Futons in the Mist




Introduction: Futons in the Mist

About: Was it you or I who stumbled first? It does not matter, the one of us who soonest finds the strength to rise must help the other. - Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

It was a foggy morning whilst driving the ‘hood on my usual asset recovery sweep when I spied a carcass by the side of the road. I recognized it immediately as a discarded futon and set about the retrieval effort, after doing some simple field dismantling of the frame I squired it back to my lair for further consideration.

Step 1: A New Home, a New Beginning

I hosed off the lawn debris after unloading everything and let it dry in the sun. Later that day I took it inside my shop for a more detailed inspection and reclamation effort. I have often found the wood used is a type of Mahogany from Indonesia, it is very clear, and is truly a hardwood species, kiln dried and stable, it machines very sweetly, the best part being that it is prefinished and so quite often that suffices for my usage.

Step 2: Remove the Hardware, It’s All Good

I am always careful to try and salvage intact any threaded fasteners that are used. Surprisingly, in the futons I have recovered, they tend to be of very high quality and are a joy to reuse in other projects. M6 shoulder bolts and dowel (barrel) nuts dominate the futon market, and even a wrench is provided for customer maintenance such as tightening them up- another indication of superior craftsmanship. Brads were easily removed from the tenon ends with a pair of diagonal cutters and just pulled cleanly through, and this then completed the reclamation phase, all in all about 2 hours work from spotting the swag to coffee time.

Step 3: The Rewarding Yield

I kept the end assemblies intact to serve as a makeshift set of horses to aid in processing, I simply clamped a scrap piece of ply on top temporarily to accomplish this task. This gave me an idea for a later project.

Final Tally of solid Mahogany timbers- excluding tenons:

At 15/16” thick, 2 pcs. 2 3/4” W. x 34 1/2” L.

At 15/16” thick, 6 pcs. 2 3/4” W. x 77” L.

At 3/4” thick, 13 pcs. 2 1/2” W. x 28 3/4” L.

At 3/4” thick, 14 pcs. 2 1/2” W. x 22” L.

At 3/4” thick, 9 pcs. 1 3/4” W. x 11 1/2” L.

Of course many pieces have holes drilled through, mortises cut, and channels routed in, but these either will have no impact on the finished product or can easily be defect sawn around.

And finally two end frames at 23” High by 33” deep. These I will not part out because...

Step 4: Now Comes a Futon Horse

With a potential too good to pass up, and by adding some salvaged hinges, the end frames now serve another purpose. Folded after use, it can be neatly tucked away between cabinets and equipment, awaiting the call of duty for another day.

Step 5: Parting Thoughts

Keep an open mind when cruising for castoffs, one of the handiest work trolleys in my shop was made from an orphaned dining chair complete with casters. Ugly ripped seat & back panel were replaced with a plywood deck and the same product was used as a shelf below giving exceptional sturdiness whilst rolling about and a handle scavenged from a microwave oven makes a nice, easy to use pull.

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    4 Discussions


    2 years ago

    If you have a college or university anywhere near you, do an "asset recovery sweep" through the area on move-out day. These kids throw away a lot of perfectly good stuff, including refrigerators, microwaves, notebook computers, furniture, etc. Bring a truck and be selective. It's easy to fill up early due to the excitement and then needing to re-discard earlier picks to make room for better stuff.


    Reply 2 years ago

    I totally agree, I worked at a local university and when students get ready to move on, they dump everything, including a years worth of Ramen noodles. ☺


    2 years ago

    I loved the "asset recovery sweep" expression. So much classier. I'll use it from now on!


    2 years ago

    It is amazing what people do throw away. Some times all it needs is some TLC or even rebuild it into other things. And that goes for wood, metal, machines, and electronics. If you can think of it, you can find things tossed out to build it most of the time.