5 simple steps to overhaul a wobbly chair

August 20, 2015

Repairing a wobbly chair that seems ready to put to pasture is easier than you think. Following these five simple steps and using some common sense will take you a long way in this DIY job.

5 simple steps to overhaul a wobbly chair

What you will need

  • Scraper, wood rasp or sandpaper
  • Wood glue
  • Small paintbrush
  • Notched spreader or old hacksaw blade
  • Tape, clamps, nails, tacks or weights for pressure
  • Wet cloth
  • Dowel (if required)
  • Nail and string (if required)

1. Get rid of the old glue

  • Scrape, file or sand all the old glue off the chair's joints.
  • To get the glue off the inside of dowel holes, wrap some sandpaper around a piece of dowel, insert and twist.
  • Removing all the old glue from joints is important because any glue that you leave could prevent the new glue from penetrating the wood fibres.

2. Apply fresh glue

  • For a narrow surface, run a bead of glue along the wood and spread it with a brush.
  • For a larger surface, use a notched spreader or an old hacksaw blade.
  • The saw's teeth will spread the glue easily and to an even depth.

3. Set any splits

  • To repair split wood, wedge the split open with a nail, inject glue into the gap, and then draw a piece of string back and forth inside the gap to spread the glue.
  • Remove the nail, and apply clamping pressure while the glue sets.

4. Apply pressure

  • After you've glued a joint, keep firm pressure on it with clamps, tape, small nails, tacks or a heavy weight until the glue dries.
  • If you're setting a chair leg, try a web clamp or a tourniquet-style clamp.

5. Wipe away the ooze

  • Don't worry if glue oozes from a mended joint — just make sure you remove the excess.
  • If you're planning on painting the chair, one wipe with a wet cloth should be enough to clear up the excess glue.
  • If you're going to be wrapping up the job with a clear finish or stain, then rinse the cloth thoroughly after the first wipe and then wipe again to remove all glue residue.

Following these five simple steps and using some common sense will help you overhaul your wobbly chairs.

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