How to repair a broken chair

How to repair a broken chair
If you’ve got an old chair that has broken apart, there’s no need to throw it away. You may be able to salvage your seat with just a few quick and easy repairs. And, let’s face it, we all need a few extra chairs for guests over the festive period!

Whether it’s a family heirloom like this one, or an old piece that you want to revamp with a new look, it’s possible to fix, reupholster and refinish it to create a unique piece that you’ll keep for many years to come.
You will need
  • Hand saw
  • Hammer, rubber mallet and pliers
  • Screwdrivers and wood screws
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Dowels or the handles of wooden spoons, cut down to use as dowels
  • Wood glue
  • Clamps
  • Replacement upholstery fabric and shears
  • Wire wool and furniture wax
Step 1

If any parts of your broken chair are still intact, now’s the time to take everything apart so that you can start again. If any of the joint dowels are snapped off or sticking out, use a hand saw to cut them off so that you’ve got flat ends to work with.

Step 2

To reattach the legs, make two marks on the ends of the frame where you’ve just sawn off the dowels, and two more marks that match up on the inside top of the leg pieces.

Step 3

Then use a drill bit that matches the size of your wooden dowels to drill holes where you have marked.

Step 4

Fill the holes on the inside top of the legs with wood glue and push a dowel into each hole. You can use a rubber mallet to tap them into the hole securely.

Step 5

Add wood glue into the holes on the frame and position the dowels on the leg piece into these holes. Push into place and use a rubber mallet to create a firm connection. Use a clamp or strap to hold the frame together while the wood glue dries.

Step 6

Once the glue is dry, you can reattach any corner blocks using wood screws to add stability. Then use wire wool to rub furniture wax into the wood to improve the appearance of any scratches and give the wood a nice lustre. Alternatively, you can refinish the frame with chalk paint or sand it back for a rustic look.

Step 7

To reupholster the seat pad, use pliers to remove the tacks from the underside and put them to one side to reuse later.

Step 8

Remove the existing fabric and use it as a template for your new fabric. You could use a similar replacement fabric or go for something completely different. Draw around the old piece to get the right shape for the chair and cut it out using fabric shears.

Step 9
Lay the seat pad onto the wrong side of the fabric and use the tacks to attach the new piece of fabric. Start by tacking the corners in place and then the centre of the sides, pulling the fabric taut as you add more tacks.

Step 10

Finish by folding the fabric over the front and back of the pad and tacking it securely in place. Replace the seat pad within the frame and enjoy your newly repaired chair.
 Project by and photography by

As with all our projects, please take care while using tools, materials and equipment and all projects on the Safestore blog must be completed at your own risk. We do not take responsibility for any harm or injury that may occur. Be safe!

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