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Picture of DIY $125 Futon
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/* I submitted this project into the 4th Epilog challenge. The project was accepted, but didn't make the final cut before judging. Thank you to everyone who voted, and congrats to the contest finalists! */

Hello fellow DIYers. I'm the DiscountCollegeStudent, but you can call me Disco Stu for short. As my name implies, I'm a college student, and I'm cheap. But don't assume that just because I said you can call me Disco Stu, that I like Disco.

// A quick intro - why I'm on this site, and what I'm looking to accomplish. Feel free to skip if you're bored by long-winded speeches //

I began college at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2008, and halfway through my first semester, the economy collapsed. I struggled to make ends meet in the second semester, and after the school year finished, I withdrew due to financial constraints and moved back home to OC. I spent 2 years taking courses at the local community college in an effort to save money on my GE. College has always been expensive, and a relatively difficult time in a student's life, but it has gotten worse in recent years. If you graduated before 2007, consider yourself very lucky - no matter how much debt you may currently have or whatever worthless degree you may have gotten. If you're currently in college, or getting ready to go soon, cheer up - the worst has yet to come!

Because of the
nature of today's economy, anyone right now, but especially college students, can truly appreciate a good bargain. I'm returning to Berkeley to finish up my degree in Computer Science, and have set out to further change my spending habits in an effort to stretch every dollar. I'll document my efforts on this site in hopes of helping my fellow college students, or anyone else, who may be looking to save a few bucks here and there.

I will try to post up about 2-3 major projects per year to try to give college DIYers a nifty way to save money, acquire something functional and useful, while also getting that DIY monkey off their backs. I'll also post mini-projects if I have any. This is the first project of the many I currently have planned.

// Ok, done rambling //

Back in 2008, I went to my local Wally Mart and got myself a nice futon. It was rolled tubular steel, had good welds, and came with a decent mattress, all for $100. Because of its size, I had to give it away to a friend when I moved. Now that I'm going back to college, I want to get another one. Unfortunately, current futon prices, much like Pet Rock prices, are plain ridiculous . However, unlike Pet Rocks, making a futon at home isn't as easy as some Elmer's glue and googly-eyes.

I searched all over the internet for a good set of Futon instructions. And by, "All over the internet," I mean the first page of Google. A lot of information is scattered here and there, and many of the whole project pages are old. Really old. Like, 1989 "I typed these instructions while playing a radical text-based MUD game..." old. Amazingly, I couldn't find a fully fleshed-out set of plans on Instructables for a proper futon. So I set out to change that.

I collected what I could, and aggregated it all here on this project page for your viewing pleasure. If you've wanted to build a futon all your life (pretty low life expectations, if I may say so), and you wanted proper instructions from someone who knew what they were doing, you're in the wrong place. My woodworking and metalworking skills are next to none. I only own 2 power tools: a B&D cordless drill and my trusty Dremel 300. What I do have, is a good set of basic hand tools, and a lot of patience. If you want to try this project out, I'd recommend you have the same. Being a beginner myself, my instructions, and my assumptions, will be written with the beginner DIYer in mind.

To qualify as a proper futon in my book, it must have:
- Comfortable cushions
- A complex-motion folding mechanism (ie. something more complex than a bi-fold hinge design).
- A sturdy frame.
- Modularity (the ability to be broken down for moving, repairing, replacing, or cleaning purposes)

Remember to use full safety gear, including, but not limited to, work gloves, eye protection, and face mask/respirator. I am not responsible for anything stupid you might do to yourself. If you do something brilliant in the process of building this futon, I claim all the intellectual property rights to it. Patent pending. All rights reserved. No take-backs.

If you're up for it, let's begin. If not, there's probably a rerun of the Simpsons on right now. If you're lucky, it'll be one that doesn't suck (but don't hold your breath).
 
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Step 1: A brief description

Picture of A brief description
This is a futon. It's part sofa, part bed, but so much cooler than a sofa-bed.

If multipurpose furniture were Transformers, the futon would be Optimus: confident and understated; the sofa-bed would be Wreck-Gar: trashy and hyphenated.

In building this, we want a functional, sturdy (hopefully aesthetically pleasing), affordable piece of furniture that will last you at least through college with proper care. Most importantly, it must be comfortable. However, this is largely up to you. I can recommend the cushion materials and methods for making the cushion itself, but how they feel to you and what you are getting for your money will be independent of what I say or do. In other words, for comfort, you're on your own. Just use your best judgment, and if you want, experiment with other methods.

This is a low-profile, smaller futon. The futon frame will be approximately 23.5" high, 28" deep, and 80" long. If you include the seat, it will be ~34" deep and 42" high. As a bed, it will be 54" deep and 25.5" high.

The combined mattress is 54" x 72". This is slightly shorter than a standard full. The reason for this is that a standard sheet of plywood is only 48" wide, and 24 is a factor of both 48 and 72, thus, using six 24" x 27" cuts, we can get away with a single sheet of plywood. If we made it standard full, 54"x75", we would need two sheets of plywood to accommodate the dimensions we need (six 25" x 27" pieces). I realize that in reality, we won't get two 24" pieces from a 48" piece. Because of the saw, we'll end up with a 24" piece and a 23.75" piece or so. But, for our purposes, it's fine.

Cushion thickness will vary depending on the materials you use and how much you use, but expect around 4-5 inches of thickness with my method. For reference, my old futon had a 3" mattress and I had no trouble sleeping on it. The mattress itself will be split into 6 sections of 24" x 27" for modularity. The ability to remove small sections of the seat is very important to me, in case I need to clean it, or replace/repair it. Of course, you could make the mattress in however many pieces you wish.

The seat will be about 16" off the ground where your legs hang off. The armrest will be 23.5" high. In the bed position, the bottom of the mattress will be about 14" off the ground.

You could easily build this entire futon using bolts and screws reinforcing butt joints, but there would be a lot of visible hardware showing. In an effort to maximize aesthetics, I intentionally set out to build this with as few bolts, screws, or nails showing as possible. The best way to reduce the number of visible fasteners is to reduce the actual number of fasteners. Because of that, this futon is largely held together by mortise and tenon joints and hidden fasteners. As a matter of fact, almost every major joint load-bearing is a mortise and tenon joint. The only exceptions will be the long pieces of the frame, which are held together with a lap joint and reinforced with 2 bolts. Every other non-major joint will be a dowel inside a butt joint. The rear of the frame is reinforced with a few screws (a pocket-hole joint), but it is still fundamentally a mortise and tenon joint.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mortise_and_tenon
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lap_joint
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pocket_hole_joinery

I lack the sewing skills necessary to make the cushion with a removable cover, so the covers in this project are stapled onto wood. If you have the know-how to make zippered covers, more power to you.

