Author Topic: Fine furniture repair - new boards for chair seats  (Read 837 times)

Sibley

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Fine furniture repair - new boards for chair seats
« on: November 04, 2021, 10:24:32 AM »
The dining room chairs at my parents house are minimum 60 years old, probably older as they were my great grandmother's chairs. Recently, one of them had the board that is the seat (with the padding and cover on top) crack. It's a wooden board. If one cracked then the others are probably not too far behind, so I need to replace all of them.

I can take the seats apart, cut the new boards to fit and reassemble. What I don't know is what kind of wood to get in the first place.

Papa bear

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Re: Fine furniture repair - new boards for chair seats
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2021, 12:43:37 PM »
The dining room chairs at my parents house are minimum 60 years old, probably older as they were my great grandmother's chairs. Recently, one of them had the board that is the seat (with the padding and cover on top) crack. It's a wooden board. If one cracked then the others are probably not too far behind, so I need to replace all of them.

I can take the seats apart, cut the new boards to fit and reassemble. What I don't know is what kind of wood to get in the first place.
I would try gluing and clamping it back together first. Then you can try and get into tearing them apart to rebuild.


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Sibley

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Re: Fine furniture repair - new boards for chair seats
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2021, 01:00:08 PM »
The dining room chairs at my parents house are minimum 60 years old, probably older as they were my great grandmother's chairs. Recently, one of them had the board that is the seat (with the padding and cover on top) crack. It's a wooden board. If one cracked then the others are probably not too far behind, so I need to replace all of them.

I can take the seats apart, cut the new boards to fit and reassemble. What I don't know is what kind of wood to get in the first place.
I would try gluing and clamping it back together first. Then you can try and get into tearing them apart to rebuild.


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Maybe I'm not describing this well. It's the part your tush touches. Flat, 1/4 inch thick (I'm guessing) semi square of wood. You staple the padding and cushion fabric to it, then it gets screwed onto the chair frame so you can sit.

When I take this chair apart, this piece of wood is coming off in 2 pieces, along that crack. And it's right down the middle too. If you sit on it, you're going to fall through the seat. The chair frame is fine. I'm no expert here, but gluing and clamping isn't going to repair this any way I envision.

Papa bear

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Re: Fine furniture repair - new boards for chair seats
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2021, 03:30:05 PM »
This is probably a picture is worth a thousand words type of thing.  Got one to share?


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Sibley

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Re: Fine furniture repair - new boards for chair seats
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2021, 05:52:05 PM »
I stopped over there tonight specifically to get pics. Yes. This is one chair, it's not the broken one. Imagine the board split in roughly half from the front to the back of the seat.

Edit: and mom said they're over 100 years old. Not the original finish clearly.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2021, 05:54:37 PM by Sibley »

Papa bear

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Fine furniture repair - new boards for chair seats
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2021, 07:20:46 PM »
Ok, I understand. Is your plan to take the upholstery off and reattach it to a new bottom?  I would imagine that it should be 1/2” to 3/4” material.  I would just buy some decent 1/2” plywood, maybe something with 1 finished side for the bottom and reupholster the cushion and fabric back on that. 

Or, take one apart and purchase the same thickness. I would definitely go with plywood though, it should work much better.

I wouldn’t mess with my first suggestion of glue and clamp.  Not worth the effort here. 


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Uturn

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Re: Fine furniture repair - new boards for chair seats
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2021, 07:13:10 AM »
To my eye, that sticker looks much more modern than 100 years ago, so this chair has been repaired before.  If you are concerned with keeping authenticity, I would talk to a furniture restorer and find out what was used back then. 

I would just get some 1/2" plywood. Because of the cross grain nature of plywood, it should hold up longer. It's the underside of a chair, so only the cat will see it.  Unless you have a very pretentious cat, they are not going to care. 

Find a local cabinet shop and ask to dig through their scrap pile.  You will probably find high grade plywood scraps large enough and free.

Sibley

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Re: Fine furniture repair - new boards for chair seats
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2021, 07:54:46 AM »
Authenticity isn't a concern, just functional and good condition. And I have no idea what the actual age is, besides older than 60 since my mother remembers the chairs in her grandmother's house.

