Flat pack furniture plans?! Help?

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Flat pack furniture plans?! Help?

Postby Ratpick » Thu Jul 14, 2011 9:36 pm

I've been googling like a fool and find all kinds of pictures and cheesy artsy articles about flat-pack furniture but have yet to see one single plan or diagram how to make something. I've tried several different terms, variations and combinations.
I know some you know what I'm talking about- furniture that is cut from a sheet of plywood that goes together like a 3-d puzzle with no tools, just slots and tabs that fit together. You probably also know what I'm talking about trying to search something and not getting satisfaction.
So anyway, I saw some videos where there was flat pack style furniture in some hexayurts. Ive got my yurt built and want a few nice pieces to set up inside. So, in a few too many words, can some of you please help out with some plans? I just want to do chairs or loveseats and coffee table. Nothing too extravagant.
Thanks!
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Re: Flat pack furniture plans?! Help?

Postby DustHand » Thu Jul 14, 2011 9:42 pm

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Re: Flat pack furniture plans?! Help?

Postby Trishntek » Thu Jul 14, 2011 9:43 pm

I considered such things and decided on inflatable furniture. We'll have two King Size sofas and one large chair. Yeah they probably won't survive,,,, but we have spares if necessary and they pack away in a tote quite nicely.
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Re: Flat pack furniture plans?! Help?

Postby bigbluedoggy » Thu Jul 14, 2011 9:44 pm

You are referring to Playatech furniture. Enjoy.

http://www.playatech.com/
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Re: Flat pack furniture plans?! Help?

Postby FIGJAM » Thu Jul 14, 2011 9:46 pm

I would check "indestuctables".
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Re: Flat pack furniture plans?! Help?

Postby Elderberry » Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:13 pm

We bought their king size bed platform plans. Took them to the lumber yard and they made all the straight cuts in the plywood for us. I bought a cheap hand held electric jig saw and cut out the locking grooves. Easy to store, easy to transport and easy to assemble...as long as we remember to take the big sections into the yurt before we tape the roof on!

bigbluedoggy wrote:You are referring to Playatech furniture. Enjoy.

http://www.playatech.com/
Last edited by Elderberry on Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Flat pack furniture plans?! Help?

Postby Ratpick » Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:34 pm

Awesome thanks! I think playatech has what I'm looking for!
Inflatable furniture not a bad idea, for inside the yurt.
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Re: Flat pack furniture plans?! Help?

Postby melodiousdirge » Fri Jul 15, 2011 12:44 am

Search instructables.com with the terms "nomad furniture" as well. Not all of it is relevant but there are some good ideas to be had.
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Re: Flat pack furniture plans?! Help?

Postby gyre » Fri Jul 15, 2011 5:10 am

This type design goes back to early japan, at the least.

I have sawhorses built this way, of early japanese design.
The primary thing holding them together is gravity, precision providing rigidity.

There are many designs out there.
Once you understand how they orient the design, it's not hard to do.
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Re: Flat pack furniture plans?! Help?

Postby ygmir » Fri Jul 15, 2011 6:55 am

gyre wrote:This type design goes back to early japan, at the least.

I have sawhorses built this way, of early japanese design.
The primary thing holding them together is gravity, precision providing rigidity.

There are many designs out there.
Once you understand how they orient the design, it's not hard to do.


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Re: Flat pack furniture plans?! Help?

Postby Bob » Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:06 am

gyre wrote:This type design goes back to early japan, at the least.


No. No, it doesn't, not even remotely. Boxy furniture made of jig-sawed mass-produced plywood goes back to post-WWII America.

Was popularized by Popular Mechanics and the Nomadic Furniture series of books by Hennessey & Papanek from the 1970s.
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Re: Flat pack furniture plans?! Help?

Postby gyre » Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:20 am

Mass production may be new, but portable, assembled furniture using no permanent fasteners, if any, is an old concept.
It was common in medieval europe, for those with the need and the means.