Although I used other sources as reference material, the designs specified on this project are my own. They were cobbled together after careful observation of dozens of other futons both in real life and in photographs and schematics. It is not a copy of a single design, but an amalgam of them all, with some simplified ideas of my own thrown in. I have tried my best to give credit where it's due, but if there is any dispute, feel free to contact me. However, don't pull an Apple on me an say I stole your rounded corners. It's a futon - they all fundamentally look the same.

This design is a first draft. I drew it up once, and have made no major modifications to it - much like my English essays. And, if it's anything else like my English essays, it'll be barely passable.

Step 2: Materials and tools

If you build the bare-bones version of this futon (no extra aesthetic features, minimal cuts and hardware), it'll cost you in the $110-$130 range for materials, depending on what you already have on hand. I'll make a note of the optional stuff as we go along. If you add all the optional aesthetic stuff, it'll push the cost upwards of $130-$150. As always, pricing and availability will vary based on your location.

I recommend you read the entire Instructable before beginning the project, since I will be giving a sets of alternative directions here and there. You can mix and match these alternative direction with the directions I give to customize your futon. The main directions I provide are how I built my particular futon. The alternatives I give will either make the project easier, or harder, depending on what you are looking for in a futon. If you are a complete beginner, I would recommend you just follow my main set of instructions, word for word, and not try to make any modifications as you go along.

Materials:
One 4" x 4" x 8' stud [$7]
Nine 2" x 4" x 8' [$2.50 each]
One 7/16" x 4' x 8' OSB sheathing sheet [$6]
Two nylon garage door rollers [$3]
Six yd. fabric [$ varies]
2' wooden or plastic dowel (keep it between 1/4in to 1/2in diameter to make things easy) [$1]
Two 1/4" cross dowel barrel nuts [$2.50]
Ten 1/4" hex nuts [$2.00]
Twenty-four 1/4" washers [$2]
Sixteen 1/4" hex bolts (twelve 3" long, four 2.25" long) [$4]
Six matching door hinges {$1 ea @ dollar store]
2" wood screws [$4]
One full-sized foam mattress topper [$25]
Six bags 16oz Poly-Fil [$3.50 each]
OR Eight standard-sized 'firm' pillows [$4 each]
OR Four 24"x48" body pillows [$7 each]
Old (clean) t-shirt or other cloth [free]

=== Total = $108 - $119 (plus fabric)

Optional Materials:
Wood glue (or any wood compatible glue)
Stain (I used Cherry)
Varnish (I prefer satin or semi-gloss for this project, but use whatever you want)
Non-latex, semi-gloss paint
Extra filling/cushions/pillows for more comfort (you can use old pillows too, just wash them first).
Zipper
Extra hinges for more strength.
1.5" wood screws (if the hinges don't come with screws)

Tools:
Hand saw (carpenter saw)
Fine cut saw (aka dovetail/dowel saw, but you could get away with a small coping saw or hacksaw)
Chisel & hammer
Square file
Scissors
Tape measurer
C-clamps
Pencil and eraser
Rubber mallet or some other nondestructive, blunt instrument to hammer the wood. Don't use your forehead.
Staple gun w/ staples
Dremel with multipurpose bit [#561] and cutting guide
Power drill (and drill bits to match your screws, bolts, dowel, etc.)
Sandpaper - several sheets of 40 grit to 120 grit at least, but higher is ok.

Optional Tools:
Bubble level
Carpenter square
Hole cutter for drill
Paint brushes
Dremel routing bit
Sewing machine
Circular saw / table saw (I don't own either of these, but it sure would have made this project easier if I did)

These are the two saws I used:
http://www.amazon.com/Shark-10-2204-Dowel-Dovetail-Detail/dp/B00004TBPU/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1318528423&sr=8-3
http://www.amazon.com/Shark-Corp-10-2312-12-Inch-Carpentry/dp/B00004TBPZ/ref=pd_bxgy_hi_text_b

Step 3: The Lumber

Picture of The Lumber
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// See alternative #1 as well //

If you can get the lumber cut at the home improvement store where you bought it, that would be ideal and would save you a lot of manual labor with the carpenter saw. Otherwise, be prepared to call your doctor with tendonitis, because you're going to be stroking a lot of wood...with a saw.

Word of warning: home improvement stores (I won't say which one, but let's say it rhymes with Bone Creep-Oh) tend to not cut lumber very accurately. This is because they offer the service mostly to help you fit lumber in your car, not do precision cuts. Because of this, be prepared to have to do some sawing, or sanding no matter how you cut your lumber.

Here are the length cuts (and dimensional cuts for plywood), grouped by brackets, with each bracket representing a single piece of lumber. Lightly use the pencil to mark the cut beforehand, then erase it afterwards if you have to. All measurements here are in inches. As always, measure twice, cut once, and try not to lose any fingers.

// Side note, in case you haven't noticed it yet, the 2x4s aren't actually 2in x 4in. They're a little smaller. Same with the 4x4s. Be sure to take this into account if you decide to substitute anything using the alternatives. My studs were 1.5"x3.5", and 3.5"x3.5" for the 2x4s and 4x4, respectively. I'm assuming yours are the same too. If not, adjust all the measurements in the rest of the steps as needed. //

4x4
[23, 23, 23, 23]

2x4
[37, 37, 21]
[37, 37, 21]
[37, 37, 21]
[37, 37, 21]
[39, 39, 14]
[39, 39, 14]
[21, 21, 21, 21, 10]
[28, 28, 21, 10]
[21, 10, 10]

Dowel
[2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2]

Sheathing
[24x26.5, 24x26.5, 24x26.5, 24x26.5, 24x26.5, 24x26.5]

Save all the scraps.

If you're having trouble cutting the sheathing, I'd recommend clamping a straightedge, like a yard stick, onto the sheathing and using your Dremel multipurpose bit to cut the wood. Place the Dremel (turned off) on the edge where the cut should be. Make a small mark where the edge of the Dremel cutting guide is. Then, position the straightedge at that mark and clamp it down. Follow the straightedge with your cutting guide and you should end up with a perfect line. However, I had no trouble cutting it with the carpenter saw.

The sheathing is slightly smaller than the 24"x27" specified. This is because when folded, two of the pieces will meet. Having 27" pieces will cause them to obstruct each other. 26.5" works perfectly fine.

You don't have to follow these groups of cuts exactly. I'm just assuming you purchased the lumber I suggested on the previous page, but if you bought longer or shorter lengths, cut them however you want, as long as you are capable of getting all the necessary lengths.

