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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Central Coast, NSW
    Posts
    2,925

    Default St Vinnies rescue

    My wife found a couch in St Vinnies she wanted me to recover. It was one of those mid-centuy-modern 'cloud couches' for $60.

    It was upholstered in a yellow fabric and a very bad job done. Webbing for support instead of springs. Lumpy cut foam. Good frame though.

    I took it apart. A few fixes to the frame. Fitted springs, then upholstered it.

    I'll spare you a blow by blow WIP and just show some progress shots.



    Stripped back. Solid frame that didn't need much work - just a couple of squeaky joints.

    couch_bare.JPG


    And springs and webbing added. The springs I screwed down, rather then the normal stapling. I just don't trust the staples in this role.
    Webbing is hessian not elastic because its what I had left over. The foam padding is very thick so stretch is not needed in the back.

    couch_springs.JPG


    Hessian applied. Actually, I used canvas painters dropcloths for the seat as I ran out of hessian. A good cheap source of bulk fabric if you need it.
    The reason the hessian is hot pink is because it was non-seller at Spotlite so was very cheap.

    couch_hessian.JPG


    Foam applied and a pre-upholstery layer fitted over that. I re-used the existing foam - something I do with hesitation because I can never be sure whether it is on the way out or not - even if it feels firm. On this job there was a lot of foam required and it is expensive - so I stinged out. The pre-upholstery layer is not really required though it has several benefits. Firstly it gives you a preview of what the finished job will look like - including showing you any possible flaws which might otherwise show through the final fabric. Secondly it has an additional moulding effect. Finally, it minimizes wear on the final fabric.

    couch_foam.JPG


    And the finished job.

    couch_finish.JPG


    I'm not totally happy with the finished job. The front edge is not really smooth enough. I can probably fix this by removing the staples and redoing it a bit more carefully. More annoying is the piping. I couldnt find a piping foot so used a zipper foot, but it didn't really sew up the piping at all well.

    This is a lot harder job then it looks. The edges are soft all round, so its very difficult to keep the edges smooth and neat. Its not 'cut and staple' upholstery but benefits from using a sewing machine to shape the covers before fitting them.

    I learnt a couple of really cool things on this job.

    Firstly I learnt that you can shape foam rubber with an angle grinder - just using a masonry grinding blade. You can sculpt it to pretty much any shape you want - which wasnt really necessary on this job but could be very useful on something a bit more involved. Or maybe you might just want to smooth over an edge so it doesnt show through the final fabric.

    Secondly I learnt that you can hand-sew wadding to further refine your shape.

    cheers

    Arron
    Apologies for unnoticed autocomplete errors.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Canberra
    Posts
    2,574

    Default

    The foam angle-grinder shaping is an excellent idea. I'll stash that one.

    You are quite right on the piping foot. They look trivial, but a good one is incredible. Such a little detail but it looks fantastic. Im finding myself using the sewing machine more and more (for boxes! .... pillows, edging, sewing baskets!)...

    I really like this retro kitsch. Always have

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    523

    Default Wow

    Wow my hat is of to you. Just reading your post makes it seem so easy but I'm sure that it certainly isn't. I hope to read more of your posts.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Northern Beaches, Sydney
    Age
    63
    Posts
    315

    Default

    Nice job but how the hell do you shape foam with an angle grinder? Sounds like it belongs in the same box as how to iron a live cat!
    Stewie

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Central Coast, NSW
    Posts
    2,925

    Default

    Fix the foam in place, stroke it just hard enough with the grinding disk. Find the point where you are pressing hard enough to remove material but not hard enough to deform the foam.

    Cheers
    Arron
    Apologies for unnoticed autocomplete errors.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Canberra
    Posts
    2,574

    Default

    For cutting and shaping foam, this video may be of use: https://youtu.be/32bMlq-9JUc

    @ One minute mark.

    Essentially, it's an electric meat carving knife and a 36 grit sanding disk

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Northern Beaches, Sydney
    Age
    63
    Posts
    315

    Default

    Interesting. Necessity is the mother of invention.

    Stewie

  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Central Coast, NSW
    Posts
    2,925

    Default

    Flap wheel on an angle grinder is much more efficient - almost too much so - which is what you’d expect from an angle grinder.
    Apologies for unnoticed autocomplete errors.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    logan city,queensland
    Posts
    145

    Default

    using a masonry grinding blade for shaping foam ?????????? you have to be kidding me. If you haven't got a proper foam cutter use an electric knife !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! hints from an old retired upholsterer.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    logan city,queensland
    Posts
    145

    Default

    using a masonry grinding blade for shaping foam ?????????? you have to be kidding me. If you haven't got a proper foam cutter use an electric knife !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! hints from an old retired upholsterer.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    malta
    Age
    40
    Posts
    10

    Default

    Love the hot pink. Very good job!

  13. #12
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Central Coast, NSW
    Posts
    2,925

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by neilb View Post
    using a masonry grinding blade for shaping foam ?????????? you have to be kidding me. If you haven't got a proper foam cutter use an electric knife !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! hints from an old retired upholsterer.
    I have an electric knife. The angle grinder just does organic shapes better. Have you tried it?
    Apologies for unnoticed autocomplete errors.

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