Sunday, 9 August 2015

Garden chair fix...

Sometimes it's worth looking in what I call the 'sin bins' in your local diy shops, most places have them, and most of the time it'll just be random off cuts from where they've cut large sheets of material for people, but every now and then you might find some thing a little more interesting.

Like this -

It's a garden chair.
Yes we found a garden chair like the ones that come in sets with a table and umbrella, in this picture it doesn't look too bad, but it was damaged in a couple of places, and to be honest I wouldn't have taken it if it weren't for the table base that was with it.

This table base - 

Perfect for patching up the chair.
Two of the chair legs were broken, one not as bad as the other, but because we also had the table base, which was also broken we had the perfect material for repairing the chair.

The damage - 

Easy enough to fix.
More damage - 

This is a little more problematic to repair.
I decided that although the legs from the table were longer, they were also the best bet for fixing each leg, so I took the table base apart.

The table legs had a fixing point at the top that matched the chair, it was just a matter of adding the right holes in the right places.

I fixed the old chair leg to the table leg, so that I could get things lined up.

Like so - 

The long groove holds a pin that allows the chair to fold up.
Then using a drill bit with a depth guide on it I drilled out the groove, I didn't bother with the mortises, just the groove for the pin that allows the chair to fold up.

Drilling out the groove - 

I could have used the depth guide on the post drill.

Groove drilled out - 

Ready for the router.

Next I used my router with a straight bit that matched the hole size I'd drilled to tidy the groove up, I could have skipped the drilling and just used the router, but I wanted to make sure the groove was in the right place.

Groove done - 

Spot the problem.

As you can see there was a small problem, that being one of the fixing points on the table leg, and as there's a pin that slides up and down the groove I had to plug the hole to stop the pin from catching, this isn't a difficult thing to do, all you need is a plug cutter, a bit of wood that matches and some glue.

Unfortunately my plug cutters are a bit old, and probably in need of a sharpen, so they tend to burn the wood, it wasn't until after I'd finished the whole chair it struck me that I could have just used my lathe to make some plugs.

Cutting plugs ( it got a bit smoky) - 

Time for a new set of cutters perhaps ?

Once I'd cut a plug or two (I cut them from the old chair legs) I then used them to fill the gaps.

Plug in place - 

Just needs sanding.

Plug sanded - 

The down side of old plug cutters.

Because the wood got burned when I cut the plugs I was left with a dark ring around each plug, but because you won't see where the plugs are I wasn't too worried.

There were a couple of other holes to fill, but in the end once I'd cut the extra off the new legs I had two pretty good replacements.

New legs - 

They do the job nicely.

The last job was to fix the bar back onto the legs to stop them coming apart which would have meant the pins sliding out of the grooves every time the chair was folded.

For this I just cut the broken tenon of the bar, and used a couple of wood screws on each side to hold it in place, and again I plugged the holes.

New bar screwed in place - 

Now to fill the holes.

More plugs cut and fitted into place - 

They don't stand out too badly.

And that was it, a garden chair that probably would have ended up as fire wood given a new lease on life, looks even better now it's had a sand and a generous coat of tung oil.

Good as new - 

And comfy too.

So it's worth looking in the 'sin bin' once in a while, even if you don't find a chair sometimes there's useful bits of wood, I recently found a small piece of plywood that's going to be ideal for a cupboard repair I have to do.

Thanks for reading.


  1. Great post. I'm assuming that the sin bin goods were free or was there a nominal price tag? It is amazing what some shops throw away, not only do I recuperate un-treated wood pallets but occassionally the same shops throw out 'damaged' goods or old display shelving, the latter has plenty of re-useable fasteners and may also be made of useful steel section.
    Really good tip for preparing the slot prior to using the router and clever to see that the table base was the ideal source for the repair material.
    Cheers from France,

    1. Thanks, the sin bins are usually free, some times they charge 50 pence for a bit of scrap wood, which isn't too bad.