Step 4: Prep

Picture of Prep
Sand down the wood a bit to make it a little smoother. Focus especially on the cuts. Sand them down to avoid splinters. Also sand down the sharp edges of the sheathing.

Once done sanding, clean the wood. Wipe it down with a clean, lightly damp, cloth. If you can squeeze water out of the cloth, there's too much water and it will soak into the wood. You want this water to stay on the surface and dry up as fast as possible. The sheathing needs no more work. Set it aside. If there is any tree sap on the lumber, clean it with some rubbing alcohol on a clean cloth. It should dissolve and come right off with a little elbow grease. If you're using a high % alcohol (90% or higher), you can be pretty liberal with it, since the water content is very low.

Using either a light pencil, or a sticky-note, you will number each side of each piece with a number between 1-6. Look at the picture for clarification. This is mostly to help me communicate with you, since it's easier to say turn clockwise to side 3 , rather than saying turn clockwise until a flat surface is facing up and the surface with the hole is pointing right .

Label each identical piece with a consecutive letter. You will end up with:
- 21A through 21J
- 37A through 37H
- 39A through 39D
- 11A through 11D
- 28A and 28B
- 14A and 14B

Then, organize your lumber into 3 piles, as indicated below. This will help you keep track of which piece is which, and will make it easier to perform the same work on multiple pieces of wood.

Pile #1 Armrests / legs
2x4
[28A, 28B, 21A, 21B, 14A, 14B]

4x4
[23A, 23B, 23C, 23D]

Pile #2 Struts
2x4
[39A, 39B, 39C, 39D, 10A, 10B, 10C, 10D]

Pile #3 Mattress frame
2x4
[37A, 37B, 37C, 37D, 37E, 37F, 37G, 37H, 21C, 21D, 21E, 21F, 21G, 21H, 21I, 21J]

Step 5: Saw cuts - lap joints

Picture of Saw cuts - lap joints
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// Also see alternative #2 //

We'll begin with the cutting the lap joints. Use the carpenter saw for large cuts, and use the dovetail saw for smaller cuts. Whenever cutting, it helps to clamp down the wood to a stable surface. Work slowly. Let the saw do the work for you. Don't force it. Since we don't have the aid of power tools or benches with jigs to get straight lines, pay attention to what you're doing. We only have one chance to get it straight the first time. If you're worried about making a mistake, then under-cut - leave some material behind, and sand or file it down later. Better to undercut and sand for 5 minutes than over-cut and ruin the joint.

37A-H
- Start 37A with S1 facing up.
- Draw a vertical line down the center.
- Flip over to S3 and draw an identical line.
- Connect the two lines by drawing a line down the center of S5.
- With S3 facing up, at the S5 end, draw a horizontal line 2" from the edge.
- Continue that line around the entire piece on S1, S2, and S4.
- Begin cutting on the line on S2 and cut towards the vertical center lines on S1 and S3.
- Now cut S5 on the line until you reach the 2" horizontal line.
- Use the square file to clean up the corners.
- Lightly sand the cuts, if necessary.
- Repeat for 37B through 37H.
- If you place two pieces in a lap joint, they should measure a total of 72".
- Set the pieces back in their pile.

39A-D
- Start with 39A with S1 facing up.
- Draw a vertical line down the center.
- Flip over to S3 and draw an identical line.
- Connect the two lines by drawing a line down the center of S5.
- With S3 facing up, at the S5 end, draw a horizontal line 3" from the edge.
- Continue that line around the entire piece on S1, S2, and S4.
- Begin cutting on the line on S2 and cut towards the vertical center lines on S1 and S3.
- Now cut S5 on the line until you reach the 3" horizontal line.
- Use the square file to clean up the corners.
- Lightly sand the cuts, if necessary.
- Repeat for 39B through 39D.
- If you place two pieces in a lap joint, they should measure a total of 73".
- Set the pieces back in their pile.

Step 6: Saw cuts - tenons

Picture of Saw cuts - tenons
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// Also see alternative #2 //

We will now do the tenons. I will describe the method for creating a tenon for one piece. The rest of the tenons will be created using the same basic method. I will give the measurements for each piece.

39A-D:
- Start with 39A. Start with S1 facing up.
- At the S6 end (opposite the lap joint), draw a horizontal line 1" from the edge.
- Continue that line all the way around on S2, S3, and S4.
- Turn to S6. Draw four lines 0.5" from the edges of S1, S2, S3, and S4.
- Continue those lines vertically down S1, S2, S3, and S4.
- Start cutting at each line you drew. Stop when you've reached an intersecting line.
- Clean up the corners with a square file and some light sanding.
- Once completed, you should have a small rectangle at the end of your post measuring 2.5"x0.5"x1". This is the tenon.
- Repeat for 39B through 39D.

21A-J:
- Cut a tenon on the S5 and S6 ends. Use 0.5" lines instead of the 1" lines described above for 39A-D. This will create a 2.5"x2.5"x0.5" tenon at each end.

Return all the pieces to their corresponding piles.

Step 7: Saw cuts - other

Picture of Saw cuts - other
This step involves cutting the armrests to make them more comfortable.

This step is entirely optional and is purely aesthetic. It does not really add anything functional to the futon. At the last minute in building this, I realized I didn't like the idea of having sharp corners on the armrests, in case someone fell and hit their head or something. It was also more comfortable for a hand to grip the rounded corners than a rectangular end. One thing I didn't intend, but just ended up happening, was that the grain of the wood came out beautifully in the rounded corners. It looks even better with some stain.

Anyways:

28A-B
- Start with 28A, S1 facing up. At the S5 edge, draw a mark 1" in from S4.
- Draw another mark 1" from S2.
- With S1 still facing up, draw a mark on the S4 edge 1" from S5.
- Draw another mark on the edge of S2 1" from S5.
- Connect the marks to end up with two right triangles on either corner.
- Cut these triangles off with the saw.
- Sand down the edges to round them out.
- Repeat for 28B

//Note//
If the 4x4 corners stick out, cut/sand them down at the corners.

Step 8: Drilling - dowels

Picture of Drilling - dowels
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The holes we drill will be used for the wooden dowel. Plan appropriately. Use the corresponding drill bit for your dowel size.
The method for drilling with remain the same for all holes. Just adjust the final hole size and depth for each hole. The dowel hole depths do not have to be exact, but keep it in the ball-park.

To drill a hole:
- Begin by marking the appropriate location.
- Use a small nail, or any small pointed tip, and lightly hammer it into the wood. This will give you a starting indentation point to create your pilot hole.
- Set the wood on a stable surface, such as a workbench or on the ground.
- Drill a small pilot hole using a small drill bit, such as 1/16". The pilot hole must be as straight as possible. Stray even a little bit and it will throw off the alignment.
- Move up to the next drill bit size.
- Continue increasing drill bit size until you reach your desired hole diameter.

