Most of the chairs and furniture that we buy tend to get wobbly with the passage of time. It is hardly ever strong enough to withstand years of being pulled and pushed around, and so you will often have to see chairs with loose legs, broken arms, rungs, and spindles.
Whether it is chairs or other wooden furniture, all of them have some structural problem or the other. While it is important to handle this furniture carefully, here is how you can repair a wobbly chair, and replace broken and loose parts:
How To Fix Loose or Broken Joints in Chairs
The seat frames are held tight by mortise (A piece of wood cut in a square or rectangular shape to be able to accept a tenon (known commonly as a rail and situated at the end of a board to fit into the mortise) or doweled joints, wood pegs that hold all the pieces together. It is easy to fix a loose joint by applying glue if you are able to spot it on time. If the joint is broken, the dowels might have to be replaced by disassembling the joint. While doing so, be careful to separate the joint using a screwdriver or a sharp putty knife. Clean up the area by scraping off the dried glue before reassembling it.
A mechanical fastener or an angle brace can also be used to fix the frame. Drill screw holes on the end of the chair frame and fasten the metal angle there. Insert a thin piece of cardboard right under the opposite part of the angle. Once the screws are fixed and tightened in the hole, remove the cardboard and tighten the screws once again to bridge any gap.
Fixing Wobbly Shaky Chairs
Sitting on a wobbly and shaky chair is nothing less than unnerving. Adding right-angle corner braces is recommended if gluing and hardware tightening doesn’t work. You can get paintable braces at any hardware or home improvement store. Add a brace at the joint, where the leg meets the seat. Ensure there is no gap between the brace and the leg by bending the brace a little. Drill holes and insert the screws to avoid splitting of wood.
Fixing Loose Spindles and Backs of Chairs
Identify the loose or cracked spindles by grasping, and twisting them individually. Split open as far as you can using the tip of a putty knife. Apply wood glue into it and remove the knife. Place clamps or wrap masking tape on the crack to compress and hold it tight. Clean the area by wiping off any wet glue with a moist cloth. Remove the clamps or masking tape the next day and scrape off any dried glue.
The next step will be to insert a drill bit about 1/4-inch into a drill. Place the tip of the bit at the point where the back rails or spindles penetrate into the chair seats. Make sure to tilt the bit 30 degrees and drill either up or down all through the end. It is best to drill it up to 1 1/2 inches in depth. Don’t worry if it were to cut through all the way to the other side.
Now, apply the glue into the hole with the tip of a glue bottle. Fix one 1/4-by-1 1/2-inch dowel into the hole using a hammer and let it dry overnight. Once again, it is okay if it penetrates all the way through. Trim off any extra ends of the dowel and colour the end using a stain marker to match the colour of the chair.
Repairing Broken Leg of a Chair
Place the chair upside down. Keep the separated part aside. Clean the separated area to make sure that there is no debris. Make sure that the area on the leg that needs to be repaired is absolutely clean. Scrape off any remnants and apply glue. If there are two parts, glue needs to be applied on both parts. Fix the broken part and wrap it with a masking tape. Keep it aside overnight.
Next, shoot two pin nails, both one-inch long through the leg from both sides of the joint. Clamps should be placed one inch apart to compress the area. The next step is to drill at a 15 degree downward angle through the cracked area to penetrate all the way through and out of the leg. This must be done using a 3/8-inch drill bit and drill/driver. You must drill two evenly spaced holes if the crack is longer than three inches.
After applying glue to the holes, insert dowels, 3/8-inches long, into the holes that penetrates outside. Keep it overnight. Once the glue dries, remove the tape.
Ensure to cut off the protruding ends of the dowels and smoothen it using a file. Matching stain marker can be used to colour the ends of the dowels and putty crayons to fill cracks and tiny holes.