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Even when you shore up the frame, take care not to stretch and/or tighten your elastic webbing too tight. The reason for the elasticity is to allow some flex. The non-elastic webbing is there to limit the amount of flex. The only webbing that is pulled as tight as you can (without breaking the frame) is jute webbing (woven, much thicker burlap webbing). There are two types of tools used to tighten jute webbing, in essence to wrench jute webbing firmly tight.... not a consideration here.

Because of the flex of your front rail, double check your rail attachment to the corner "posts". Make sure they are still secure and not loose.

Your problematic issues to this point are not great and easily repaired. Remain confident all will work out fine.

You can expect a similar type issue, or two, when applying your upholstery fabric. At times, even I have to unstaple fabric and tweak the alignment, the fit, in order to make it right. I'm anticipating you will learn as you go in this department, as well. A hint as to applying fabric: Think of wrapping a holiday gift package.... smoothen the fabric over the span, fold the corners where applicable. All corners are essentially miters, no matter what material being used - wood, metal, cloth, gift wrap..., miter cut (and sew seams), miter fold, miter crease, miter fit). Might sound intimidating, but actually simple. I assume you're more familiar with gift wrapping, so again, think the gift wrapping concept.... will get to this when the time comes.
 

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Discussion Starter #42
John, that was a pic from before we ripped off the elastic and reinforced the frame. So far so good with the new system but I think I'm adding two additional cross braces on the other couch.
 

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Discussion Starter #43
Phew, webbing done. We continue to make every possible mistake, and on couch #2 we went too loose with the elastic rather than too tight. At least that's easier to fix. We braced the frame much better and no bowing this time:

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I'm not sure if our secondary webbing is too loose. Thoughts? (Can see the looseness in the 2nd black secondary strap). It feels very comfortable.

It's starting to look like a couch!

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We need to shore up the bracing for couch #1 (under the foam in that pic), we were thinking about using a car jack to un-bow the front support to add another and better cross brace. Or maybe should just redo the webbing.

We probably made them a bit too high, or at least too high to add feet. But I think it'll be fine, just a little on the high side. We're trying to use these couches for work as well as relaxing so high could be useful. Or at least that's what I'll tell anyone who says it's too high.
 

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Thank you for sharing your progress and lessons with all of us. My spouse and I both laughed out loud at your line, "We continue to make every possible mistake..."

I looks like it will become a very comfortable, fine couch.
 

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Secondary webbing too loose? If you think its too loose, then snug it a tad. Your on site judgement is better than ours. Do the press-down-test as the video guy did. First time efforts as this will always have mistakes, adjustments. I make adjusts to my work often times, also.... part of the learning, experience.

Couch 1 has different depression than couch 2 ! Well, maybe not so bad a thing. Some of your patrons may prefer a softer seat, so you have two options for them. Besides, giv'um a couple of drinks and they won't know the difference.

Seems, since you've gotten the elastic webbing to your comfort/satisfaction, the firmness of the foam is not so much a consideration, now, as opposed to when your had (tested) the boards under the foam. Always try to do some sort of testing of "operations", before proceeding to the next step. Similarly, when applying your fabric, take a step back and view what you've done in/for each step, for each section of application. Make sure the visual/visuals looks coordinated and appropriate, as well.

I would have installed a few more backrest strands of webbing. Your strands look a bit too wide apart. Again, consider installing some sort of thin sheet barrier (muslin, burlap, cloth) between the webbing and foam.

Couch #1 - again, your on site judgement is better than ours. Redo the webbing. Sliders as feet will probably work ok. Might not need elevated feet.

Generally, domestic/private scenarios: Dining chair seats are usually about 19" high. Arm chair and sofa seats about 17.5" to 18" high. Ottoman height 18" or the same as accompanying/matching chair or sofa. Seats may not be flat. Many cushioned seats have a crown, so heights can vary a bit. Have to factor in softness of cushions, i.e., how far they will depress when in use, also. Commercial scenarios are, can be, a bit different.

Sonny
 

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Second look, opinion: Just because I think the backrest webbing LOOKS too wide apart, doesn't mean they are. With the foam in place, testing the comfort, if it's comfortable for you, then more strands are probably not needed. And again, a muslin, burlap, cloth barrier will further nullify the wide apart webbing idea I have/had.