// Note: you could just start out with a pilot hole, and move all the way up to the final bit size, but using gradually increasing bits produces a straighter final hole, and prevents the bit from "catching" on the wood. //

Dowels
We will drill dowel holes, about 1" deep, in all of the following pieces:
- 23 A-D
- 28 A-B
- 39 A-D
- 21 A-B
- 14 A-B
- 10 A-D

23A-D:
- On S5, draw a set of diagonals. At the intersection (the center), drill a dowel hole.

28A-B:
- On S3, draw a vertical line down the center.
- Now draw 2 horizontal lines, one 2.25" from the edge of S5, and one 2.25" from the edge of S6.
- (optional) If you rounded out the corners of the armrest, then make the lines 2.75" from the edge of S5, and 1.75" from the edge of S6.
- At each intersection, drill a dowel hole.

39A, 39C:
- On S4, draw a vertical line down the center.
- Draw a horizontal line 23" from S6 (the tenon).
- At the intersection, drill a hole.

39B, 39D:
- On S2, draw a vertical line down the center.
- Draw a horizontal line 23" from S6 (the tenon).
- At the intersection, drill a hole.

21A-B:
- On S2, draw a vertical line down the center.
- Find the center of the piece and draw a horizontal line.
- Drill a hole at the intersection.

14A-B:
- On S5, draw a set of diagonals from each corner.
- At the Intersection, drill a hole.

10A-D:
- On S5, draw a set of diagonals from each corner.
- At the Intersection, drill a hole.

Step 9: Drilling - bolts

Picture of Drilling - bolts
IMG_0073.JPG
// DEFINITELY see alternative #3 //

We will now drill holes for the nuts and bolts. All the bolts I used were 1/4", and I'm assuming you're using the same. If you are using different size nuts and bolts, adjust the drill bit accordingly.

Each lap joint will have two bolts reinforcing it.

39A-D:
- With S2 facing up, draw horizontal lines inside the joint 1" and 2" from the edge of S5.
- With S2 facing up, draw a vertical center line on the inside of the joint.
- Drill all the way through at the intersection.
- Switch to a slightly larger drill bit or hole cutter to countersink the hole (the bit must be large enough to accommodate the hex nut, hex bolt head, and washer).
- With the larger bit, drill to a depth of about 0.5" on the S4 side of the hole.
- Set the pieces aside.

37A-F:
- With S2 facing up, draw horizontal lines inside the joint 0.5" and 1.5" from the edge of S5.
- With S2 facing up, draw a vertical center line on the inside of the joint.
- At the intersections, drill all the way through six of the pieces.
- Countersink the S4 sides.
- Repeat for the other pieces.

37G-H:
- We will now drill for the barrel nuts. If you are not using barrel nuts, just repeat the 37A-F steps for 37G-H.
- With S2 facing up, draw horizontal lines inside the joint 0.5" and 1.5" from the edge of S5.
- With S2 facing up, draw a vertical center line on the inside of the joint.
- At the intersection, drill a hole 1.25" deep. Do not go all the way through .
- Then, at the top of the lap joint (S5), draw a line 0.5" from the edge of S4.
- Now draw an intersecting, centered line going from S2 to S4.
- Drill a 1.5" deep hole at the intersection. Use an appropriate bit for the barrel nut. Mine were 13mm wide. These holes should meet up with the other holes you drilled.

Step 10: Drilling - cushions

Picture of Drilling - cushions
We will now drill holes to prep for the cushions.

Sheathing:
- We will drill some holes in the sheathing to allow the cushions to "breathe."
- Draw a line 6" from any edge of the sheathing.
- Repeat for the other 3 edges.
- Along this rectangle, drill a series of holes. I ended up drilling six 2" holes along the top and bottom, but you can do as many or as little as you want. I used a 2" hole cutter, but if you don't have one, just use your largest drill bit.
- (optional) If you used a large drill bit instead of a hole cutter, draw another set of lines, but this time 10" away from the edges, and drill holes at the four intersections.
- Note - you could use the Dremel for this as well by routing out a hole, it just won't be as pretty.
- If you feel there aren't enough holes, or that they're too small, feel free to add some more. Just don't drill within 3.5" of the edge, since that's where the cushions will attach to the mattress frame.

Step 11: Drilling - other

Picture of Drilling - other
IMG_0228.JPG
IMG_0229.JPG
// See also alternative #4 //

The last bit of drilling.

In this step, we will drill holes for the nylon wheels and the traveling bolts.

The holes will go into 21G and 21J, 37C-D, 21A and 21B.

21G:
- Start with 21G, with S2 facing up.
- Measure 9.5" up from S6, and draw a horizontal line.
- On S2, draw a vertical center line intersecting the horizontal line.
- Drill a 0.25" wide 1.75" deep hole at the intersection.

21J:
- Start with 21J, with S4 facing up.
- Measure 9.5" up from S6, and draw a horizontal line.
- On S4, draw a vertical center line intersecting the horizontal line.
- Drill a 0.25" wide 1.75" deep hole at the intersection.

37C:
- With S6 facing up, draw a horizontal line 2" from the edge of S4.
- Draw a vertical center line on S6.
- Drill a hole at the intersection. The width of the hole will be the width of your nylon roller shaft. The depth will be equal to the length of the shaft minus 1.5".

37D:
- With S6 facing up, draw a horizontal line 2" from the edge of S2.
- Draw a vertical center line on S6.
- Drill an identical hole to 37C.

21A:
- With S3 facing up, draw a vertical center line.
- Draw a horizontal line 2.5" away from S6.
- Draw a horizontal line 17.75" away from S6.
- Draw a horizontal line 16.5" away from S6.
- Drill a 1" deep hole at the two intersections nearest S5. Make the hole wide enough to fit the hex head of your bolt (1/2" is usually good).
- Drill a 1" deep hole at the intersection nearest S5. The hole needs to be wide enough to fit the nylon roller.
- (Optional) If the hole is too big to be drilled, route out a square with the Dremel equal to the width of the nylon roller.

21B:
- With S1 facing up, draw a vertical center line.
- Draw a horizontal line 2.25" away from S6.
- Draw a horizontal line 4.25" away from S5.
- Draw a horizontal line 2.25" away from S5.
- Drill a 1" deep hole at the two intersections nearest S5. Make the hole wide enough bolt's hex head
- Drill a 1" deep hole at the intersection nearest S5 wide enough to fit the nylon roller. Use the Dremel, if needed.

23B:
- On S2, draw a vertical line down the center.
- Measuring from S5, draw a horizontal line 2" down.
- At the intersection, drill a hole large enough for a bolt to slide in and out easily.

