Chair Repair

We have had the dining room furniture for about 28 years. I have put some of it back together. Originally from J.C.Penney, the furniture is nice wood but quickly put together. The biggest problem in getting it apart is that the spindles, back, rungs, and frames are held together with those corrugated wood fasteners. It is very difficult to get the chairs apart without some damage. Ideally, you can take a chair apart with a firm tap (with a hammer and a protective wood pad) to separate the glue joint. With the fasteners, careful wiggling and pulling is required in addition to the tap.
Working with the pictures in the Gallery, a back and side view of the chair. In the second row left, a screw has worked loose allowing the frame to flex. Normally, the frame would be rigidly held by he seat. On the right a spindle has come loose from the leg, allowing the other legs to flex and work their joints loose. In the third row, as the frame works, the pegs that are glued into the the leg loosen and work. The glue block that holds the frame tight, has broken loose and is retained only by the staples used in assemble. Third row, right, before dis-assembly, use masking tape and a marker to identify the left and right pieces and where they are in the chair and how they are oriented. The back pieces are labeled 1-Top, 2, 3, 4-Bottom, Left (relative to sitting in the chair), Right. The Legs, Left-Front, Right-Front, the frames are labeled Front-Left (with the label to the left), Frames – Rear-Left, Left-Rear (with the label to the rear), Right-Rear, Runs Rear-Left, Left-Rear, Right-Rear, Front-Left-Top, Front-Left-Bottom.
When the labeling is complete, use a stubby Phillips screwdriver to remove the screws that hold the seat to the frame. Remove the seat d set it aside, put the screws in a baggy. Then use tapping and pulling to disassemble the chair. If a joint is tight and firm, there is no need to separate it. But be diligent to get the loose ones apart. Clean the loose glue from surfaces, holes and spindles of the separated parts. I prefer “Chair-Loc”, a compound that swells the wood and tightens the joint rather than glue for re-assembly. For it to work properly, clean wood is best. On the other hand, excessive scraping or sanding will make the joint loose and require additional work to make it tight.
On re-assembly, plan ahead. Make sure that you understand what joints are going to go back together and how. With chairs, the legs move toward the center simultaneously during re-assembly. Put Chair-Loc in each of the open holes and on the spindles before insertion. Work quickly before the wood has a chance to expand. Assemble all 4 legs, the 4 back panels, 4 frame pieces, and 5 rungs and press together. Use bar clamps and tapping to bring them firmly together. Make a bowline knot and throw it over a leg and wrap the chair with rope. It takes about 30 feet (10 meters) to wrap. Use a taut-line hitch around the back fineal and tighten to hold firmly while the Chair-Loc works. See the Gallery bottom left. Drip some Chair-Loc in the joints that you did not separate as well. Glue the glue blocks and clamp. Gallery bottom right. Use a damp rag to remove any spillage.
After a couple of hour, remove the clamps and rope.

Leave a Reply