Fix Broken Chair Leg
December 2, 2016 6:52 AM   Subscribe

I have an upholstered chair with a broken leg. I'd love to fix it myself, but I'm not particularly handy and don't know if glue or wood filler will do the trick. More detail inside.

One of the legs broke off my upholstered chair in a recent move (Images here). As you can see from the pictures, there leg was attached with a dowel, and it looks like the opening where it inserts cracked open. I am not particularly handy, but would love to save this chair if I can. Would it work just to fill the opening with glue or wood filler and just stick the leg back in place? If not, is there some other fix that I could do myself? Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Happy to provide more pictures or detail if it would be helpful.
posted by dredge to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
If it was stage furniture, I'd wood filler the hell out of it and then after that hardened, try to hit it from the side with a couple of small, thin screws. Given that all the pressure is downward, putting the chair into the leg, as it were, that would probably do it, but I'm not a carpenter and stage furniture doesn't need to be pretty up close.
posted by xingcat at 7:36 AM on December 2, 2016

I would use epoxy, the two part stuff that comes in a double barrel syringe. Before it dries you can clean it up with acetone/nailpolish remover (but wear disposable gloves). I would remove some of the tacks on the upholstery so you can see the part that it sits in. It looks like it has cracked the spread, anything you can do to hold it back in place while the glue dries will be helpful, C-clamp, radiator hose clamp, baling wire, etc.
posted by 445supermag at 7:40 AM on December 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

I would probably want to remove the hessian from the bottom of the chair and then replace whatever block of wood the leg was dowelled into. I'd then look at carefully drilling out the old dowel and putting in a new one, and then using a good wood glue to hold it all together. But that's basically recreating how the chair was originally made - not a bad idea, but something that might be a challenge for someone not particularly handy.

My worry with epoxy or any or any other kind of bodge is that people tend to drag chairs when they move them, and that will put stress on the leg - It'll just keep breaking until you bite the bullet and fix it properly. Agree that putting a couple of screws into it will add a bit more strength than glue alone.
posted by pipeski at 8:35 AM on December 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'd go with epoxy too, but also somehow reinforce the split in the socket. Those legs don't look perfectly vertical and even if they were, I'd be afraid that weight + any sort of horizontal movement or shifting would stress it more. If there's space for a hose clamp, use that and leave it in. Otherwise, wander around Home Depot and see if you can find a bit of metal strapping or a couple tiny versions of these brackets to screw the sides together?
posted by yeahlikethat at 8:43 AM on December 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

You could try to dump some glue into the cracks of the chair and then pull the socket together with an automotive hose clamp. Gorilla clue is pretty strong.
When the glue dries, try dry fitting the leg into the socket, you may have to carve off the squeeze out so the leg fits. Then glue in the leg, and shoot a screw through the chair to hold the leg in.
If this works, try to remember to not drag that leg when moving the chair.
posted by Marky at 9:07 AM on December 2, 2016

I think the last few answers are on the right track; the part of the frame that receives the dowel needs more reinforcement than epoxy or any other splooge-it-in-there-and-hope solution is likely to provide. I suggest you pull a few of the staples and peel back that bottom covering far enough to get us a picture showing us what's further inside.
posted by jon1270 at 11:10 AM on December 2, 2016

I'll concur with the last couple of answers, hopefully steering you towards addressing the crack in the socket part. The photos are pretty blurry but it looks like you may need to poke at the cracked area to re-align all the bits. Put carpenter's glue (or white glue) into the crack and clamp it shut. Be sure to figure out the best position for the clamp before applying the glue - one that doesn't change its orientation and ultimately skew your leg. A spring clamp won't work. Also, heavy duty glue or epoxy isn't going to help. What's important is getting that socket re-constituted. Then you can clean off the dowel with a sharp knife and glue it back in.
posted by bonobothegreat at 3:05 AM on December 3, 2016

« Older Where to get a "do not duplicate" key duplicated?   |   Children's books with realistic/ambiguous plots Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.