23D:
- On S4, draw a vertical line down the center.
- Measuring from S5, draw a horizontal line 2" down.
- At the intersection, drill a hole large enough for a bolt to slide in and out easily.

Step 12: Routing - mortices

Picture of Routing - mortices
// Also see alternative #5 //

This is the hardest and most tedious part of the project. For this step, you will be using the Dremel with the multipurpose cutting bit (or routing bit), and the cutting guide. You will also use the chisel and hammer to clean up the edges and corners.

To create a mortice:
- Draw the outline of the mortice using a pencil (see below).
- Use the Dremel with the multipurpose bit (or routing bit) and the cutting guide (set to a low depth) to trace the outline of the mortice.
- Gradually increase the depth of the cutting guide each pass you make.
- Make 5 or 6 passes until you have reached the desired depth.
- Remove the bulk of the material from the center.
- Set the Dremel aside, and grab your chisel and hammer.
- Use the chisel and hammer to clean up the edges and the corners as much as possible.
- Lightly sand the edges.
- Test with the corresponding tenon. If the pieces don't fit, sand the mortice (or the tenon, whichever is easier) until you get a perfect fit.

23A
- With S3 facing up, draw a vertical line 0.5" away from the edge of S2.
- Draw another line 1" away from S2.
- Measuring from S6, draw horizontal lines at 14.5" and 17"
- Route out the rectangle you just drew to a depth of 0.5".
- On S2, draw vertical lines 0.5" and 1" away from S3.
- Draw horizontal lines from S6 at 10.5" and 13".
- Route out the rectangle to a depth of 1".

23B
- With S1 facing up, draw a vertical line 0.5" away from the edge of S2.
- Draw another line 1" away from S2.
- Measuring from S6, draw horizontal lines at 14.5" and 17"
- Route out the rectangle you just drew to a depth of 0.5".
- On S2, draw a vertical line down the center.
- Draw a set of lines 0.25" on both sides of the vertical line.
- Draw horizontal lines from S6 at 10.5" and 13".
- Route out the rectangle to a depth of 1".

23C
- With S3 facing up, draw a vertical line 0.5" away from the edge of S4.
- Draw another line 1" away from S2.
- Measuring from S6, draw horizontal lines at 14.5" and 17"
- Route out the rectangle you just drew to a depth of 0.5".
- On S4, draw vertical lines 0.5" and 1" away from S3.
- Draw horizontal lines from S6 at 10.5" and 13".
- Route out the rectangle to a depth of 1".

23D
- With S1 facing up, draw a vertical line 0.5" away from the edge of S4.
- Draw another line 1" away from S4.
- Measuring from S6, draw horizontal lines at 14.5" and 17"
- Route out the rectangle you just drew to a depth of 0.5".
- On S4, draw a vertical line down the center.
- Draw a set of lines 0.25" on both sides of the vertical line.
- Draw horizontal lines from S6 at 10.5" and 13".
- Route out the rectangle to a depth of 1".

37A, 37C, 37E, 37G
- With S4 facing up, draw a vertical line down the center.
- Measuring from S6, draw horizontal lines at 0.5", 3", 25.75", 28.25".
- Draw vertical lines 0.25" away from the vertical line on both sides.
- Route out the rectangle you just drew to a depth of 0.5".

37B, 37D, 37F, 37H
- With S2 facing up, draw a vertical line down the center.
- Measuring from S6, draw horizontal lines at 0.5", 3", 25.75", 28.25".
- Draw vertical lines 0.25" away from the vertical line on both sides.
- Route out the rectangle you just drew to a depth of 0.5".

Step 13: Routing - other

Picture of Routing - other
The last bit of routing.

Here, we will route out the channel in which the bolt travels.

You will need the Dremel and the chisel.

21A
- In step 9, you drilled 3 holes. The last two holes were 1.25" apart. It is these two holes that we will be connecting with a route.
- Draw a vertically centered line between those two holes.
- Draw a parallel line next to the center line, 0.25" away, on the side closest to S4.
- Draw another parallel line *0.5" away from the line you drew in the last step, on the side closest to S4. (*If your hex bolt head is wider than 0.5", adjust the line accordingly).
- Draw 2 horizontal lines at the outer edges of the holes, crossing from S2 to S4.
- The section you have marked off with all these lines should somewhat resemble a telephone. This is the section you will be routing.
- Follow the same method for routing as we used in previous steps.
- The holes are intentionally offset by 0.25" to give the hex bolts something to 'catch' and to give them a place to 'sit' in. Because of this, try to leave as much material as possible, while still allowing the bolts to travel through the channel.
- Lightly sand.

21B:
- With S1 facing up, draw a vertically centered line between the two holes.
- Draw a parallel line 0.25" from the center line. Draw it on the side closest to S4.
- Draw another line 0.5" away from the line you drew in the previous step, on the side closest to S4.
- Draw 2 horizontal lines at the outer edges of the holes, crossing from S2 to S4.
- Follow the same method for routing as we used in previous steps.
- Lightly sand.


(Optional for 21A-B) You can square out the inner corners of the 2 holes using the chisel. This is not necessary, but it will help the bolts stay in place if it is tending to move around too much and slip.

Step 14: Cushions

Picture of Cushions
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// Also see alternative #6 //

To create the cushions, we will need the sheathing, , old t-shirt, foam topper, pillows/Poly-Fil, staple gun, fabric, and scissors.

- Cut the old t-shirt into small squares large enough to cover the breathing holes.
- Cut out the foam topper into six 25"x27" sections.
- You should use exactly all of the material. If there's a little less material than required, it's fine. Just make do and cut each section slightly smaller to accommodate. If there's extra material, accommodate the material by cutting the foam a little larger. We want to use as much of this stuff as possible, and waste none.
- Next, cut the pillows and remove the filling. This step can get a little messy, so I'd recommend you do this on a plastic or paper sheet, or at the very least, flooring that is not carpet.
- Sort the filling/Poly-Fil into 6 equal piles. If you're using a combination of different pillows/Poly-Fil, mix up the filling to get a consistent feel.
- Next, cut the fabric into 1 yard pieces.
- Take the old t-shirt squares and staple them over the breathing holes. This will help keep dust and bugs out, and keep the filling in.
- Lay the fabric upside down.
- Place the foam topper on top of the fabric with the flat side facing the fabric.
- Place the filling on top of it, layering it if necessary.
- Place the sheathing on top of the filling with the t-shirt squares facing down. Make sure to match the dimensions of the sheathing with the foam.
- Pull the fabric over on one side. Fold the edges of the fabric to reinforce it and prevent tearing,
- Staple the fabric into place on the sheathing. 3 staples per side is the minimum.
- Pull the opposite side over, fold it, pull it taut, and staple it into place.
- Pull over the third side and staple it into place.
- Make any final adjustments to the filling to even it out within the cushion.
- Pull over and staple the fourth side of the fabric.
- Repeat for the other 5 cushions.

