How to Repair Wood Swivel Chairs

Written by linda stamberger
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How to Repair Wood Swivel Chairs
Repair a wood swivel chair. (office chair image by Paul Moore from

Wood swivel chairs are prone to surface nicks, chips and breaks, especially if antique, which they frequently are. A wooden swivel chair may develop cracks or breaks in the legs over time, and the swivel mechanism may get stuck, which means getting the chair a replacement part.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Old newspaper
  • Plastic disposable gloves
  • 320-grit and 150-grit sandpaper
  • Paint brush
  • Wood filler
  • Wood glue
  • 1/8th-inch dowel
  • 2-inch round wire nail
  • Hand saw
  • Hammer
  • Drill
  • Wood epoxy glue
  • Clamp
  • Clean rag
  • Screwdriver
  • Swivel
  • Pry bar
  • Hammer
  • New clips
  • Soft-edged mallet

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  1. 1

    Spread old newspaper over the floor to protect it from wood dust and place the swivel chair on it. Put on plastic disposable gloves. Take 320-grit sandpaper and sand the surface of the wood lightly, in the direction of the grain. Sand rough or raised areas, and remove wood dust with a paint brush.

  2. 2

    Fill in gouges, hairline cracks or splits in the wood with wood filler. Glue down lifted pieces of wood with wood glue. Hold in place, and let both filler and wood glue dry overnight. Sand the glued areas lightly with 150-grit sandpaper. Do not over-sand: do it just enough to remove excessive glue residue and even out the grain.

  3. 3

    Repair broken swivel chair legs. Use a 1/8th-inch dowel to fasten the broken pieces together. Take a 2-inch round wire nail and cut off the end with a hand saw. Hammer the nail halfway into the centre of the chair leg. Take the opposite broken part and press into the nail. Pull apart, take nail out, and drill half an inch down.

  4. 4

    Drill a second half an inch into the opposite broken piece. Sand the dowel down with 150-grit sandpaper so that it fits into the hole on the opposite piece. Insert dowel into the hole, and fill in with wood epoxy glue.

  5. 5

    Press the pieces of the leg together, hold for a few seconds, then clamp in place. Remove excess glue with a clean rag before clamping. Leave the clamp on overnight, and remove the next day. Sand the surface of the break with the sandpaper and remove wood dust.

  1. 1

    Turn the chair onto its side. Push the lock system and unhook the base. If the pushing doesn't work, unscrew the base. Twist off the broken swivel. Use a pry bar if necessary to get it to come off.

  2. 2

    Take a hammer and insert a screwdriver into the base section where the clips are. Remove the clips, and any old clips remaining in other sections. Replace old clips with new clips by twisting them into where the old clips were.

  3. 3

    Lightly hit the swivel clips so that they lock into place. Use a soft-edged mallet to do this so that the clips do not break or split when hit. Place the new swivel onto the clips. Move the swivel so that it rotates completely around with ease. Lastly, put the base of the chair on top of the new swivel.

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