Monthly Archives: December 2013

Sofa Modification

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It’s too short…

I don’t know about other Airstreams, but the sofa that came with our 30′ Flying Cloud is down right uncomfortable. I know we’re not alone with this thought, as the Airstream Forum is full of posts about how to deal with this issue. A lot of folks replace their Airstream jackknife sofa with a sofa from Rooms to Go or install the Euro recliners that Airstream offers as an alternative. Both of these options are expensive and since we wanted to keep a factory-built look to our Airstream, we took matters into our own hands and improved the sofa as best we could.

When comparing the uncomfortable Airstream sofa to a comfortable “real” sofa, the biggest difference we found was the depth of the seat. The Airstream sofa is only 19″ from front to back whereas sofas we found comfortable measured 22 or more inches.

How we fixed it…

The Airstream sofa is built onto a metal frame that is attached to the jackknife mechanism using 4 bolts.  We couldn’t modify the frame so we mounted the existing frame on top of a 1/2″ piece of plywood cut 23″x72″. This provided a 4″ lip along the front edge where we added 3 pieces of 4″x7″x24″ high density foam. To provide the additional fabric needed to cover the cushions that are now 4″ deeper, we sewed a length of canvas along the back edge of the existing fabric. The fabric was originally attached to the metal frame using wire clips. Now that the frame lays on top of the plywood, we stapled the fabric to the plywood.

The improvement in comfort is amazing and the total cost of the project was only around $80. It was a little scary taking apart the sofa from our new Airstream but it was well worth the effort. I should also add that nothing we did was irreversible. We did remove the seam stitching on the 2 back corners but this can be easily sewn back.

Original Sofa - Note how the seat is an inch or 2 shy of the armrests

Original Sofa – Note how the seat is an inch or 2 shy of the armrests’ front edge.

Sofa with seat removed showing how the 23"-wide plywood will be installed

Sofa with seat removed showing how the 23″-wide plywood will be installed.

The metal seat frame is attached to the jackknife mechanism using 2 bolts at each end - note the metal clips holding the fabric in place.

The metal seat frame is attached to the jackknife mechanism using 2 bolts at each end – note the metal clips holding the fabric in place.

Metal frame with cushions removed. 4 holes are drilled into the plywood so both the metal frame and plywood will be bolted as a single unit. The plywood extends 4" beyond the frame to support the additional foam.

Metal frame with cushions removed. 4 holes are drilled into the plywood so both the metal frame and plywood will be bolted to the jackknife mechanism as a single unit. The plywood extends 4″ beyond the frame to support the additional foam.

The original foam sitting atop the metal frame showing the plywood needed to support the additional foam.

The original foam sitting atop the metal frame showing the plywood needed to support the additional foam. I failed to take a picture of the new foam in place. 

Underneath the backside of the modified seat showing the canvas fabric sewn onto the original fabric to make up for the additional foam.

Underneath the backside of the modified seat showing the canvas fabric sewn onto the original fabric to make up for the additional foam.

Finished project! Note how the front edge of the seat now extends an inch or 2 beyond the armrests.

Finished project! Note how the front edge of the seat now extends an inch or 2 beyond the armrests.

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