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Get it done / Fixing the leather couch

Couch before

Photo by the author


When my family moved eight months ago, our leather couch wouldn’t fit through the doorway. The house is raised on stilts, so we had to lug the couch up the steep porch steps to the front door, and there it sat as we tried to figure out what to do. It was too heavy to get back down the steps, and, when a rainstorm came in, the executive decision to saw the couch in half was made.


We successfully got the couch pieces through the doorway and put them against each other in the living room, so that it still looked the same; the middle was hidden and supported by wooden blocks, but, if you separated the pieces, the cut sides were exposed with wood and nails and all the inner workings of the couch on display. The plan was to attach legs to the middle of each piece for central support, and take matching leather and stuffing to seal off the inside. I bought the materials and they sat by the couch for months. The project was intimidating and wasn’t urgent, so I just kept putting it off and sat on our other couch instead.


Finally, with family in town for the holidays, I started taking steps to get the couch project done. I sketched the existing front and back legs and measured their width, height, and distance from supportive wooden planks. I took the sketches with me and purchased legs that were not the same shape as I wanted, but the measurements worked, so I went with them. I bought some stuffing, nails and wood glue, and made sure my staple gun, pliers, and drill were ready to go.


I started with the fun part—drilling holes to screw the new legs on—but the first hole wouldn’t hold the screw properly. It was wiggling around and falling out, and it was very frustrating. Finally, I grabbed some wood glue and that helped secure it in place. All the other legs screwed on just fine. Next, I took my staple gun and started attaching the leather pieces to cover up the wood. It was tricky because the staples had to go through thick leather into the planks of wood, and a lot of the angles were really hard to staple. I ended up having to cut and fold the leather in a lot of places to make it look nice.


Couch after


I painstakingly removed old staples with a pair of pliers, no easy task, because they were so tiny and locked into place. Whoever made the couch did an excellent job. After attaching the leather along the edges, I tucked sheets of cushion in them to give the sides a nice, plush look and then sealed it off with staples to match the appearance of the couch.


Being able to see the interior build of the couch was interesting. So much goes into building a couch that I didn’t know about before; so many gears, wood, and coils all woven together. After months of procrastination, the couch mission was accomplished, and I ended up with two leather chairs instead of a couch. The way the legs were attached made it harder to push the two pieces together, but, with a little creativity our living room is now a cozy place.



Useful Info: How to attach a couch leg

Things you will need:  Couch legs, T-Nuts, Measuring tape, Drill


First, turn your couch over to look at the bottom of the frame and see how the legs are attached. They can be attached in different ways; if it’s with screws, you can purchase legs with screws already in them, which makes this process fairly simple.


Find and mark the center point on your couch frame where the legs are going to be attached. For reference, measure the existing legs and where their center lies in relation to the edge of the couch and a supportive piece of wood. Once you’ve made your mark, drill the hole the same length as the screw on your furniture leg.


Next, hammer in the T-Nut until it is flush with the surface and the teeth have gripped into the wood. The couch leg should easily screw into place after the T-Nut is secured. Paint the leg to match if necessary.—K.C.


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