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Can I remove the arm of a sofa and make it stable so someone can lean against the back at that point.

I have a heavy old sofa, good quality, overstuffed, with a fully enclosed frame. The back is the same height as the arms, straight back that curves slightly into the arms, rather than meeting at a 90 degree angle. I want to cut one of the arms off (to mesh with another sofa, to make an L shaped seating area) is this possible. Anyone know any resources online to guide me? or does anyone have tips. I was thinking I need to strip back covering, padding etc. Cut off the arm and trip and resew/staple the wadding/covering back in place, but I need to do something to take the weight of a person leaning against the back that is now unsupported by the arm....I assume....I was thinking of getting an upsidedown T-shaped piece of metal made up, the upright part to be screwed to the wood of the back, and the rest screwed onto the frame around seat level....and then put back wadding/cover as before.what do you think. would it work?

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jackflap832 years ago

Hello! I'm about to do the same! And I hadn't even considered the weight/support thing? Did you need extra support in the end? If so how did you do it? Thank you ;)

gni3 years ago

do you have a tutorial of how to do this or what you did? I was looking to do the same thing but I have couches that I don't think will hold up when you take off one side of the legs and I was wondering what to do? Thanks.

edel (author)  gni3 years ago

Hi Gni

I was lucky with the shape that I had, the wooden frame of the couch once I had stripped back all of the layers, allowed me to take off the frame for the arm, without compromising the overall integrity.


I don't have a tutorial, but if your couch is fully upholstered without visible legs, I would definitely say go for it, because you can always add in some wood to improve the structural integrity of the frame once you take off the arm, if necessary. once you put back the padding and fabric cover, any remedial work will be invisible.

edel (author)  gni3 years ago

Hi Gni

I was lucky with the shape that I had, the wooden frame of the couch once I had stripped back all of the layers, allowed me to take off the frame for the arm, without compromising the overall integrity.


I don't have a tutorial, but if your couch is fully upholstered without visible legs, I would definitely say go for it, because you can always add in some wood to improve the structural integrity of the frame once you take off the arm, if necessary. once you put back the padding and fabric cover, any remedial work will be invisible.

edel (author) 7 years ago
OK so i did it, took heart and just chopped it off. OK I did it a little more systematically than that. peeled back the fabric, then the foam, to find an incredibly well made structure of wood/ hardboard and webbing underneath, I chopped off the arm with no loss of stability, used a staple gun to reattach some webbing to give additional stability, used the offcuts of the foam to pack it out and resewed and stapled the fabric in place.

looks great now!

thanks for the encouragement
edel (author) 7 years ago
I am a pretty good seamstress, I sew a lot and am good with fabric, actually making a tidy job isnt what worries me..its the carpentry bit!... do you think that I would need a metal support, or could I push the load downwards by simply reinforcing the upright of the back??

Start the job, post some pictures and we can offer some advice, anything else isn't going to be constructive.
I think you have the mechanics of making the frame sound again just right. Making a really tidy upholstered job of the reworked fabric is probably not that easy, unless you've practised on something first. I have a couple of good books I bought in the craft section of Borders that have helped on a couple of jobs, but you can't beat some experience on scraps first, and some of the special tools, like curved needles, and upholstery thread.

Steve
Steve, as I was reading his question I was formulating almost the exact answer you posted.  I agree 100%.

I think the only thing he lacks is the confidence to get that first cut made.

edel - go for it.