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Old 01-31-2023, 09:43 AM   #1
New Member
Join Date: Feb 2020
Location: Va Beach
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Year: 1998
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Jack Knife Sofa Platform

Has anyone built one of these and have a measured drawing?
I am wondering how wide it has to be. I purchased them from Rec Pro so they are designed for an RV. any suggestions?

ecupirate1988 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-31-2023, 05:11 PM   #2
Bus Nut
Join Date: Mar 2021
Location: Central Kentucky
Posts: 374
Coachwork: Busless for now
Hey, Pirate,

I have a jack knife in my truck camper. I don't know the brand but I did some measuring that may help you. The platform is 19-1/2 inches wide by 80 long. It is 13 inches off the floor. The brackets that bolt to the platform are long enough that you could make the platform 27 or so inches wide if you wanted to. Mine has a wall at each end but if you have open space at the ends it wouldn't hurt to shorten the length a couple of inches.

Here is what it looks like as a sofa:
Click image for larger version

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And here as a bed:
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It is more comfy to sleep in than I expected.

Hope this helps. If you need more info or measurements, let me know.
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Old 02-04-2023, 03:58 PM   #3
Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: Indiana
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Year: 2001
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Engine: DT466
Originally Posted by ecupirate1988 View Post
Has anyone built one of these and have a measured drawing?
I am wondering how wide it has to be. I purchased them from Rec Pro so they are designed for an RV. any suggestions?
We bought a scissor couch and then I welded a metal frame and bolted it to the chair rail along the sidewall and to the floor. Even added seats belts which can be pulled through the seats for passengers.

I made the height of the metal frame 11” tall and the width of the couch. Our width was 68”. They vary. This makes the seat cushion 19” high from the floor.

Hope that helps.
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Old 02-04-2023, 04:44 PM   #4
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Hi guys, lurker here, and I'm all theory, but here goes . . .

I've heard about these Jacknife sofa/bed things. Checked it out online and had instead been considering between a futon and an air mattress because I didn't really see anything the Jacknife did better - not based on photos because the legs on the futon are a few minutes with a sawzall from not being there. And in their favor, plastic underbed storage containers strike me as a better idea in terms of keeping vermin out than something built of 2x2s and plywood then upholstered with foam, cloth, and/or vinyl.

Moreover, I've seen futons in K-Mart for $99 and for significantly more than that, at Ikea, also. But many have futon variations (both with and without arms). Here are two different styles I looked at most closely at Ikea's website. Both fold out to make a bed
With both, the way the site works is you click on the photo of the product and then it'll open a container with more photos. Click to go through them. One image is of a dimensioned drawing. I also noticed photos showing the internal composition of the construction.

So which did I purchase? Neither. Instead I decided on a $120 air mattress. Walmart, queen size, and it inflates with an air pump. It can be reversed to suck the air out to speed storage and once folded we stash it in milk crate.

Note1; the pump keeps the bed inflated automatically (we once set it up and left it for a month, or so). Our grandsons were ecstatic about spending nights in my office. And we slept in it once too, but just the once before breaking it down from its extended test with the boys. Speaking of which, at 7 & 9 y/o they're the typical hyperactive kids so you can imagined the air mattress bed got rather more of a workout than just us sleeping on it that one night.

As to the sleep, it was comfortable enough. And the one we purchased is of a design that places the bed surface about 20" above the floor so you didn't have to crawl out. Instead, you swung you legs out to sit on the lowish edge. Pretty decent, honestly. I slept about as well on the unfamiliar bed of a hotel.

Note2; we don't camp like most people. For us camping is what we do when we visit a model airplane flying event for the weekend and 'camp' adjacent to the runway, or attend a NASCAR event and set up in the infield amongst the RVs, for a night or three.

Basically, we're not going into national parks for weeks or months on end, nor driving from Maine to Florida over the course of a month following the nice weather before decamping for three or four months before heading back north (in effect, snowbirds).

So a few days on the air mattress and that's it. Major point being, if we were doing that long-term thing, then I'm not 100% certain I'd make the same decision. Not saying I would, or wouldn't, just dunno.

However, I am certain that me pissing away $100 once or twice makes more sense than $500-1000 for a fixtured piece of equipment. After all, the Jacknife or futon are items you don't leave loose the way you would in a bedroom at home. That, and changing your mind on the placement due to wanting to reconfigure the living arrangements are sure to be more of a pain in the hind end. Anyway, your money, of course.

Also, and against the possibility of the air mattress developing a leak, or some problem, a second one is cheap and easy enough to obtain within driving distance of civilization. Wallyworld once again, or Target. Everybody sells them so I don't need a spare like I'd be tempted to have on hand if I were really into RVing. E.g. with such intensely that the nearest replacement were 200-300 miles away.

Further distance from a Walmart in contiguous USA?

Note3; and last thing, and not that it matters, I have a 24' box truck instead of a bus. From my perspective, it's better for me because
  • I have more perfectly rectangular space to work with, plus
  • great headroom, plus a roll up cargo door on the end, and
  • since it's also equipped with a hydraulic Tommy lift, bringing my Sportster along is easier than towing a car.
  • Being a Freightliner with Cat engine means easy service anywhere
Note4; short term camping affects all of my thinking, e.g. in terms of . . .
  1. Cooking while 'camping' being we largely don't because there are food trucks everywhere at events. Microwave and coffee maker are enough.
  2. Showers and toilets? 100 gallons of potable and 60-gallons of gray water capacity. Don't overflow it.
  3. Full size shower stall like in a home versus the cramped quarters of even the nice RVs
  4. That, and we crap in loveable loo using a full size long toilet seat and cat litter within plastic bag lined 5-gallon buckets. No smell and no black water to deal with.
My 2’
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Old 02-04-2023, 07:10 PM   #5
Bus Nut
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Suburbs of Winterset, OH
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That may be the best thing about a DYI camper. What works for me may not work for you.

So, glad to welcome you to the site, hope you share more on your build.

who knows, maybe sometime down the road you'll want to start doing some weekend camping escapes...
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