Archive for Monday, April 30, 2012


Fix-It Chick: Fix a wobbly chair

April 30, 2012


If you have wooden chairs, chances are at some point you will have wobbly wooden chairs.

Tightening loose joints in wooden chairs can be easy, if done correctly. For heirloom-quality pieces, consult a professional before attempting any repairs.

The easiest way to fix a loose wood joint is to use a specialty glue product, such as Wonderlok’em or Chair Doctor. Turn the chair upside down and apply a fair amount of glue to the wobbly joint. Allow the glue to seep into the joint and dry completely before turning the chair upright again.

If it is possible to disassemble the joint, a more professional method can be used to repair the chair.

  • Step 1: Disassemble the chair as much as necessary to effectively deal with the loose joint. Twist the rung out or use a rubber mallet to pound the frame away from the rung. Use a little vinegar to dissolve glue inside joints that are stuck.
  • Step 2: Scrape or sand the joint to remove all traces of glue, exposing some new wood inside joint and on the end of the rung.
  • Step 3: Fit the joint together to test for looseness. For slightly loose joints, use wood glue mixed with sawdust or talcum powder to glue the joint together. For looser joints, wrap the rung tip with cotton thread or use a wood shaving, like those found in potpourri, to shim the joint.
  • Step 4: Coat the inside of the open cell and the rung tip with standard wood glue or hide glue. Avoid using polyurethane-based glues, as they tend to expand unevenly, causing crooked joints.
  • Step 5: Re-assemble the chair and wipe away any excess glue with a damp cloth.
  • Step 6: Use clamps and/or straps to pull the chair together. A tourniquet system can be made using a rope or cloth and a pencil. Wrap a rope (or cloth) around the chair two times, near the glued joint. Insert a pencil between ropes and twist until the rope is tight.
  • Step 7: If possible, once the chair has been adequately reinforced with strapping or clamps, apply a fair amount of weight to its seat or leg tips to assure the chair will sit level once the gluing process is complete.
  • Step 8: Allow the glue to dry for at least 12 hours before removing supports and re-commissioning your new and not-so-wobbly seat.

— Linda Cottin can be reached at


FlintlockRifle 5 years, 11 months ago

Dad always used bailing wire and left it on the chair, looked kinda tacky but worked, course everybody chairs looked like that 50 years ago

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