Plywood it is, and something with a finished side would be best. The cat won't care, other than the process will be intensely supervised I'm sure. Next phase is to find a local shop that has a scrap pile. I don't know one, but I do know a few places I can ask.

lthenderson

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Re: Fine furniture repair - new boards for chair seats
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2021, 08:00:33 AM »
I would actually recommend using hardboard instead of plywood. It can support more weight and is less prone to cracking in this particular application. It is readily available in big box supply stores (sold alongside the plywood) and they often sell project sheets which are small pieces of this so you don't have to buy an entire sheet.

lthenderson

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Re: Fine furniture repair - new boards for chair seats
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2021, 08:03:22 AM »
I just checked online and you can buy a 2ft by 4ft hardboard panel for $4.00 which should be enough to do all the chairs.

https://www.menards.com/main/building-materials/panel-products/handi-panels/2-x-4-hardboard-handi-panel/1291135/p-1444431332443.htm

Sibley

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Re: Fine furniture repair - new boards for chair seats
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2021, 08:40:15 AM »
That would be easier to find for sure! I have to go to Menards tonight anyway, will take a look.

Sibley

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Re: Fine furniture repair - new boards for chair seats
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2021, 07:23:42 PM »
I ended up getting the hardboard, it looks similar to what's on the chairs currently. The plywood is much thicker than the current boards and would cause some difficulties in putting everything back together. The material is in the basement. It'll be a winter project.

Artem_F

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Re: Fine furniture repair - new boards for chair seats
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2021, 07:54:37 AM »
I would try to repair it even without reassembling/reupholstering - take your harboard or plywood, cut a new seat, take several dowel pins, a layer of fiberglass cloth and epoxy glue. Make holes for dowel pins both in the original seat and in the new one, put epoxy-soaked fiberglass cloth in between (dowel pins should be also covered with glue), hold it under weight for 1 day and the chair will outlast the other furniture in your home. When finished, cut the dowel pins that are sticking out, sand paper the surface and spray/paint with something protective. It sounds like it's a long process, but it is not :)


Sibley

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Re: Fine furniture repair - new boards for chair seats
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2021, 03:02:26 PM »
I would try to repair it even without reassembling/reupholstering - take your harboard or plywood, cut a new seat, take several dowel pins, a layer of fiberglass cloth and epoxy glue. Make holes for dowel pins both in the original seat and in the new one, put epoxy-soaked fiberglass cloth in between (dowel pins should be also covered with glue), hold it under weight for 1 day and the chair will outlast the other furniture in your home. When finished, cut the dowel pins that are sticking out, sand paper the surface and spray/paint with something protective. It sounds like it's a long process, but it is not :)

Um, no.

Have you ever heard the jokes about crafting costing massive amounts of time/money when you could buy the exact same thing for $2? Because that's what you're doing. Plus making it significantly harder to remove or replace the seat covers in future, and making me buy a bunch more supplies that I don't have.

It's not difficult. Unscrew the seat from the frame. Remove the staples holding the seat cover in place. Remove the padding, ie, more staples. Trace. Cut. Put new padding on, ie staples. Put seat cover back on, ie, more staples. Screw seat back onto frame. The padding is quilt batting. And while the covers are off, go ahead and wash them because you know the cats have thrown up on them. I already have the staple gun and staples, I probably have the quilt batting somewhere.

Just because something is the old way of doing it doesn't mean its bad.

Artem_F

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Re: Fine furniture repair - new boards for chair seats
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2021, 05:50:56 AM »
if nothing is glued, then you're right, it's easier to replace the board itself and it's the way the professional would do it.
But, my method is safer for the fabric and not that longer (compare the time needed for drilling 9 holes and mixing glue with unscrewing/re-stapling).
Re-stapling to a new board might go without wrinkles, but it might also go a bit wrong because the size is not exactly the same, the screws might not hold as well after the re-mounting etc. 

Sibley

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Re: Fine furniture repair - new boards for chair seats
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2021, 02:56:42 PM »
There's no glue. I put the covers on myself last time. I was just hoping to have to avoid doing it again.

Be careful that you don't fall into bad DIY. Even if there was glue, that doesn't excuse doing a bad job. It just changes the job. If you don't want to put the effort in to do it right, don't do it at all.