Mid-Century Modern Chair Repair

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Blog entry by Doug posted 02-22-2021 02:50 AM 261 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hello everyone. Is everyone doing well? May it be the case.

No poetry this time. I promise!

I was called upon to do a MCM chair repair not long ago. If you subscribe to my YouTube channel then you will already be familiar with this repair. It was by no means a difficult job but I just thought that I would share my methods with you.

This MCM chair was made by the Lenoir Chair Company for the Broyhill Furniture Company in the 1960s. One source that I looked at listed a set of six dining room chairs at $2,495.00. That’s todays price for an original set of six chairs. The chair that I repaired did not have it’s original upholstery and along with the other five would still bring in $600.00.

Here is an example of an original chair

The repair involved regluing the seat and front leg portion of the chair to the back leg assembly. Here you can see how they are separating.

Once I separated the two portions of the chair I removed any pin nails that I found.

Once this was done I then turned my attention to scraping away the old dried glue by a variety of means. A card scraper and an old chisel mainly.

In this picture you can see that I am removing any glue that remains in the bottom of the dowel holes. I used a 3/8” forstner bit. It did a good job.

Once all the glue had been removed from the back leg assembly I started on the seat corner brackets. As with the back I began using a card scraper and a chisel but this wasn’t getting the job done. So, I turned to the most unlikely tool – a mini spoke shave. This small spoke shave worked out great.

As is often the case, no project goes perfectly. In the process of removing the glue with the chisel I chipped one of the seat brackets. Here I am gluing it back in.

To remove the glue on the ends of the seat rails I used a corner chisel and a 3/8” chisel.

I don’t know why I did not see this before, but when I did a dry fit of the chair I noticed these huge gaps in between the seat brackets and the back of the chair.

I spoke to the client and he said that I should leave the gaps and continue with the repair. This, in turn, led to the glue up. But first I had to place tape in all the places where glue was likely to run.

Now the glue can be applied and everything can be band clamped together.

After everything was secure I replaced any screws that were missing from the chair. I replaced them with new flat slotted screws. I would have rather used old screws but didn’t have any.

With everything dried and any remaining glue cleaned up I reattached the seat.

And with that the chair is finished.

The video I posted on YouTube shows the process from start to finish. Check it out.

While you’re there be sure to check out my other woodworking videos. Also, do be sure to LIKE and SUBSCRIBE!

Let me know if you found this to be helpful.

Take care everyone!

-- Doug

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