Couch de-sag-ification

SkillLevel3Our new green couch was much more comfortable in the showroom than in our TV room. Of course they delivered one from the warehouse–not the one we sat on in the store–and quality, shall we say, can vary.

When my ever-loving wife, “Spud” (not her real name), and I sat on the couch the middle would sink like the Titanic and tilt us nearly head-to-head, which is all very romantic and everything but hard on the old spinal column. It looked like we were the Stephen Hawking twins slouching in our wheelchairs.

Clearly the springs were shot in this couch, which speaks to the poor quality of furniture construction these days. Several years ago we bought a couch at Nebraska Furniture Mart, which is “the largest home furnishing store in North America,” and the wood frame was broken in one of the arms the day we got it. Their warranty states, “We want all furniture that we sell to be free of manufacturing defects for a period of one year from the date of the original delivery …. During this period we will, at our option, repair or replace any furniture containing a manufacturing defect.” They sent a local furniture repairman to verify the broken frame but Nebraska Furniture Mart never repaired or replaced it. We were not amused. I suggest you shop elsewhere for furniture. But I digress.

Most online advice for fixing a sagging couch says to get a thin piece of plywood the size of the couch bottom and put it under the cushions. So now you are sitting on a piece of wood, which kind of defeats the purpose. This also won’t stop the sagging in the middle–it just makes it a firmer sag. If the plywood is thick enough not to sag over a distance of about 5 feet, which is a typical couch width, it will feel like you are sitting on a tree stump. On the bright side, you could pretend you are one of Robin Hood’s Merry Men taking a break out in the forest.

My first attempt to fix the sagging couch was to wedge some flexible plastic conduit (like they use for electrical wires) to push up on the couch bottom. Then I added some plastic shipping pouches of packing material between the pipes to really tighten it up. The sagging was a tiny bit better but the couch was terribly noisy with squeaks and squawks every time someone, i.e. Spud, adjusted her bohunkus.

So I hit the web and found another approach. The basic idea is that if the springs are too weak, make them stronger. Weaving a tight cord through each spring will stiffen it.

Wrap a clothesline around each spring of the couch.
Wrap a clothesline around each spring of the couch.
The cord is around each spring and then woven into the zigs and zags.
The cord is around each spring and then woven into the zigs and zags.

I turned over the couch, removed the short legs and pulled off the staples holding the dust cover to the bottom. The springs are heavy wire in a zigzag shape fastened at each end to the wood frame with a little bracket.

From my stash of parts I found a clothesline and tied one end to the top bracket holding the first spring and looped the cord around the bracket on the bottom end of the spring. Then I wrapped it around the bottom bracket of the next spring and back up to the top bracket and so on all the way across. I pulled the cord as tight as I could for each spring and then tied it off after the last spring.

Sometimes it takes some prying with pliers to get the cord in place.
Sometimes it takes some prying with pliers to get the cord in place.

Now to make it tighter I wove the cord in and out of each zigzag in the springs.

When it got really hard to force the cord around a zig or a zag, I used a screwdriver or pair of pliers to pry it over the wire. That was a good indication that the spring was getting stiffer than Al Gore.

The cord is snugly woven into all of the springs.
The cord is snugly woven into all of the springs.
A pneumatic stapler makes quick work of reattaching the dust cover.
A pneumatic stapler makes quick work of reattaching the dust cover.

My pneumatic stapler (See “Coming to a big screen near you.”) made easy work of tacking the dust cover back on the bottom of the couch. After screwing on the legs, I flipped the couch right-side up and invited Spud to have the honor of testing the new-and-improved couch.

Her testimonial: “Before, I could get through only one episode of Shark Tank before my back started aching. With the repaired springs I can now watch back-to-back episodes of Shark Tank and Property Brothers.”

You couldn’t ask for a finer endorsement than that.

 

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2 thoughts on “Couch de-sag-ification”

  1. Perfect! The springs in my chair are not broken, but the fabric above them had torn. I don’t want to tear the whole chair apart, but without the added strength of the fabric, the springs are too weak. Your fix will save this old chair!!

  2. You have the perfect fix for our cheap couch. I plan on putting more springs in first then a heavy blanket between springs and fabric then string it up.

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