Building Our LAST Piece of Furniture for the BUS CONVERSION – S04E49

It’s hard to believe that we are building our last piece of furniture - a sofa. Of course it is no ordinary sofa.  This will be my (Mela’s) chair for traveling and will include 3 seat belts (for a couple guests too), storage underneath the seats, a “safe zone” for the cats under my seat, pull out into an L shaped couch for movie nights and pull out into a full size bed.

We built the frame of the sofa out of ¾ inch plywood, dividing the supports and underneath storage up into 3 sections, making the sofa a total of 80 inches long. The sliding slats are where it becomes a little more complicated and after a little trial and error, this is what we came up with.

With the sofa divided up into 3 seats, each seat can slide out separately. We used 5  1 x4’s  and a couple 1 x 3’s for the outside slats for a total of 7 slats for each seat. We used ¼ inch plywood as a spacer between them alternating between sliding slats and the hinged slats which allow you to lift the seat up and access the storage.

The outside slats (1x3’s) are part of the sliding slats and we added a track attached to the side supports/legs of the sofa.  This helps guide them as you slide it out and prevents them from falling down into the storage area when you slide them out.

We liked the support that the 1x4’s gave but when pulled out into the bed position it ended up leaving huge gaps between the pullouts, by using the 1x3’s on the outside we could both utilize the track system and it changed up the spacing completely and added much more support when in the bed position.

There are 1 inch thick stoppers attached underneath the slats, one for the sliding slats and one for the hinged slats. These act both as support to keep the slats connected when you lift the seat up and stop the sliding slats when pulled out.

The face of the pullout is ¾ inch plywood with cutout handles, but we added a foot piece for extra support and allowed space to add sheets of felt to help it slide and not scratch the floors.

When we built the walls of the bus, we left 4 mounting points for the bus chairs accessible.  This way we can bolt our 3 seatbelts directly to the frame of the bus. We made little cutouts in the back of our sofa for the seatbelts to slide through. When we are not driving these belts can be hidden under our 5 inch high density foam cushions.

We secured the sofa to the bus wall by screwing wood to metal screws with large washers into the metal beam of the bus.  Again before we built our walls we clearly mapped out where the bus beams are and all our wood studs.  We used pocket holes to screw the legs into the floor and L brackets in the corners of the leg supports that also screw into the metal beam of the bus.

This is only the first part of the sofa build, which will include arm rests with storage and a secret tunnel down into the cat luggage bay and litter box area.


Up Next
We begin the cat condo build.

By Mela & Don

Mela and Don are sharing their journey as they make conscious decisions to live a more healthy, environmentally friendly life together.

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