DIY Reclining Sectional - a journey begins - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 12 Old 05-21-2017, 04:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Cool DIY Reclining Sectional - a journey begins

Many moons ago, I read this thread where jelloslug made his own DIY home theater chairs. At the time I lived in an apartment and had no tools, no money (grad school FTL), space for tools even if I had them, or space for building creations of my own.

Now.... I own a home. Which means, tools! Toys! $$$$! Or something.


My dream has been for a long time to make a DIY reclining sectional. My wife and I found a bunch of decent couches on Craigslist/Facebook swap which are ok and cheap, but I want high quality stuff to sit on. And I want to make stuff, because why not?

I'm still in the planing stages, but this dream is now progressing into "actively becoming a reality." This will journal my escapades with this project.

Starting out, the room and current couch setup. Neither of these reclines currently. Both are reasonably comfortable.





I'd like to replace those with a sectional that has recliners on it.

I'm sort of handy, having done a few furniture projects before:




I'll keep track of how much things cost here, too, for curiosities sake.
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post #2 of 12 Old 05-21-2017, 04:57 PM - Thread Starter
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DAY ONE

Starting out, I am looking into deciding:
  • What reclining mechanism do I want?
  • What layout do I want for the sectional?

For the first I think I might go with this product, if I can figure out how to buy it - easycliner from Leggett & Platt. I will contact them tomorrow to talk on the phone to see what options they have and prices. If anyone has a better idea or option that won't involve phone tag please let me know!

Probably will do manual mechanisms. Though power would be fun I think that cost is going to get out of hand on this anyways, between materials and new toys, errhm I mean tools I will need.

I'm not entirely sure what I will do for a sectional pieces. I'm currently thinking having a 3 section, a corner, and a 2 section. I've got roughly a 10x9 foot (120x108 inches) square to make two of the legs on (maybe a bit more like 10x8). The wood stove in the corner (top right of top pic) makes it so I want to be able to easily convert it into a 3x1 section couch for winter time when we want to use that. I'm guessing I will make it so that each section is its own separate piece so it can be easily configured. For varying definitions of "easily" pending how good it is.


I did a fair bit of sketching tonight. Turns out if I make the seat cushions 36x36 that's really really big. Like, 152" wide or only about 3 feet more than I guesstimate. Making them 24"x24" with 6" arms (and backs) would make it a more reasonable 108x84, if I went with the 3x2 layout. Here's my very scientific sketches. Look I'm an engineer! I've not used graph paper since college.. I'm now a fake engineer.



I think we might go to one of those ridiculously expensive furniture stores with a tape measure to "see if stuff fits" and get a better feel for how deep and wide most sectionals are. From picking random recliners/loveseat/couch cushions we have that seems to be reasonable though (24x24). Obviously I'll have to see what the dimensions and options are on the recline mechanisms as that might dictate a lot. I'd like to have all pieces have reclining mechanisms, though I will have to see.
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post #3 of 12 Old 05-24-2017, 09:07 AM - Thread Starter
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It's surprisingly difficult to talk with someone to order some recline mechanisms.

Playing phone tag... wooo.

I'm wondering if I ought to just buy 4 or 5 if I get the chance. It's been tricky trying to get ahold of someone and while I'd like to try to one out and verify it will work, but I don't know if I want to try to make multiple orders should I actually get ahold of someone.
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post #4 of 12 Old 05-26-2017, 03:16 AM
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To make things easier, it is better to buy reclining sectional rather than making one yourself. You might not get the results you are looking for.

Ashley HomeStore
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post #5 of 12 Old 05-31-2017, 07:41 AM
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John, has Ashley settled their bonded leather lawsuit?

https://topclassactions.com/lawsuit-...y-falls-apart/

Kane furniture settled last year:

http://www.furnituretoday.com/articl...eather-lawsuit

I think the industry as a whole has suffered from the bonded leather situation. Great prices, horrible durability.
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post #6 of 12 Old 05-31-2017, 07:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enderland View Post
It's surprisingly difficult to talk with someone to order some recline mechanisms.

Playing phone tag... wooo.

