Friday, September 9, 2011

Rebuilding Legs on a Sofa

wobbly leg
This sofa arrived with three wobbly legs. Not sure what to anticipate, I told my client  it's like "pulling a thread". I'd have to open up the bottom to see what's actually going on. Word to the wise: Beware of light weight sofas!

(what's inside?)
This sofa is made of factory stretched leather, so I wasn't keen on removing any of it unless I had to. I unscrewed the leg, then carefully pulled the dust covers back (2 layers) by removing the staples with a small head screw driver.

Yikes! The inside.
And then I saw it:  Pressed wood and pine, all stapled together.  A couple of bolts, no screws, and that's it! I was surprised that the legs were still attached.  All the bases for the legs had split.  One even had screws drilled in it to fix a split at the factory.

split leg
I would have to custom cut each piece to fit the sofa frame. The biggest difficulty, and a design flaw of this sofa, is that the bottom of each arm actually bowed outward at an angle to create the line of the arm. This meant that the piece of wood that anchored the leg NEVER sat flush against the base. And on one side, it was only supported by the edge of the wood that held the leg, and a wood wedge. AMAZING!

not much support here!
By trial and error, I came up with a plan. After drilling the center hole and placing the screw fitting that encased the leg into place,  I attached metal braces, one on each side of the leg fitting. I made sure these screws were positioned so that they gave me the most room above and below the piece of wood.

I then pre-drilled a hole through the sofa frame and the piece of wood holding the leg. I drilled though the frame far enough to make a mark on the wood with the leg fitting on it, then I took it out, put it in a vise, and drilled through the length of the piece.

 After that, I put the piece back into place, used a 6" bolt screw (with a washer) and carefully drilled it through and into the other side of  the sofa arm. Now, the piece of wood holding the leg is not only stronger, but it is locked into place with glue, 2 bolts that go all the way through it, and anchored by metal braces.

This should now support heavy people, kids, and the occasional elephant.

locked and anchored into place

So.... again:  Since you almost never get a chance to see what's "under the hood" when buying a sofa - remember the weight. Good wood is heavy.   Pine and particle board is light.

You absolutely get what you pay for.

No comments:

Post a Comment