Help me break my couch.
September 11, 2017 5:54 PM   Subscribe

An old couch I inherited (and have to deal with until I can afford to buy a replacement) has a footrest that... is permanently extended. It's stuck. No amount of hammering and shoving has worked. I need this broken footrest DOWN and don't care if I have to break it more in the process. Whatever it takes!

The footrest is broken because it was used primarily by rough kids/teenagers for several years. Allow me to reiterate that I *hate* this couch, but I am not here today to have a discussion about why I'm still keeping the couch, why I should throw it out (I already know I should, and eventually, someday, I will), etc. ALL I WANT IS TO JUST BREAK THIS FOOTREST INTO SUBMISSION!! *pants*

Photos:
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It seems like if I could just unloosen the bolts, maybe it would come apart. But it looks like 1) there is corrosion, 2) I'm not sure I have the proper tools to do this? I tried a socket wrench, which I think is the right way to go (I got a tiny bit of leverage at one point), but these bolts are either corroded or were welded on during manufacturing.

The footrest was already 'bent' when I came into possession of it, which is why the footrest can't be pushed back down. I've tried messing with the side-lever but this isn't a side-lever issue (that I can tell). It's apparently a bent-to-hell issue.

Tried to hammer it down at one point (used a rubber mallet) but no go. I also managed to break off the center plank of wood connecting the two sides of the extending bars, but that didn't accomplish much. And yes, I've tried laying all my weight and pushing against the foot rest, even. Nothing. (Seems obvious now that pushing on it wouldn't work anyway. But I was desperate.)

Please. Help?
posted by nightrecordings to Home & Garden (17 answers total)
 
Put something under it to catch drips. wd-40 any metal part you think might move. Wait a few minutes. Try moving it. Repeat as necessary.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 6:09 PM on September 11 [4 favorites]


Use a sharp knife to remove as much padding and fabric as you can, then use a crowbar to loudly disassemble. Great fun!
posted by vrakatar at 6:26 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]


If you turn the couch onto its back, the whole thing might be easier to deal with.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:36 PM on September 11 [3 favorites]


Borrow a sawzall and remove the entirety of the metal parts.
posted by advicepig at 6:37 PM on September 11 [7 favorites]


How about buying a hacksaw and just sawing through the bars on both sides of the joint?
posted by Jahaza at 6:38 PM on September 11 [3 favorites]


What you've tried and the tips above constitute conventional wisdom. You can also in principle add various levers to the mix. When all that fails, due to warped and bent pieces, corrosion, and the unfairness of the universe, you have a few last resorts that will break it more and get it down: sawzall, heat and hacksaws.

If you don't have these tools and can't rent/borrow/scrounge them, you can easily buy online: an appropriate hacksaw to cut through it for $8-25, and a vaguely appropriate torch for $15-35. Either one alone and some elbow grease will do it.

At that point you have to then reattach the rest to the base, or accept the open bottom to the couch, YMMV but that is the easiest scorched-earth approach I can see.
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:38 PM on September 11


Got a harbor freight near you? 20$ will get you an angle grinder, wheel, and goggles.
posted by enfa at 6:41 PM on September 11 [4 favorites]


The connections are riveted. This lets the metal "blades" slide past each other. As suggested earlier, I'd put it on it's back. Then I'd take a metal hammer and start knocking the structure around a bit to see it how exactly it collapses. I'd also use something like a plumbers pipe wrench to try and straighten a few bits,...in photo 67 it looks like one of the lighter pieces of metal is supposed to line up with a much room shaped guide button....not sure how to describe it.
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:30 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]


Do you still have the teenagers? I think enfa's idea + delegation is the way to go. Make sure you clearly describe the desired end state (still sittable, not too ugly), safety (goggles, fingers), and location (not in the house, will make a giant mess; not near flammable items or dry grass, will throw sparks)

It should sound fun enough for them to put up with the tedious parts (carrying it out and back, cleaning up after)
posted by ctmf at 7:51 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]


Sawzall or hacksaw. Then hammer the remnants into submission.
posted by notyou at 9:37 PM on September 11


Is there another footrest that works? That might give you a good idea of which bits move where.