I'm wondering if I ought to just buy 4 or 5 if I get the chance. It's been tricky trying to get ahold of someone and while I'd like to try to one out and verify it will work, but I don't know if I want to try to make multiple orders should I actually get ahold of someone.
Just a heads up there have been a few AVS members who have literally given away there reclining theater seating due to failing bonded leather, If you are at the right place at the right time you could strip them down and salvage the reclining mechanism. Check your local Craig's List
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post #7 of 12 Old 05-31-2017, 07:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashleyjohn View Post
To make things easier, it is better to buy reclining sectional rather than making one yourself. You might not get the results you are looking for.
Part of the idea is I want to do this for fun, too. I suspect I can make my own quality furniture a lot cheaper than junk stuff you buy.



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Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post
Just a heads up there have been a few AVS members who have literally given away there reclining theater seating due to failing bonded leather, If you are at the right place at the right time you could strip them down and salvage the reclining mechanism. Check your local Craig's List
That's not a bad idea.

I live in a collegeish town, there are almost always people getting rid of recliner types of things. I wonder if I would be able to get enough similar ones to make a sectional out of?

---

Heh two hideous little loveseats are already on Craigslist for cheap, I might try to reclaim them and uh... borrow their components. Great idea

Last edited by enderland; 05-31-2017 at 07:56 AM.
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post #8 of 12 Old 05-31-2017, 08:05 AM - Thread Starter
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The real question if I "reclaim" recliner mechanisms is whether I will be able to make each piece recline or not. Getting a dual left/right mechanism to match is easy but getting 4 or 5? Might be trickier.
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post #9 of 12 Old 05-31-2017, 08:43 PM
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A reclining sectional has to be one of the hardest DIY projects for a home theater. Good luck!
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post #10 of 12 Old 06-01-2017, 05:35 AM
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but the customization opportunities are endless.

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post #11 of 12 Old 06-03-2017, 04:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post
but the customization opportunities are endless.


HAH. I don't think my wife would like that. Not sure I would, either

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amerzel_ View Post
A reclining sectional has to be one of the hardest DIY projects for a home theater. Good luck!
I don't really think so. Couches are really pretty basic, it's not overly complicated unless you make it super decorative.


Update time though. My wife found an absolutely awful color schemed matching couch/loveseat recliner set for... free! So we rented a pickup ($25) and picked up the set.

It's the most awful looking set ever, but who cares, most of it is going to the dump eventually.




Ignoring the questionable color it was fairly discolored and the upholstery was shot too. But hey the recline mechanisms work so whatever?

Getting started, first step was removing the backs.





It was a nightmare working on the floor so I threw my back out moving it up onto a bench (well not the throwing out back part but man these are heavy).



Took off the extension feet, which were pretty easy. They just have a single piece that connects to the couch part. That might be fun to try to make work...



Then, the actual seat/frame. This was interesting because each seat was only attached to the frame with 6 screws (you can see one of them here):



Something I found interesting was that there was a cupholder cutout even though there was no cupholder:



Also, note how many layers of plywood there are - no wonder these things are heavy.

Last was removing the recline mechanism buttons. This was the most important thing I was looking for when looking at these. It needed to be the "parachute" type, which will allow me to put them in between sections so that middle sections can recline. It turns out this was press fit in on one side which I nearly shattered the plastic to remove, though I will only need 2 of them total (and will end up with 4).



All the pieces here used springs:



I don't think I want to use springs. I might use bands, I'm not entirely sure yet. But I don't really want to have to reuse the same frame as these to use the springs so I'll probably build something to put elastic straps over of some sort.

The completed product (for the loveseat at least):



It's nice because they are bolted into the runners for the floor. This means I can rearrange them which I will have to do or even make them standalone and have connection points (I'd like to do this for purposes of moving them, not sure if I'll do that).

I'll tackle the couch next, which is even more sketchy than the loveseat was in terms of appearance. Then I'll have to find a way to get rid of a bunch of sofa/loveseat parts...
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post #12 of 12 Old 06-03-2017, 04:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Having posted that, the pictures almost make the colors look not worst couch color ever. It's more like a bright maroon color, with tons of discoloring, that my phone camera apparently doesn't do justice (which you can benefit from as your eyes won't have to see the horrible color scheme in all it's true glory).
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