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How To Restore A Dining Chair

Updated on October 13, 2014

Caution, wobbly legs.

If you have a set of dining room chairs, there is a fair chance that one of them has a wobbly leg. A loose chair is not only annoying, but also dangerous. Imagine the tragedy if the desert goes everywhere when the chair buckles under the weight of your auntie during her annual visit.

So what do you do when your chair starts to wobble? Do you do what I used to do, put it in the corner where no one will sit on it? Well this is the year to get pro-active. Follow this simple guide and you will have your full complement of chairs back to full working order. This guide can be used in two ways. The first bit is to stop the chair from wobbling. But if you want to restore your dining chairs then you can paint the chairs as well. Have fun.

The desert is a bad place to store your chairs.
The desert is a bad place to store your chairs.


The first step is the easiest step. Identify which leg is the wobbly one. Once you have identified where the looseness is on the chair, you then have to make it looser. Use a screwdriver to take out any screws, and prise out any nails to take off the leg. Before you take apart the chair, make sure that you know how it fits together. I find that taking a few pictures on my phone helps trigger my memory if I need it later on.

Straighten Out

The reason that a chair wobbles, is that there is a joint that is loose. In order to strengthen up a joint, you need to make sure that the two connecting services fit flush with each other. Normally there will be adhesive on the faces that connect each other. Use 120 grit sandpaper to sand off the old adhesive, and ensure that the surfaces are clean and flat. This will ensure that the surfaces connect together strongly.


Now that the surfaces are clean, it is time to dirty them up again. Use PVA glue on each joint, making sure that the surfaces connect flush with each other. Use clamps to hold together the joints until they dry. Reinsert any screws, making sure that the screw joins tightly. The chair should now be stronger than ever. Now to get it looking it's best ever.


If you have any scratches, cuts, dints in the surfaces of your chairs these can be easily fixed. Use some timber filler to fill in the imperfections.Use a flat putty knife to apply the timber putty into the surface flaws. Once you have applied the timber putty onto the flaws, sand the area until it is smooth to touch. Sand all the surfaces of the chair with 180 grit sandpaper. This is probably the most annoying part of revamping a chair, but it is absolutely important, so no slacking now.


This is the satisfying step. This is where you see the real transformation take place. First paint all the surfaces with a primer. Make sure that you do no neglect to paint the underside of the chair. Once the primer is dry, apply two coats of acrylic coat giving a light sand in-between coats. Don't be shy with the bright colours.

Best Furniture Repair Tips

Use an extractor – When you are restoring or repairing furniture then more often than not screws will be involved. Because you are dealing with old furniture sometimes the screws don't want to budge. If you can not remove the screws and you just seem to be threading the screws when you try and remove them, then what should you do? Use an extractor. Extractors can be purchased at any hardware store and are invaluable when dealing with old furniture. Drill a hole into the shank of the screw in the furniture. You can then remove the screw by inserting the extractor and then turning it counter-clockwise. The extractor will then do all the hard work for you and force the screw out. Not only will this save the furniture from damage, but it will also save your ego.

Don't limit your options – There is more than one way to skin a cat, or cover a chair. There are a lot of companies online that are offering different pre-made decals and slipcovers for common furniture. You can also paint a chair, but don't just think plain colours. How about using stencils to add a modern twist, or a vintage pattern. There are so many more options when you look online at different sites like Pinterest that will give you the idea and motivation to try something new. Imagine a decoupaged seat, or a button tufted lounge. Don't limit your furniture repair to the style that your neighbours have, be creative and express your personality.

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