I would flip the whole thing on it's back so you can see what's going on. WD40 everything. My guess is that there's a sticky out piece of metal on one of those arms that's meant to stop it going too far, but has now been pushed too far and is between the arms. If you can find that, a long flat head screw driver and a hammer may convince it to disengage. Or a couple of pieces of packing tape (stupid strong), loop one each around the two longer arms (they look like the ones that are stuck, and pull in opposite directions the way that they're mean to move.

I would probably try and take the spring out before prying anything with my fingers, just in case it decided to snap closed.
posted by kjs4 at 9:46 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]


he connections are riveted. This lets the metal "blades" slide past each other. As suggested earlier, I'd put it on it's back. Then I'd take a metal hammer and start knocking the structure around a bit to see it how exactly it collapses. I'd also use something like a plumbers pipe wrench to try and straighten a few bits,...in photo 67 it looks like one of the lighter pieces of metal is supposed to line up with a much room shaped guide button....not sure how to describe it

This is the correct answer. Don't start cutting your couch up or beating it to death. It's a jammed folding mechanism, it needs to be tapped into folding from the underneath with a hammer. Gently-ish. You will likely need some lateral pressure to align the bent pieces after straightening anything that is grossly bent as described above. A strap with someone holding it should do it safely, not fingers near the folding mechanism.
posted by fshgrl at 10:44 PM on September 11 [8 favorites]


Got a harbor freight near you? 20$ will get you an angle grinder, wheel, and goggles.

Don't do this indoors (sparks and metal fragments everywhere), and only do it outdoors if you have a friend standing by with a hose and fire extinguisher -- this would be an excellent way to catch a couch on fire, complete with toxic smoke from the foam. And wear ear protection as well as goggles.

The suggestions above of turning it over and using a combination of gentle hammer taps and some light bending/prying sounds right. Sofa beds get stuck sometimes just like this, and it's always been a case of figuring out what small, poorly designed piece got jammed or out of its track.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:31 AM on September 12 [5 favorites]


two options. Saw thru the extension arms as has been suggested. How if might be tough sawing thru the steel. Second is use a drill to drill out the rivets which would allow the arms to come apart..
posted by tman99 at 6:01 AM on September 12


Don't do this indoors (sparks and metal fragments everywhere)

Dip Flash is right. An Angle Grinder is probably not the best approach if you need to do this while indoors, and it has the potential to do damage to you and things near you - but boy, is using one satisfying. Sparks will fly. You will break the thing, as requested in the question.

Here’s a different approach – is there a label on the couch? Who is the manufacturer? Is it Lay-z-Boy? Did you know that Lay-z-Boy furniture has a lifetime warranty, and they’ll ship you a replacement lift unit?

Additionally, if you’ve no luck with corroded bolt removal, I will heartily recommend the product PB B'laster, it’s what I use when WD-40 doesn’t get the job done.

Best luck, be safe!
posted by enfa at 7:42 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


I would try the flip, WD-40 and banging with a metal hammer first. If there is another footrest, compare parts to figure out what needs to be banged where. Push on it periodically (watch your fingers!). You might get more leverage with it upside down too. Think of it like a puzzle, and imagine where the parts are supposed to bend/slide, etc. Bang accordingly.

If that fails, then go for the hacksaw or sawzall. You might have to get creative after to keep the footrest piece in place, but that would be better than a gaping hole where it used to be.

Please post a follow-up on what worked! (If I lived near you, I'd come over to help. I kinda enjoy this kind of problem solving.)
posted by purple_bird at 9:14 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Your picture number 3 shows the problem. That outer bracket is bent and the exposed rivet is blocking the folding action. Try to straighten that piece (and check the other side for the same problem)
posted by banshee at 4:11 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


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