What hardware will fix this camp chair?
May 3, 2021 8:51 AM   Subscribe

I am trying to fix a folding camp chair (pictures of broken chair). I know what needs to be fixed, but I do not know what type of fastener to use. I tried this type of screw/binding post combo, with and without washers, and each time the head snapped off within 10 minutes of sitting in the chair. I need something stronger, I guess - what would you recommend I use?
posted by mosst to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Are you using an aluminum binding post? Because that's a very soft metal. I'd try a steel one.
posted by bfranklin at 9:03 AM on May 3 [4 favorites]

A hex-head bolt and wingnut won't be flush, but won't break.
posted by rikschell at 9:06 AM on May 3

A short bolt should work fine. Put a washer under the bolt head and then a washer under the nut. When you go to tighten down the nut put a drop of superglue on the threads to make sure it doesn't wiggle off.

I figure the binding post failed because it's soft aluminum.
posted by gregr at 9:06 AM on May 3

Basically repeating what has been typed faster:
Aluminum is not ideal as a fastener. If you can get the same part in steel, that would be better (capable of withstanding at least 1000 lbs). Because the joint is being rotated frequently, you will need to secure the parts from unscrewing (once you've established the parts are strong enough). There are mechanical ways of doing that but a thread locker like Loc-Tite would probably be good enough.
posted by cardboard at 9:08 AM on May 3

Response by poster: Yeah, sorry, lack of detail on my part - the binding posts I tried were indeed aluminum, and I also suspected that aluminum was not likely to be strong enough (but it seems like stainless steel binding posts are only available through specialty online retailers - or at least I struck out at both of the local places I tried). The fastener does need to be pretty close to flush on the backside side in order to allow the chair to fold up fully, and while it can jut out a bit on the front, I wouldn't want it to jut out so much that it could catch on clothing/legs/etc.

At any rate, I'll give a steel bolt + washers + nut (maybe a cap nut?) + Loc-Tite, with the nut on the front, a shot - my hardware vocabulary is awful, so this is really helpful, thank you!
posted by mosst at 10:16 AM on May 3

I think you're on the right track with the cap nut, but would suggest a carriage bolt instead of a hex bolt.
posted by kate4914 at 10:25 AM on May 3

A carriage bolt on the side that needs to be flush and an acorn nut (those half dome nuts) on the other side would be easy. You can also use a regular nut and file it into a flattened dome shape after it has been secured. Loctiting would keep everything together where tension can't.

It is also not terribly difficult to peen the backside of a steel rivet. All you need is a piece of steel to pound on and a smallish ballpeen hammer.
posted by Mitheral at 10:32 AM on May 3

A carriage bolt requires a square hole, which we don't have here.

You could use a nylon insert locknut instead of Loctite.
posted by jon1270 at 12:37 PM on May 3 [1 favorite]

The carriage bolt should be sized so the square section fits tightly in the round hole. A washer may be needed under the nut.

Or the advanced tinkerer will file the round hole square.

The poor quality of hardware store bolts in this size and the likely softness of the chair metal means you can usually use the vaguely square part of the carriage bolt to broach the metal of the chair even if it is a bit larger than the round hole.
posted by Mitheral at 2:24 PM on May 3 [1 favorite]

A button head screw would be almost as flush as a carriage bolt.
posted by automatronic at 4:35 PM on May 3

I have been sitting in an office chair scavenged from a dumpster for like two decades. It was tossed because of a missing bolt/rod thingy. A trip to the hardware store and a bolt the right diameter.... The nuts kept falling off,use the Loctite/nylon or a lock washer... but you know what... I didn't and the nuts kept falling off but it never mattered and I've been rocking this chair for more than a decade with just a hardware store bolt stuck through that hole.

One of these days it will come back and bite me in the ass when I lean over and that bolt has wiggled out and I'll lean to the right and fall flat on my face. Hasn't happened yet.

A good steel bolt that fits the hole depending will be fine regardless of anything else.

So sayeth the guy sitting in a dumpster reclaimed office chair that has a nutless steel bolt that he rocks back and forth on that still hasn't fallen out in a decade. Knock on wood. Yeah, steel not aluminum, don't overthink (unless for aesthetics) beyond shoving a steel rod through that hole.
posted by zengargoyle at 3:31 AM on May 4

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