Nearly everyone at one time or another has sat in a chair and immediately felt off balance. The curse of the loose joint will often be the cause of such unsteadiness. Before you throw that chair away, or pay a furniture repair shop to fix your favorite dinning room chair, consider trying these simple steps to fix the problem
Repairing Loose Joints
One of the most common places on a chair that can become loose is the seat frame. Often these areas are held together by mortise-and-tenon joints, or a doweled joint. In a mortise and tenon joint, a prong or tongue of wood is secured in a matching hole in an adjoining piece, it is also sometime referred to as a ‘tongue and groove’ joint. Doweled joints are simply wooden pegs which hold the two separate pieces of furniture together. Both of these joints can easily become loosened over time due to repeated use.
If you notice the loose joint early in its stages of disrepair, the easiest way to fix the problem is through the use of glue. If the joint itself is intact, but merely loosened, simply place it back into position, add some glue to strengthen the bond and allow to dry completely, preferably overnight.
If the joint is broken, you will have to disassemble and replace the dowels. Be sure to take it apart in a step by step method, taking care with the glue blocks that will most likely be both screwed into and glued onto the frame of the chair. In fact, the joint might also be supported with hidden nails or screw fasteners, so be sure to have the proper tools on hand and take your time. Common tools needed for this type of repair are a standard screwdriver, and Phillips head screw driver, a small claw hammer, and sandpaper. One common way to get the joint apart is to carefully separate the joint with a standard screwdriver, being certain to follow the joint plain as marked by the glue.
Once you have the joint assembly taken apart, inspect it carefully and replace any parts that are broken or show signs of wear. Signs of wear or distress can include cracks in the wood, mold, other signs of moisture, and unexplained rough areas. Parts that could be replaced can include the dowel, the tongued portion of the joint, even the glue blocks that offer joint support. Once you have replaced the worn or damaged parts of the joint, make sure they are clean and dry before reassembling the joint. Once it is reassembled, be sure to apply the necessary adhesive and allow it to dry while being braced.
After allowing it to dry and stabilize overnight, that wobbly seat in your favorite chair should be as good as new.