How to Build a Sofa from Scratch

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example of a couch made
example of a couch made

Building a rustic sofa from scratch is a great way to create a centerpiece for a living room or sitting room that will not only service as a conversation piece but will also function as a usable piece of furniture. You can take an elaborate approach and make something that looks like it cost a fortune, or go with a rustic approach and choose function over form.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 1/4-inch-thick by 3-inch-wide pine boards
  • Table saw
  • Biscuit jointer
  • Wood biscuits
  • Wood glue
  • Bar clamps
  • 2-inch-thick furniture-grade plywood
  • Band saw
  • Hand drill
  • 1/4-inch drill bit
  • Screwdriver
  • 3-inch-long wood screws
  • 600-grit sandpaper
  • 800-grit sandpaper
  • 1000-grit sandpaper
  • Wood stain
  • Rags
  • 2-inch-thick furniture foam
  • Upholstery fabric
  • Spray adhesive
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Instructions

    • 1

      Cut 10 pieces of 1 1/4-inch-thick by 3-inch-wide pine boards to a 6-foot length with a miter saw.

    • 2

      Cut grooves into each side of six of the boards with a biscuit jointer. Cut a groove into one edge on each of the remaining boards.

    • 3

      Apply wood glue to the grooves. Slide wood biscuits into each groove. Space the biscuits approximately 12 inches apart. Place five boards together end-to-end and clamp them together with the bar clamps. Place the other five board together end-to-end and clamp them together with bar clamps. Make sure you place the boards with only one groove at the ends of the board sections. Allow 24 hours drying. These two sections of boards will make the seat rest and the back rest.

    • 4

      Cut an L bracket out of 2-inch-thick furniture grade plywood. Make each leg of the L bracket 14 inches long. Cut the L bracket out with a band saw. Cut each leg so it is approximately 2 inches thick.

    • 5

      Drill five evenly spaced pilot holes through the back and bottom edges of the L brackets with a ¼-inch drill bit. Position the L brackets approximately 5 feet apart, then place the back rest against the vertical portion of the L bracket.

    • 6

      Secure the brackets to the back rest by driving 3-inch wood screws through the holes in the back of the L brackets and into the back rest. Repeat the process with the seat rest on the bottom of the L bracket. This secures the back and seat rest together.

    • 7

      Cut four pieces of 2-inch-thick furniture grade plywood to a length of 15 inches and a height of 24 inches. Cut two pieces of 2-inch-thick furniture grade plywood to a length of 15 inches and a height of 22 inches.

    • 8

      Glue a piece of the 15-by-24-inch board to the 15-by-22-inch board and then glue a second 15-by-24-inch board to the 15-by-22-inch board. Clamp the boards together with the bar clamp and allow 24 hours drying time. Repeat this with the second set of boards. These glued boards will comprise the legs.

    • 9

      Apply glue to the L bracket on the bottom of the seat rest and then slide the lengths in place. The center of the leg is recessed to-inches to accommodate the thickness and the depth of the L bracket. Secure the legs to the L brackets with 3-inch wood screws.

    • 10

      Sand the surface of the wood with 600-grit, 800-grit and then 1000-grit sandpaper and then wipe the surface of the wood down with a tack cloth.

    • 11

      Stain the surface of the wood with a wood stain and a cotton rag. Wipe off the excess stain after approximately 30 minutes. Allow 24 hours drying time.

    • 12

      Cut two pieces of 2-inch thick furniture-grade foam to a length of 5 ½ feet and a width of 14 inches.

    • 13

      Apply spray adhesive to the surface of the foam and then place upholstery fabric over the foam. Wrap the fabric over the edges and under the foam. Do this with both piece of foam.

    • 14

      Spay the bottom of the foam with the spray adhesive and then place the foam onto the seat rest. Center the foam from front to back and left to right. Spray the second piece of foam and place it on the seat back. Again, center from top to bottom and left to right.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can use old blankets for batting as well as old pillows for the side arms to cut down the cost of your sofa.

  • You may want to wear gloves while using the staple gun and stretching the springs to prevent cuts and blisters.

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References

  • Charles Silket; Woodworker; Northampton, Pa

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