2019/11/16

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Fig. 0: the CoA, with base upside-down on top so I can look at it

Today I finally got around to taking apart the Couch of Awesome, the enormous couch my parents bought in 1975 and passed on to me in 1990, in the hope of repairing it. The front board of the base came detached on one side over the summer, and my quick-fix efforts were... sagging more and more badly on the right, with an abrupt rise at the corner that kind of made a slope where even Kestra couldn't lie comfortably. (In retrospect, I wish I'd taken a photo of what that corner of the couch looked like before the fix... but I didn't think to start taking photos until I'd reached this stage.)

Harena was going to be out for a couple of hours this afternoon, so I took the opportunity to clear it off and pull the base out. I decided there was no way I was going to be able to do anything with all that black sheeting in place (what is that stuff even for?), so the first thing I did, after wrestling the base out and up onto the back of the CoA, was remove it.

Fig. 1: can't I just, like, order a replacement part on ebay?

This took quite awhile because I had to pull out a lot of staples; I was able to just rip the sheeting off in some places but it's not always easy and anyway I hate leaving unnecessary staples sticking out. Having done that, you can kind of see the problem at the far end of the piece of wood on the left side of Fig. 1: it's twisted counter-clockwise and generally out of alignment with the piece of wood adjacent to it. There was a corner wedge which originally held them together, but it had failed and I removed it in my earlier fixing attempt.

Fig. 2: a closer view of the problem – this relationship is difficult to sustain because our values are not in alignment

I eventually developed the following hypothesis to explain the twisting, which very strongly resisted correction:

  • the tension from the springs was generally pulling the board in a counterclockwise direction, and
  • since the corner-connection at this end had failed but the other one hadn't, the tension had tended to twist this end more
  • ...leaving the board semi-permanently twisted (possibly aided by the general humidity this summer).

In any case, the corner needed to be rebuilt with a stronger joint and the board somehow pulled into compliance. With the application of a lot of muscle-tension and some extra hands from Harena (it's ok, I gave them back), I was able to mount a new corner-piece and start trying to clamp the board into being straight again:

'Fig. 3: trans reparation therapy (nobody expects the Trannish Inquisition!)


Unfortunately, the board is quite determined to be gay, and overcame the attempts of society the clamp to make it go straigh. (The clamp kept ratcheting out every time I got the board within half an inch or so of being in alignment.)

It was time to bring out the heavy equipment.

Fig. 4: Frankencouch
Fig. 5: Frankencouch II: Rebolted

I ended up having to use two bolts, because all of the bolts I had in stock only have about an inch of thread, and the gap to be closed was more than an inch, so I had to put in a slightly shorter bolt to tighten so I could take out the first bolt and replace it with an even shorter one.

I decided not to tighten it all the way because of the ominous creaking noises that made me worry something was going to give way (one side is bolts, but the other side is just five drywall screws); I'm going on the theory that being under tension that counters the twist will slowly straighten it out over time, and I can tighten the bolts again in another six months or so.

Fig. 6: Back to the Furniture
Fig. 7: proof of functionality

I didn't hear any ominous creaking sounds or feel anything shifting when I sat on it, so I think it may hold... and now my end of the couch is no longer a valley. ^.^


crossposted/adapted from Patreon (scheduled for Nov. 20)