Step 15: Assembly - mattress frame

Picture of Assembly - mattress frame
IMG_0094.JPG
IMG_0095.JPG
IMG_0097.JPG
// Also see alternative #7 //

Ok, I lied. There's a little bit more drilling and possibly even routing. However, it's very simple.

In this step, we will attach the 37" mattress fame pieces together, then install the hinges.

So, to begin, let's start attaching the 37" pieces together.
- Pair the pieces off. 37AB, 37CD, 37EF, 37GH.
- 37A needs to have S3 facing up. 37B needs S1 up.
- 37C needs to have S3 facing up. 37D needs S1 up.
- 37E needs to have S3 facing up. 37F needs S1 up.
- 37G needs to have S3 facing up. 37H needs S1 up.
- Put the lap joints together, with the mortices facing the same way. Bolt them into place.
- Do not glue them. The lap joints are being reinforced with bolts, and do not require glue. This also preserves the modularity of the futon.
- Set aside 37AB and 37GH.

// Note, this would be a good opportunity to make sure all the bolt holes are aligned. If anything is slightly off, go at it with your drill until the bolt is fitted and secure. //

- Lay 37CD and 37EF side by side, with the mortices facing away from each other.
- 37C and 37E should have S3 facing up. If they don't, it's upside down.
- Place the hinges across the seam. The should be face down (ie. with the pin on the bottom).
- Evenly space the hinges, but avoid the lap joint.
- Mark the outlines of the hinge with the pencil.
- Use the Dremel, set to 0.5" depth, and route out a small section of each piece to accommodate the hinge pin. It shouldn't be much material (A 0.5" x 0.5" rectangle at most).
- Use the chisel to clean up the area corners.
- Line everything up again, and lay 37CD and 37EF side by side.
- Place the hinges back on.
- Mark the outline of each hinge with a pencil.
- Route out the area you marked to a depth equal to your hinge. This will allow the hinge to mount flush into the wood.
- Lightly sand and, if necessary, chisel.
- Place the hinges back in.
- Mark the position of the holes with a pencil.
- Drill some pilot holes for the hinge screws.
- Attach the hinges with the screws.
- Test it out.
- If you find that 37CD and 37EF and hitting each other, sand down the edges to remove the excess material.

Step 16: Assembly - finished frame

At this point, if you're building the bare bones version, you're practically done. There will be some minor refinements, but the hard work is over. If you're going to stain, varnish, and/or paint, assemble anyways just to make sure everything is good before you begin painting.

Erase any nonessential pencil marks.

Give everything a good wipe down with a damp cloth.

Let's assemble the rest of the frame. Use the pictures for reference.

If needed, use a rubber mallet to "persuade" some of the more stubborn joints to fit.

Glue is entirely optional. If you're not using glue, skip the step entirely.

If you want to glue everything together, but will also be painting/staining, wait until after you've stained/painted to glue.

Use the level every step of the way. If you need to make a height/length adjustment, now would be the time to do so. If you don't have a level, use your ruler to measure everything over. As long as your cuts are all fairly accurate, you should be pretty level.

Armrests/legs:
- Begin with 23A and 23B.
- Attach 21A in between 23A and 23B. S1 should face left, and S2 should face down..
- Insert a wooden dowel piece into 14A, and slide it into S2 of 21A.
- Insert wooden dowels into the top of 23A and 23B.
- Attach 28A to the two dowels.
- Glue all the joints together.
- Repeat for 23C, 23D, 21B, 28B, and 14B, with 21B's holes facing left instead of right.

Struts:
- Bolt together 39A and 39B using a bolt, nut, and two washers for each hole.
- Bolt together 39C and 39D.
- Insert a wooden dowels into 10A-D.
- Attach 10A-D into 39A-D.
- Insert 39AB into the mortice in 23B. Insert 39CD into the mortice in 23A.
- Glue

Frame:
- Lay out the mattress frame as shown in the picture.
- Put everything together. Place the tenons into their corresponding mortices. Make sure the holes in 21G and 21J are facing outward.
- Glue the joints.
- Drill a minimum of 4 pilot holes for each cushion in 37A-H, and in 21C-J.
- Place the cushions, align them, and drill/screw them into place from the bottom using the holes we previously drilled as guides.
- Insert the 2 nylon rollers into their holes in 37C and 37D.
- Insert the bolts into their holes in 21G and 21J.
- Insert a bolt and washer into 23B and 23D.
- Mount the left side of the frame into the 23AB/21A/28A armrest/leg assembly.
- At this point, it would help if you had a friend.
- Lift the other side of the frame, align it the remaining armrest assembly, and insert everything into it's corresponding place.
- Glue.

Reinforcement:
- Use wood screws to reinforce the structure. Focus on the 21" pieces in the mattress frame. If a joint is loose, reinforce it with screws, but try to hide the screws as best as possible.
- Use the scraps you saved to reinforce the major load-bearing joints, such as 37AB, 37CD, 37EF, 37GH, 39AB, and 39CD.

// If any of the joints have gaps, or are misaligned, use the chisel and/or sandpaper to fix it as much as possible //

Step 17: Assembly - let's get scrappy

Picture of Assembly - let's get scrappy
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IMG_0244.JPG
Underneath 37GH, there should be a bit of space until you get to 39AB. This presents a problem, because there is no support for the mattress. In the folded down position, the frame is a little unstable. Putting too much weight towards the back end will make it tip. We'll fix all that here.

39AB:
- Take some scrap wood.
- With the futon in the upright position, place some of the scraps under the frame in between 37GH and 39AB. Line them up with the 21" pieces of the mattress frame. I used the scraps leftover from cutting out the 37A-H lap joints.
- Mark their position, and screw them in.
- Repeat for 39CD.

37AB:
- In the folded down position, measure the height of the rear of the mattress frame from the ground to the bottom of the frame. It should be in the ballpark of 15".
- Take some leftover 2"x4" and cut out two pieces of the length you measured.
- Attach those pieces to 37AB to create to legs that fold out when the futon is folded down. Use the remaining two hinges to do this.

The reason why we didn't simply make 39AB and 39CD higher is because the actual height will vary between different futons, due to different hinges, or slightly warped wood. Saving this step to the end ensures that the frame will be properly supported.

If you're doing the bare bones version, you're done! Congrats! Enjoy a nap on your new futon!

Step 18: Optional #1 - protective coating

At this point, you should disassemble the futon.