I'm sure i don't need to remind you about the use of medieval plywood.

As far as I know, ikea had no involvement.
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Re: Flat pack furniture plans?! Help?

Postby Lassen Forge » Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:34 am

Best thing about Playatech is once you understand what it is the design is telling you, it can be adapted and changed to any other format. Our camps backbar last year was stretched a one way, made of thicker playawood, and did away with a couple shelves.

Word of caution - when cutting slots, they have to be right, otherwise it will bind. And if you plan on painting it, make sure you leave an allowance for the thickness of the paint, otherwise it will all bind up. (knowing what I know now, I would deliberately *not* paint the wood where it interfaces with a slot...).

While some people say don't paint it so you can burn it, to me that seems like a waste of resources... true, it IS Burning Man, but this stuff is SO reusable it seems silly (and wasteful) to burn it just to build it again the next year, esp. when it packs to darn near nothing....
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Re: Flat pack furniture plans?! Help?

Postby gyre » Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:38 am

ygmir wrote:
gyre wrote:This type design goes back to early japan, at the least.

I have sawhorses built this way, of early japanese design.
The primary thing holding them together is gravity, precision providing rigidity.

There are many designs out there.
Once you understand how they orient the design, it's not hard to do.


oh, you and your Asian humor........

Only you or Shambala would notice.
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Re: Flat pack furniture plans?! Help?

Postby Bob » Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:47 am

I understand the ancient Japanese used yak butter to seal & lubricate their jig-sawed plywood and other parts.

Or you could try exterior Watco oil.
Amazing desert structures & stuff: http://sites.google.com/site/potatotrap/

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Re: Flat pack furniture plans?! Help?

Postby Ugly Dougly » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:24 am

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Re: Flat pack furniture plans?! Help?

Postby gyre » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:31 am

This is an area of some fascination to me.

I have a box design that folds from a single sheet of material and uses no fasteners.
It can be reversed into a flat package again.
It has a flat bottom and is very rugged.
It is a material intensive design though.

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Re: Flat pack furniture plans?! Help?

Postby bigbluedoggy » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:31 am

Without directly copying anything from playatech, I used the idea of slotted pieces to create 4 large futons, 4 large couches, cocktail rounds, a bar and a few other pieces that completely fills our lounge space. It all packs into next to nothing (except for the foam... lol). It would take a nearly full 16' truck to haul this stuff in it's assembled form!
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Re: Flat pack furniture plans?! Help?

Postby Bob » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:36 am



Nice. I made a bench similar to one on that site about ten years ago when DPW was setting up temporary chambers for Judge Phil.
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Re: Flat pack furniture plans?! Help?

Postby gyre » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:44 am

I can't find any photos online, but for general info the sawhorses I have, use square holes as the primary fitting.
This must be precise.
Almost everything else can be sloppy.

Braces are slot and hook.
Shims are used to create a movable piece that is rigid in all directions.
They can be used in place without them though.

The same design could be used to support a large portable table, or board.
I have no idea if the japanese did this, as was common in europe, but it seems likely.
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Re: Flat pack furniture plans?! Help?

Postby Savannah » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:49 am

I'd seen the bike rack before, but never bothered to visit the full site. That is fabulous. :shock: My current furniture needs are met, but I love to learn of alternatives (and do not have the patience for inflatables).

Add some outdoor furniture cushions on a few things, and you're in business.
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Re: Flat pack furniture plans?! Help?

Postby letterset25 » Fri Jul 15, 2011 10:47 am

If you are a little more ambitious in the shop and want to try working with wood do a Google search on campaign furniture. It was primarily used by the British for military campaigns on the continent. It mostly adheres to the no tool philosophy and larger pieces pack into square shapes to facilitate moving. Most of it is very fancy, relecting the fashion of the times, but by simplifying the aesthetics you could have some very nice furniture that is easy to move. I'm working on a couple of pieces but nothing that will be ready for the playa this year.

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