Sonny
 

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Discussion Starter #47 (Edited)
I removed the seat webbing from couch 1, and it was ridiculously tight. I don't know what I was thinking. I was able to reuse the pulled bands of webbing to add to the backrests, so all it cost us was staples.

The top of our couch is about 19.5" high with the 4" foam. I think it's fine. Hopefully shorter people think so too. If not I'll explain to them how we wanted the couch to be high for working and eating, or something like that.

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Discussion Starter #48 (Edited)
We're onto the upholstery. Quick question: when I staple the muslin down and sit on it, it has a tendency to tear at the staples. Is there some other method I should be using for this?

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We had to take apart the couch it's replacing since it wouldn't fit through the door, and we noticed it used a lot of these on the upholstery. Should we use something like this?

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And in the video he uses thin pieces of wood:

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And here's the upholstery we'll be using, a gift from a friend.



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I kind of like it in 2-tone...
 

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Discussion Starter #51
Couch #1 is done! Oops I didn't get a pic of it totally done, but we now have the backrest fabric finished too. I'll post a pic tomorrow.

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The base still isn't done, but we're considering options and not rushing that one. One of the options is to use some thick plexiglass to cover it and then back light it. Would need to come up with some diffusion. In the covid era with all the moisture barriers being built there's lots of nice thick scrap plexi available. It wouldn't be a single piece but maybe we could make panels look good.

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Or we could even just paint the wood black and call it done for now.

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Late in replying, been out of town helping nephew repair home storm damage.... going back again today, so limited reply here.

Not sure why your muslin tore at staple points. Would need to know what points tore to asses problem. That sure is lots of staple for the muslin. Since its a liner, only needed a staple every 3"-4" along longer stretches.

So for, all in all, for a first time upholstery effort and with no in-person guidance, you seem to be doing a good job.

Don't know if you'll apply a full length backrest panel of fabric..... or half way down panel. Either way, the blind tack strip is used for/on the side edges. In the video, the guy stitched that backrest edge to the side edge together, rather than using a tack strip.

As for as any edges or edgings, borders between your different panels, an option for a neat, clean transition from one to another - cording/piping and gimp trim is used. Sometimes no trim feature is used. Depends on the general design and preference of the customer (or decorator). A trim may not be an option for you now and you may not be able to make/sew piping. If you would end up having a staple line that needs covering up, you might consider using a gimp trim. You can get gimp in a color or pattern that coordinates with your fabric or design and its easy to apply... you hot glue it in place. Use a small bead of glue.... you prefer not the have glue squeeze out, so use a small bead. If you opt for this, you'll discover what size bead is best.

I need to run. I may comment later or tomorrow, if need be.
Sonny
 

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Discussion Starter #53 (Edited)
Well I thought I posted this last night but apparently not. But the below was written before seeing your latest post Sonny. As far as the upholstery, we kept things very simple, just stapled everything to the back of the couch. We did have to do some sewing at the armrest corner and it came out a bit rough (I blame the Walgreens sewing kit) but no biggie, we hope to fix that later, ideally with someone who can sew better than us. All in all very happy with it. We definitely overstapled the muslin, and I don't think we used the tack strips in the conventional way (we used them as washers essentailly), but I think it's all holding well.

The dimensions are great, the firmness is perfect (a thousand thank you's Sonny, you saved us from so many mistakes there), the size is perfect, everything. A thousand thank you's all around. I can't think of anything I'd change except maybe make it less tall, but that's fine too and is perfect as long as we don't add legs.

Last night's post:

Couch #1 is done! Oops I didn't get a pic of it totally done, but we now have the backrest fabric finished too. I'll post a pic tomorrow.

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The base still isn't done, but we're considering options and not rushing that one. One of the options is to use some thick plexiglass to cover it and then back light it. Would need to come up with some diffusion. In the covid era with all the moisture barriers being built there's lots of nice thick scrap plexi available. It wouldn't be a single piece but maybe we could make panels look good.

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Or we could even just paint the wood black and call it done for now.

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Discussion Starter #54
The base of couch#2 is painted now. I should probably add some tacks where the staples are.