You can either paint, or stain & varnish the entire thing.

If you are staining, erase all markings, and give everything another good sanding. Clean the wood with a damp cloth, and allow to dry.

If you are painting, I'd recommend just a good sanding. The paint will cover up any stray marks.

I stained my futon, since I liked the look of the Douglas Fir I used. However, if you particularly bad-looking wood, feel free to cover it up with paint.

Get creative too. It doesn't have to be boring, monotone, and homogenous. Draw a design directly on the wood, then stain and finish it. Or just use paint to directly design it.

I didn't stain mine, since I didn't want the finish to get scratched up and damaged during the move. I'll stain and finish it when I get to my new place.

Step 19: Optional #2 - Final assembly and future disassembly

Assemble the entire thing like I previously laid out.

If any joints are no longer fitted due to the finish or paint, give it a light sanding.

If you ever need to break the futon down, most of the major joints are only held together by bolts, gravity/friction, or screws. If anything is held together by wood glue, you can use that rubber mallet to break the pieces apart, hopefully without damaging anything.

Step 20: Alternative #1 - lumber substitution

In this project, the 4x4 can be substituted with a 2x4 (as a matter of fact, any of these pieces of wood can be substituted with anything else, just as long as it's structurally sound). I chose 4x4s for aesthetics, but you could use 2x4s. Just be sure to adjust the measurements accordingly. Using 2x4s will also save you a bit of money.

If you don't care for modularity, you can:

- Omit the lap joints. Instead of cutting four 39" pieces and eight 37" pieces out of the 2x4s, cut them as a two 75" pieces, and four 72" pieces.
- Use large plywood pieces. Instead of cutting the plywood into six sections, leave them as two large sections measuring 27"x75". You will need two sheet of plywood for this.

Step 21: Alternative #2 - joints

Instead of using mortice and tenon joints, you could also use a combination of wood screws, nuts and bolts, or reinforcing metal brackets to join the pieces in a butt joint.

If you choose to do this, cut each piece shorter to compensate for the lack of a tenon. For instance, if you are not using a tenon on 21A, then cut it down to 20", since the total length of the tenons will be 1" (0.5" + 0.5").

The lap joints can also be substituted with any strong joint. Dovetail joints would work. So would box joints (finger joint).

pfred2 has an excellent I'ble on boxes and box joints:
http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-a-Box-Joint-Box/

I used a lap joint to minimize the number of cuts, and because the joint is reinforced with bolts anyways.

Step 22: Alternative #3 - barrel nuts

Instead of using a combination barrel nuts and hex bolts, you can opt to use either all barrel nuts or all hex nuts. Just use the drilling method appropriate for each.

Also, it's entirely possible to use hex nuts in the same manner as barrel nuts. In other words, it's possible to "bury" a hex nut inside the wood and hide it, but this generally requires a slightly larger hole.

Drill a hole to the exact with of the hex nut, measuring from one flat plane to the parallel one. Do not measure from the vertices of the hexagon. Using the width of the planes will allow the wood to "grip" the hex nut.

// VERY IMPORTANT //

If I had to do this project all over again, I probably would use 3" length 1/4" lag bolts instead of bolts and barrel nuts. I didn't have any on hand, so I used the barrel nuts instead, which I had plenty of. However, the process would be the same. Drill the holes, don't go all the way through 37G, then screw the bolt in. I imagine this would have been much easier, and recommend that you do this.

Step 23: Alternative #4 - folding mechanisms

There are dozens of ways to fold down the mattress for a futon. The way I specified is a simplified variation of the dual nylon roller design used by many futons, in which 2 sets of dual nylon rollers control the motion of the mattress frame. Although my futon uses 2 rollers, it really only uses the nylon rollers basically as a glorified pivot. I used the hex bolts to replace the other set of nylon rollers, because it was easier to route a small channel for the hex bolt head, and because the hexagon tends not to roll, which provides stability.

This futon could easily accommodate a dual-nylon roller design. Just build the basic frame, and use your own design for the nylon roller channels. However, you will have to measure out the exact routes each roller will need to travel. (check out the first link on the "final notes" page - the plan on that page uses a dual nylon roller design)

You could also use a system of levers and springs (like my old futon from Wally Mart), but that is leaving the realm of beginner projects and entering something else entirely. I have very little idea how to plan and build something like that. I imagine using a garage door spring would be part of the process, but after that, I'm lost.

Finally, there's the bi-fold futon, which, in my mind, is nothing but a glorified pool chair, and not a true futon. However, for simplicity, you can't beat a simple hinge design.

Step 24: Alternative #5 - mortices

Instead of using a mortice and tenon for the frame and the struts, you can opt to use reinforcing steel brackets attached with either bolts or with screws. Just remember to cut the wood pieces short to compensate for the added length of the tenon.

Although it's possible to use wood screws to hold the mattress frame together, I would not recommend it since it would seem to be structurally weak at the joint. However, I'm no expert, and could be entirely wrong.

I like overdoing things, so for me, mortice and tenon joints are preferred.

For the struts and the mattress frame, it's also possible you could use some dovetail joints or box joints, reinforced with a countersunk vertical bolt (or two).

Step 25: Alternative #6 - cushions

There are plenty of options for the cushions. In my futon I used a (non-memory) foam mattress topper along with the filling of some old pillows, as well as some Poly-fil. The end result was a 4 inch mattress, which is plenty comfortable.

My initial design used 2 foam toppers and 4 pillows, but I found that a layer of foam that thick didn't breathe very well, so I opted for pillows/Poly-Fil instead.

You could use any combination of pillow, filling, and foam topper.

If you have the money to spare, a memory foam mattress topper ($60) would be great. In that scenario, I imagine it would be best to place the memory foam onto the fabric first, followed by some non-memory foam, then the plywood. But it'd be best to experiment and see what feels best to you.

There's also actual upholstery foam, which, if you can get access to, would be great. This stuff varies in price depending on the quality and sizes, but will generally be more expensive than pillow and foam toppers. This is the stuff used to upholster sofas, boats, etc...

You could recycle some old sofa cushions as well, but just be sure they're clean.

Lastly, there's poly beads. This stuff is essentially the filling inside bean bag chairs. Although comfortable, the material is a huge insulator since it's mostly air. I've heard of people using this stuff for in-wall insulation. So keep in mind that it will likely trap your body heat very well, and could be uncomfortable in warmer climates. I also imagine noise would be a problem if you were to move around a lot when you sleep.

I welcome you to use any combination of the materials above, or anything else you can come up with. Use whatever you can afford, or whatever is most comfortable for you.

