Fixing A Chair Leg – A Cautionary Tale

Hello, Go Gingham fans! The following is a “how to fix a chair” as well as a cautionary tale. I hope you would never fall prey to the unscrupulous fix-it folks who want to make you believe things are much more complicated than you can imagine. I hope you can see when someone is pressuring you with their “expertise.” Perhaps this story will inspire you to try something you haven’t done before – to see if you can do something yourself and trust your own smarts, instead of relying on an expert.

Fixing A Chair Leg – A Cautionary Tale

I once had a furniture repair fellow over to my house to look at a few pieces of furniture which needed some minor repair. He was a very large man and spoke with a voice that sounded like Mickey Mouse, but he was willing to do repairs on-site and had an Italian accent and told me his family had been fixing furniture for generations – so, duh, I trusted him. He did a great job with the base of my dining room table and a small antique table whose leaf had split. When I asked him about stabilizing the legs of my two armless leopard chairs, he told me nothing could be done. He was willing to take them to his shop to see if anyone would buy them for a very discounted price, but that was it. I decided not to send the chairs away with him and am very glad I did.

Since the chairs were destined for the dump anyway, I decided to do a little investigating…it is very freeing when I have nothing to lose and can recklessly take things apart to see how they work and what is inside. These chairs were purchased from HomeGoods, so I knew they might not last forever and was not completely surprised that their legs had gotten wobbly.

These chairs had the typical black fabric stapled to the underside of the seat.

I knew I could easily put the fabric back and re-staple it into place, so, of course, I started ripping it apart.

Inside, I found that each leg of the chair was attached with two big bolts.

Under the heads of the bolts were locking washers (washers which are split, so that when the bolt is tightened all the way down on them, it creates tension to sort of “lock” the bolt into place) which clearly had become loose. Using an allen wrench (which is one of those hexagonal things you get with almost every IKEA furniture purchase), I tightened those bolts right up.

It was a miracle healing right there in my living room. With just a quick twist of an allen wrench, those chairs came back to life almost instantly. No more sitting on wobbly chairs! No more plans to send them to their final rest at the dump! They had been saved!

How to fix a chair

I also discovered that the chair legs could be adjusted with the little rubber feet at the end of the legs.

How to fix a chairIt turns out those things are actually screwed into the chair leg and can be twisted in and out to just the right length so that the chair sits squarely on all four legs.

How to fix a chair

The moral of this story is…it is always worth investigating to see what you can do yourself. The fix might be really simple and easy. You never know until you try! Also, don’t be a ninny – big ole men who speak in Mickey Mouse voices are not to be trusted. Even if they have an Italian accent.

 Have you ever fixed a chair before? Did you have success?

Go Gingham related links:

Totally tubular aluminum chair
How to fix outdoor chairs and my chair obsession
Yes, I do love chairs and they look nice here

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