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Discussion Starter #55 (Edited)
We're parlaying our newly acquired master hack sofa building skills to some lounge seating... It was inspired by this, which I saw when researching dimensions for our couch:

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If anyone has $20,000 burning a hole in their pocket for some lounge seating, I highly recommend it. Here's the product page:


But as a sofa builder my first thought was that I could probably build it for a lot less than $20k. So I took some measurements "to see if it'll fit in my living room" and the main pieces are about 37 inches square by 6 inches thick. As luck would have it a queen sized mattress is 80" wide, which is pretty close to 37 x 2. And if there's one thing I've learned from building sofas it's that foam is the expensive part. So I hit Craigslist looking for a foam mattress and found the "Zinus 12 Inch Green Tea Memory Foam". Here it is on Amazon:


I picked up a queen for $50 and a full for $20.

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The construction is interesting:

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At the moment I'm enjoying the extra height, but I think the memory foam is just overly soft foam that gives it a bit of a dead "stuck in the cushion" feel. Would probably be nicer with two of the 7" foam layers glued together. I think the 7" foam layer is the same density as the foam I bought from Amazon, but I haven't done any side by side comparisons yet. Any advice for comparing foam density? I have some scrap pieces of the 4" foam I can use for comparison.

Here's the queen cut in half as our v1, using the cushions from our old couch as backrests, a system we plan to improve:

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That carpet is on its way out, and I've since removed that plant in the corner. We're considering adding the two halves of the "full" mattress in that corner, which could be a table, half of which could be an on-demand ottoman to make a bed in front of the seating. And I'd like to use it as a project to improve my sewing skills, since making covers for those cushions with interesting fabrics seems like a good learner project.

On a sidenote I found this Amazon review about there being fiberglass inside the mattress cover, and figured it was someone being hysterical. The queen mattress had nothing like that inside. But the full absolutely did! Yikes! I can't believe someone was sleeping on this! Full on itchy stuff.

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Somewhat easily vacuumed away though.
 

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Any advice for comparing foam density? I have some scrap pieces of the 4" foam I can use for comparison.
You likely can't do an adequate comparison using small pieces of foam, especially if you squeeze the foam with your hands. You'd need to sit or back against different sheets or panels to perform an adequate comparison. When considering foam, it's not just density you should be concerned with. Consider quality, also. Cheap foam may be the same density as another, but will last half as long. You mentioned your foam cost the most. The cost of natural latex foam is about double the price, but is very high quality and will last a long time.

Couch #2 doesn't need any tacks or more staples.
 

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Discussion Starter #57
Interesting. What happens when the foam doesn't last, does it rot or get too squish or something else?

I cut up the "full" mattress to make two 37.5" square pieces (which is exactly half the length of the mattress, I suspect this is how the design for the Roche Bobois $20k lounge cushions started) and made a corner piece. It's two layers, each of which is about 8.5" with the memory foam removed. Very comfy, and a good side table, and one of the pieces can go on the floor to make a bed.

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Furniture foam goes bad for different reasons, no matter what the quality: food/drink spills, pets, heavy use in one spot.... to name a few. Old foam crumbles.... I describe it as dry rots. A layer of fiberfill between fabric and foam will help delay any deterioration. Sometimes fiberfill and a layer of cotton is applied, both are relatively inexpensive.
 

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Discussion Starter #59 (Edited)
Aha, thanks for that.

And shoot, looks like the two mattresses I got, both of which are "Zinus 12 Inch Green Tea Memory Foam Mattress" (link) are much different firmness. The queen is really firm and great for cushions (on right):

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I love the feel of it, even with the squishy memory foam, which I now have on the bottom.

The full is much softer. It would probably be ok if I didn't have the queen to compare it to, but as it is I much prefer the queen. The 3" memory foam is already removed in this pic.

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I'm trying to figure out when they each was made so I can see if it's just the old version versus new.

Edit: just found out the queen is 2 years old, and the full is 3.5 years old, so hopefully their newer ones have the good firmness. It's also possible that the queens and fulls use different foam I guess.
 

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Discussion Starter #60 (Edited)
And I just added up the expenses, was about $700 for the two couches including everything. Not cheap, but they fit our spot perfectly, and will last forever or as long as we need, and if they don't we'll fix them so they do.
 
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