If you have the sewing skills, you can "shape" the fabric by sewing corners into it. It's not necessary, but does help with aesthetics a bit. Instead of 'domes' of cushion, you'll have rectangles.

Also, if you're feeling extra adventurous with the sewing machine, you can make the cover completely removable. Add a zipper to the fabric and you have a removable cover. Just be sure to buy extra fabric since the cover must wrap around the bottom as well.

Step 26: Alternative #7 - hinges

If you want, you can add some extra hinges. I find that 4 hinges is just enough (assuming you use good screws), but for added stability, more couldn't hurt. Especially if you can get the hinges for $1.

Also, in some of my previous projects in which I used hinges, I applied epoxy or superglue between the hinge and the wood. I didn't do it for this project since I wanted to be able to break everything down, but it's certainly an option you should consider. Just know that the hinges won't be coming off without a fight if you do proceed with this.

In another project of mine (a drawbridge style folding desk), I applied epoxy to the wood and hinge, and superglue to the screws for even more added strength. Don't plan on taking it apart if you do this. It's practically permanent.

I used screen door hinges for this project since they are heavy duty enough, yet also common and cheap enough. I picked mine up from a local dollar store. However, home improvement stores should sell them for $2.50 a pop, so they're still not that expensive.

Step 27: Final notes

Man that was hard work... I should have just made that Pet Rock and called it a day. But you know what? I've got myself a nice little futon now that can be broken down and taken with me when I move again. And just like with a Pet Rock, I can swing the 2x4s to kill zombies in the coming apocalypse.

In case you didn't notice, this Instructable is a little longer than average. Obviously, this can be attributed to the highly customizable nature of a project such as a futon. I encourage you, if you are comfortable, to make this project your own by customizing in ways both big and small.

I don't have the necessary software to do this myself, but if anyone who decides to build this wants to draw up plans and cutouts and post them up, I'm sure the community would be very grateful.

Although the design I presented here is certainly college dorm-worthy, I'll be the first to say that there are plenty of improvements that could probably be made. The folding mechanism could use a little work to remove sag, and the joints could be strengthened. I highly encourage anyone with the know-how (or the power tools) to improve on this design to give it a shot and post up your results in the comments.

However, for a beginner project that can basically be built in a single weekend with mostly hand tools, I think I've accomplished what I set out to accomplish: it's sturdy, cheap, comfortable, and will easily last years. I also think that this is a good intro project for woodworking. I know I certainly learned a lot.

I'd like to thank the following people/websites/places:

- PBS, Norm Abrams, and the New Yankee Workshop for helping me kill countless hours during my childhood learning about biscuit joints.
- http://www.futonlife.com/buying-guide/The-Futon-Plan.aspx for being one of the few futon plans readily available on the internet.
- http://ask.metafilter.com/69067/How-can-I-make-a-futon-mattress-for-100-or-less for getting me started down the right path in regards to the cushion.
- IKEA for letting me hang around futons all day.

Comments are welcome, but do keep in mind I am not a carpenter, nor do I claim expertise in anything I have done in this project. This is: the single largest project I have ever done; the first real woodworking project I've ever done; and the first Instructable I've ever done. Please go easy. I've proof-read this I'ble over at least 5 times, but if you find any mistakes, please let me know ASAP so I can correct it.

I hope you enjoyed the project.

Regards,

- Disco Stu
tedomatic8 months ago

This was one of the best written and informative Instructables I have ever read! I'm getting ready to build a futon for my daughter and was looking for some ideas on the mechanism. This isn't just a guide on building a futon, but a great introduction to different types of woodworking joints and project planning. I especially like that you did this all with hand tools. Thank you!

Great article! If you would like a break from making your own dowels we supply wooden dowels worldwide. Visit our website for more information or get in touch with your requirements.

http://www.toolsandtimber.co.uk/timber/wooden-dowe...

aking342 years ago
hi did u use screws to secure the hinges or the bolts
DiscountCollegeStudent (author)  aking342 years ago
Screws. The hinges and its screws are countersunk, and using bolts would mean that the bolt head would make the cushion mounting surface uneven.
kleinjahr3 years ago
Nicely done, well made and written. For more ideas about breakdown furniture look around for a book titled "Nomad Furniture".
Is that Hennessey and Papanek? It just so happens that I ordered a copy last Friday off Amazon, but the seller won't ship til after Thanksgiving. Thanks for the suggestion, I was worried about the relevance of a 38 year old book, so it was a complete blind-buy. Now I feel better.
Could be. I've a copy here, somewhere(really should organize my books ). Did find The Nomadic Handbook by Hennessey. Some interesting ideas there ie: couch crate, bedroom in a crate.
As for relevance. In my opinion, it all has some relevance if not direct connection to what we do or make today. I look at Ctesiphon's force pump and see the beginnings of every reciprocating engine. Hero of Alexandria is my hero.
fantine3 years ago
BRAVO! You need never be unemployed if you can both work with your hands and communicate as well as you do. In your chosen field, you may well rack up a few patents. But this instructable is master work that reaches far more people, I'll bet. You have style to boot. Keep busy with your tools and your pen and best of luck to you.
DiscountCollegeStudent (author)  fantine3 years ago
Thank you, Fantine (Les Mis?). I appreciate the kind words. It's encouragement like this that drives me to do these projects and try to help others in matters big and small. Thank you!
I just spent the time to read your entire instructable and I must say that your English teacher is an ***. This is by far the best instructabe I have read to date. I love your method of identifying each piece of wood, and each side of the piece. I would be able to build this as is or modified, and clearly understand why the steps, which helps if it needs to be changed to suit a small bedroom perhaps, or for whatever reason. Just a fantastic, well researched, well written piece of instruction. Your newby status allowed you to understand what every other newby needs to know. Fantastic job!
Thank you, AmatureArtist56! Feedback like this is exactly why I decided to begin documenting my projects in the first place, although the possibility of winning a laser cutter doesn't hurt either. If you do pull the trigger and build this or modify it, feel free to ask any questions, and post up your results for the world to see.

BTW: My teachers are mostly alright. I'm just a chronic underachiever, as I'm sure a lot of Instructables members are/were.
wocket3 years ago
Wow great detailed instructable, and just in time for me to desperatly need a single bed frame. this give me the foundation and confidance to create my own. well done!
DiscountCollegeStudent (author)  wocket3 years ago
Thanks Wocket! I'm glad I was able to help you. If you are in need of a single bed frame, I'd point you towards the $15 bed frame by Stormthirst. Hopefully, you can get some more good ideas from that I'ble as well.
http://www.instructables.com/id/15-bed-frame/
Great piece of furniture! I love the wood!
I had a great time building it, and was pleasantly surprised with how the wood came out looking. Thank you, Penolopy!