Sagging Sofa Bed Is Easy To Repair With Plywood

Q: I own a sofa bed that has become very uncomfortable. It sags and also has a crossbar you can feel through the mattress. It is three years old, and the store where it was purchased has since gone out of business.

I have called places in the telephone book listed under furniture repair and haven't been able to find anyone to repair it. I also don't know the manufacturer's name. How can I fix this, or must I just junk it? Thank you for any assistance you can offer.

A: Mr. HandyPerson is quite pleased to inform you that there is no need to junk your otherwise serviceable sofa bed. The reason he is particularly pleased is that he just spent the last two months sleeping on his own, considerably older and more uncomfortable sofa bed, and if there had not been a simple fix here, he'd be pretty groggy about now.

If you are a bit handy around these kinds of things, you can do what he did: Measure the bed frame under the mattress and cut three pieces of quarter-inch plywood to fit on it under the mattress. You can wire them together at the edges so that they can fold like a fan for easy removal and storage when the bed is closed, as Mr. HP did. When you open up the sofa bed, you just slip the plywood under the lightweight mattress, and whoever ends up sleeping on the sofa bed will not wake up with bruises and curvature of the spine.

If you are not handy around projects like this, you can go to a bed and bath shop and purchase exactly the same thing quite inexpensively. It is made from sturdy but lightweight fiberboard, and folds for easy storage when the bed is closed up. Be sure to bring measurements of the bed's length and width when you go looking for the bed board.

Either way you go, SOMEBODY will be grateful the next time the sofa bed is used!

DEAR READERS: Mr. HandyPerson ran across a new book recently that is such a delight, he wants to bring it to readers' attention. Bob Walker and Frances Mooney, husband and wife, live in San Diego with their nine (yes, nine) cats and decided some years ago that is was unfair to leave their cats at home alone for long periods of time during the day while they were working.

Bored cats, as any of us who live with them know well, can get into a lot of mischief left unsupervised.

Bob and Frances set about turning their home into an extraordinary paradise for energetic cats, with overhead cat walks (110 feet in overall length!), little "mouse hole" door openings between rooms at ceiling level where the cat walks continue from room to room, a "sun shelf," a spiral staircase, and tall climbing posts wrapped in thick rope. And now they have put together a book called "The Cats' House." There are floor plans, construction ideas and suggestions.

"The Cats' House," published by Andrews & McMeel, is available in bookstores for $19.95.

Mark Hetts' home repair column runs as space allows in the Home/Real Estate section. Send questions and comments to: Mr. HandyPerson, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111.