buy a brand-name sofa in poor condition. You're more interested in the structure than the finish. The unit must be in good structural condition, because you can use the frame as a basis for your creation. Sometimes charity resale stores or Salvation Army resale centers will have something that is out of style but structurally sound.
On 5 Oct 2005 16:59:41 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

That's some nice looking stuff!!! ______________

Seems to me that plywood and laminate is tailor made for it. _________________

Where did you see it? In the US?
Just about any 3/4" ply with a smooth surface (for laminate) should be fine. Even particle board if it has additional cross supports. Build up the edge thickness with narrower ply strips.
You can get ply at Home Depot and the like but they may not have anything other than fir which may or may not be suitable. A better place is a lumber yard, still better a cabinet maker supply place. Around here, 3/4" virola is around $30 per 4'x8' sheet. Virola is a wood from South America, looks like and has the same characteristics as luan. ___________________

Why would you want to do that? Your example looks like it has a box frame and (probably) zigger wire springs covered with padding and upholstery material. That is, the cushions are tight (integral) rather than loose. _______________________

The backs (and arms) of your example look like they have been made the same as the bottom; i.e., a frame covered with padding then upholstered. Back may or may not have zigger wire springs (probably not) but most likely includes foam as well as dacron pad.
Most likely, all pieces (bottom, top and arm frames) were assembled before covering. To do that, you'd need fair upholstery skills.
An alternative way (and possibly easier) would be to build and upholster the bottom. Build the arms and a back all the same height, thickness and shape and apply padding and muslin cover. Now, cut the upholstery material long enough the wrap each completely and attach it to just the *inside* of each piece. Attach each piece to the bottom and each other with screws then finish attaching the upholstery material to the outside of each. This would give you a "tuxedo" style sofa and you'd need loose back cushions. Those woulld be easiest by going to an upholstery shop and letting them make them up from wedge shaped foam. If this appeals to you, you'd have to make the bottom piece of a width to give comfortable seating after allowing for the thickness of the attached back and wedges.
An easier way to upholster the above is to completely upholster the insides of arms and backs, carrying that just an inch or so over the tops and ends. Then attach them to the bottom frame. Next, upholster the outside faces also carrying that an inch or so over the tops and ends. You now have unupholstered tops and ends that need to be covered...an attractive piece of hardwood would work well. The advantage of this is that there is no sewing necessary.
Your biggest problem is going to be in the frame of the upholstered bottom. The force from sitting on the couch and from zigger springs wants to pull the front and back of the frame toward each other. Easy answer is to cross brace the frame with wood but then you bottom out on them when you sit...not a good solution. What you need - in addition to stout lumber - are trusses. Commercially, they use steel ones...sort of "U" shaped, tops of the "U"s attach near the top of the front and back frame members. One could do something similar with wood knees attached near tops and to stout wood cross pieces attached low enough so you don't bottom out on them.
Now, if you build several smaller bottom frames - as it appears they have done in your example - rather than one big one, you wouldn't need the cross pieces but you would bottom out on the frame if you sat over it. No big deal, move your butt :)
In all cases, use good stout hardwood that holds fasteners well. I'd probably use 5/4 white oak (got lots on hand) but you could use thinner if corner blocked.
-- dadiOH ____________________________
dadiOH's dandies v3.06... ...a help file of info about MP3s, recording from LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that. Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Great reply except this guy wants to rely on home depot to make all the cuts for him. Its a pretty ambitious project for somone w/o tools, experience, a shop, etc.
To the OP. Here is an idea - if you can make the base frame. Then just get a sutible looking couch and modify it to fit (Cut the legs off). If you persue this approach then I would get the couch first and work from there. Plywood, not MDF or particle board and steel angle brackets as in the original. Laminate.
OK, to do it that way. You will need. (At a bare minimum!) Circular saw straight edge drill roller for contact cement trim sized router hand saw hammer glue and probably more that I didn't think of in the 30 seconds I spent thinking about this project.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
No wrote:

Indeed. Didn't see his post about lack of tools til after I wrote it. No loss, got me thinking about it and I might do it myself. For me, not him :)
-- dadiOH ____________________________
dadiOH's dandies v3.06... ...a help file of info about MP3s, recording from LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that. Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Its pretty trendy looking. I'm not sure I like the look at all. Probably in a few years I would hate it. I guess I'm more of a function over form kind of guy. Have fun.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.