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Tightening a Loose Chair

Have you ever noticed just how easy it is for wooden chairs to become loose over time? For some reason these types of chairs will become wobbly, creaky, and generally rickety over time. That being said, tightening a loose chair isn't particularly difficult, and is often a task that can be completed with only a few minutes of work. Just use these simple methods, and you will have a perfectly working chair again in almost no time at all.

  • Joints. Quite often the easiest way to tighten a loose chair joint is to simply use a bit of glue. To do this, simply remove the joint a bit and apply a bit of glue to the joint. When you have done that, simply put the joint back together, and then use a belt that has been carefully tightened to hold it in place as the glue dries. Another step that you could do to help with this is to actually use a screw, or angle brace of some sort, that will be placed in an inconspicuous location to help hold the joint together. When both glue and screw are used, you will have an amazingly tight hold on the joints.
  • Legs, spindles, and rungs. Another part that often becomes loose on chairs are the decorative spindles, legs, and rungs that you can see on most styles of chairs. When these types of items are loosened, the easiest method for tightening them is to apply a small screw that can be easily hidden. Simply drive the screw from the underside, or other location that is out of sight, through the chair and into the decoration. Be careful that you use the narrowest possible screw for this job, or you may run the risk of splitting the wood. In addition, if you run the screw in and then remove it you can place a drop or two of wood glue in, and use that to strengthen the bond between the wood parts.
  • Structural parts. Structural parts can often be repaired in much the same manner as described above. However, since you will typically need to be driving the screw from outside. To hid this, you will need to first attach the screw as described above, but with the head recessed into the wood a bit. Find a wood dowel that will match the color of the wood chair, or some paint that you can apply to the chair as a whole that you will like. Apply cut a little bit of the dowel off so that it will fit cleanly into the hole left behind. Smear some wood glue over the sides of the dowel plug that will be going into the hole, and then place the plug into the hole. Wrap the dowel with some wax paper (glue won't stick to the paper this way) and then wrap the paper tightly with some string to hold it in place. Allow the glue to dry completely before you remove the wax paper.

These methods are designed to work on the most commonly loosened parts of a wooden chair. That being said, some of them will also work on parts that have been broken, as long as the break isn't too severe. If the break or damage is too severe you may need to take more drastic measures, such as taking the item to a professional for more in depth repairs.

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Comments for this tip:

David    24 Jul 2016, 00:07
I hate to tell you this, but new glue will not help a loose joint. The problem is that new glue won't stick to old glue; furthermore, since the new glue is separated from the wood by the old glue, the new glue won't stick to the wood.

Unfortunately, the only way to fix a loose joint in a piece of furniture is to take the joint apart, remove ALL of the old glue, and reglue it.

Most furniture made before about 1960 was assembled with hide glue. Hide glue will dry out eventually and will no longer hold the joint. If you add new hide glue, it is possible to activate the old glue.

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