Need a vendor to come on-site at work and stop a squeaking chair?
June 17, 2013 3:49 PM   Subscribe

My boss has asked me to have someone come on-site and stop the squeaking of the CEO's chair--I cannot think of what kind of vendor might perform this service.

(He rocks back and forth all day and is hard of hearing). I work in a regular, boring-style office on the 8th floor in downtown Pasadena, California.

Several years ago I found a furniture upholsterer willing to make the trip, but they've since gone out of business.

Do any of you lovelies have any idea?
posted by alice_curiouse to Grab Bag (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would call local nice furniture stores and ask them to recommend a furniture repair contractor. They'll know someone handy. Be aware that, depending on the poshness of the chair and the frugality of the CEO, it may wind up being cheaper to just buy a new chair.
posted by mindsound at 3:54 PM on June 17, 2013

A few points to consider:
* Squeaking at one level is pretty easily solved with a squirt of spray-on lithium grease at the appropriate point (too much will leak and it's a messy lube, but it's the best for metal-on-metal wear); WD-40 may be used in a pinch but is not (despite popular mindshare) actually a lubricant. If somebody in building maintenance hasn't already done this, or doesn't seem to know how, you can check a few YouTube videos on the procedure.
* Metal-on-metal wear is cumulative, and parts wear out, and overstressed metal can fatigue (leading to usually-not-dangerous collapses); replacement is possible but again, a new chair may be not much more expensive; nearly all mass-produced office furniture is very much at the pitch-and-replace quality level
* A heavily-used all-day chair is probably worth replacing with a quality heavier-duty chair that will last (and is worth maintaining/repairing). One of my happier purchases a few years ago was a heavy-duty desk chair for big and tall men, which has withstood the usual abuse and then some.
posted by dhartung at 4:16 PM on June 17, 2013

Wow, you guys are crazy knowledgeable, aren't you?

It looks like a pretty cheap chair, the manual/assembly guide says "WorkSmart" from "Office Star Products". Yikes.

So, I'll try to find out what someone would charge to oil this, if I cannot figure out where the squeak is coming from myself!
posted by alice_curiouse at 4:22 PM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

I solved this exact problem when I first purchased the task chair that I sit in daily with WD-40. Despite the mantra that WD-40 is not a lubricant, the manufacturer disagrees: the word "lubricant" and more importantly "stops squeaks" appear on the can itself.

Try that first, and if it works you'll be a hero.
posted by danny the boy at 4:23 PM on June 17, 2013 [6 favorites]

Most stuff is disposable. Just get a new one. It's probably cheaper.

Is the manufacturer still in business? Perhaps they can recommend someone. But good luck, repair of anything has gone the way of the Do-do.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:46 PM on June 17, 2013

This appears to be the manufacturer (here's the page for their WorkSmart series of chairs). And here is their list of contacts. I don't know how much direct help this is, but you can at least give them a call and see if they have any ideas who would be able to service the chair.

Also, it looks like the "Executive Seating" chairs in their WorkSmart line seem to be between $100 and $400 (based on some cursory googling), depending on the model.
posted by mhum at 5:05 PM on June 17, 2013

Have you already tried asking the building's maintenance/janitorial staff? In my experience, the workers in those positions are crazy-smart about fixing all sorts of things.
posted by Jacqueline at 5:30 PM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

I was thinking a run-of-the-mill handyman-type service would do this. We had a bunch of squeaking chairs at work and one of the staff members just brought in a can of oil and addressed the problem herself. (She also mentioned something about WD-40 not being the right stuff for the job, and she sounded knowledgeable on the topic, but I'm not about to take a strong position one way or the other.)
posted by Orinda at 5:41 PM on June 17, 2013

Have you tried Furniture Medic? They will come fix it for you
posted by elisebeth at 5:44 PM on June 17, 2013

I'd bring in an Allen key and a couple of screwdrivers. Tighten every visible screw. That (and maybe some form of oil) would likely fix most squeaks. If they're willing to pay for a service to fix a cheap chair then, as others have suggested, it might just be wiser to talk them into getting a new chair.
posted by valleys at 6:10 PM on June 17, 2013

I work in an office full of cheap chairs, and after one particularly bad day of an office mate obliviously rocking back and forth and squeaking for over ten minutes I decided I would fix things. The next day I brought in my bottle of bicycle chain lube, I figure it works for metal on metal squeaking in the chain, it'll work on a chair. I flipped it over and applied a drop to each hinge portion (just a drop is needed, you're not lubricating a large area). It's been a few weeks and still no squeaking. Word of warning though, my boss went to fix his own chair and a sizeable amount of black powder came out from the bracket of his chair, leaving a spot on the carpet. He had been grinding the metal so much it was starting to wear out the hinge.
posted by borkencode at 9:05 PM on June 17, 2013

Oh my gosh, I came into work this morning to a "plethora" of handy advice! I must mark this as resolved so you folks can help others in distress.

Again, thank you!
posted by alice_curiouse at 8:19 AM on June 18, 2013

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