How to Repair the Broken Leg of an Old Chair

When a chair leg breaks, it is a serious problem; let's see how to make it as good as new.

The broken leg of an old chair

When a chair leg breaks, the repair cannot rely on simply gluing the two (or more) parts together because glue alone would not give us the hold needed to support a person's weight.

Of course, the way to try to fix the chair leg varies greatly depending on the type of breakage, but let's see how to take action on the most common situations.

Horizontally broken chair leg

Using a drill fitted with a wood bit, drill a hole in each of the two pieces of the leg to be rejoined.

It is very important that the two holes be aligned as closely as possible so that the pin that will be inserted into them will ensure maximum stability.

The diameter of the hole should be according to that of the chair leg.

In doing this operation, therefore, take care to match the two drilling points as closely as possible, but do not forget that at the time of joining one of the two holes may be ovalized so as to obtain a perfect fit of the two parts to be joined.

Then make from a piece of hard wood a cylindrical-shaped ankle or, to make things easier, buy a pin or dowel that you will then reduce to the necessary size.

The total height of the pin should be equal to the depth of the two holes added together but will have a slightly smaller diameter than the holes.

Sprinkle the wooden dowel with glue and stick it into one of the two pieces of the leg to be joined.

Then spread glue on the edges of the split, which should match perfectly.

Finally, arrange the other leg piece on the protruding part of the wooden plug and make sure the joint is perfect and clamp the pieces together with clamps.

Depending on the glue used let it dry 12 to 24 hours (vinyl wood glue is recommended).

All that is left now is to remove glue smears with a file or sandpaper and, if necessary, paint or wax.

Chair leg broken obliquely

Where the split occurred glue the pieces of the leg to be jointed and then clamp them together with clamps and let them dry twelve to twenty-four hours.

At the widest point of the split, and perpendicular to the leg, drill two holes and spread some wood glue.

Insert two dowels or pins into the holes, also sprinkled with wood glue.

The wooden dowels, preferably smooth, should be the same diameter as the holes.

Once the glue has cured cut the dowels flush with the wood of the leg, then file and paint.

Broken chair leg causes woodworms

Woodworm galleries eventually weaken the wood making old chairs much more prone to breakage.

Before gluing, as described above, it is therefore a good idea to try to strengthen the weakened wood.

You can make a moth-eaten leg solid by using a special glue of natural origin or consolidants of a synthetic nature.

The glue is applied with a spatula without any particular difficulty.

Make the glue penetrate perfectly into the holes in the wood to increase the strength of the weakened part of the chair.

Let it dry and then make smooth with very fine sandpaper.

Repaint or repaint the treated part.

How to fix a limping table or chair

Having a limping chair or table can be very annoying. Sometimes we make do with impromptu methods such as putting a piece of cardboard under the shortest part of the piece of furniture to "even it out" but, of course, it is a precarious and entirely temporary solution.

If you want to solve the problem permanently you can only take some time and do a workmanlike job otherwise resort to the temporary solution to stabilize a piece of furniture.

There are two alternatives:

  1. Shorten the longer legs to bring them to the level of the shorter one;
  2. Add a shim to the shorter leg to bring it to the level of the longer one.

If there is a small difference in height (max. 1 centimeter) we can consider shortening the longer legs. This also has a certain aesthetic advantage since, when the work is finished, you will hardly notice the surgery. Adopting this solution, calculate exactly the material to be removed and proceed gradually, making tests from time to time to check the success of the intervention.

In case we want to add a thickness under the shorter leg, we should try to recover a piece of wood of the same essence as the furniture or chair, shape it properly and then fix it in place first with glue and later also with a flat-head screw that will have to be sunk just enough into the wood to avoid unpleasant scratches on the floor.

If the thickness we have chosen is unfinished wood, we will not be able to dispense with a final touch, which will consist of painting it the same color as the furniture so that the addition is as inconspicuous as possible.