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How to repair a broken chair leg

Is your favourite chair suffering from a broken leg? Don’t worry, you don’t need to get rid. Instead, here’s how to repair a broken chair leg quickly and easily.

Before you take your broken chair to the tip, hold fire! Repairing a broken leg isn’t difficult and could add years to the lifespan of your chair. Whether your chair is a family heirloom or a more recent purchase, here’s how to repair a broken chair leg so you can enjoy using it long into the future.

How to fix a broken chair leg

You don’t need to be a DIY pro to fix a broken chair leg. Just follow these simple steps.

1. Assess the damage

First things first, take a good look at your chair and make a note of everything that needs mending. There might be more than one issue, in which case it’s best to fix everything at once – especially if you’re planning to repaint it. You don’t want to be making further repairs once the transformation is complete!

2. Apply wood glue

Next, apply wood glue to the area where the chair leg has broken.

If the break is on a joint, you might need to scrape off any old glue first. This is because new glue won’t usually stick well to old glue. Use a utility knife and then, if you’re able to get into the space, follow up with a piece of sandpaper to get rid of any glue that remains.

3. Secure the broken pieces

Now that you’ve applied the wood glue, you’ll need to hold together the two broken pieces of chair leg while it sets.

You can use a clamp or simply tie a wire over the break. Use pliers to tighten the wire so that it’s holding the pieces in place securely.

4. Wipe off the excess glue

Wipe off any excess glue using a rag or cloth.

5. Insert a screw

Now, it’s time to connect the broken pieces by driving a screw through them.

For a neat finish, we’d recommend you drill a countersink (making sure it’s deep enough to leave room for the screw head and some wood filler over the top). Then, use a narrow drill bit to make a pilot hole, and finally insert the screw itself.

6. Leave the glue to cure

Set your project aside while the glue cures. Ideally, you should wait for 24 hours, although the recommended drying time may vary based on the glue – read the packaging to be sure.

7. Add wood filler

Finally, if you chose to countersink your screw, you can hide the screw head by applying wood filler over it. Go slightly over the countersink so that you can sand it down to a flush finish.

Once the wood filler is dry (after at least 30 minutes), sand the area over the screw head so that it’s flush and voila! Your chair is ready to be painted or stained.

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How to fix a broken screw in a chair leg

Is a screw in your chair leg endlessly turning or coming straight out of its hole? In that case, the issue will usually be to do with the screw hole, rather than the screw itself.

A stripped screw hole is when the wood between a screw’s threads gets worn away so that the screw no longer has anything to grip. It can happen for a number of reasons, such as over-screwing, expecting the screw to carry too much weight, or even changes in weather.

The easiest way to deal with a stripped screw hole is to switch your existing screw for a longer or wider one. This will allow the screw to get more grip. However, this might not always be ideal on something as thin as a chair leg – so, your other option is to fix the stripped screw hole itself.

Luckily, fixing a stripped screw hole in a chair leg is easy!

1. Find some small bits of wood

Firstly, you’ll need to get hold of some very small bits of wood – something like matchsticks or toothpicks – which you’ll use to pack into the screw hole. Insert them into the screw hole and experiment with how many you need to fill it out.

2. Add wood glue

Next, you’ll need to add some wood glue. Either add a couple of drops to the stripped screw hole or cover the toothpicks or matchsticks that you’re going to be using.

3. Jam the bits of wood into the screw hole

You’ll now need to jam the matchsticks or toothpicks (or whatever you’ve chosen to use!) into the screw hole. Make sure that they fit tightly, but be careful if the wood of your chair leg looks like it could split.

4. Snap off the ends

The ends of your matchsticks or toothpicks will probably be sticking out of the hole at this point. Break them off so that the material is as flush with the surface of your chair leg as you can get.

5. Wait for the glue to dry

Wipe off any excess glue using a rag or cloth, and let the rest of the wood glue dry and set.

6. Sand it down

Now that the glue is dry, you can sand down the area over the screw hole, so that it’s absolutely flush with the rest of the chair leg.

7. Insert the screw

Finally, it’s time to get your screw back into the repaired hole. Using a drill or a screwdriver, drive the screw directly into the filler.

And that’s it – you’ve fixed the broken screw in your chair leg!

Get a professional to repair your broken chair leg

It’s possible to fix your broken chair leg yourself, but hiring a professional furniture restorer means you’ll have the best results. Not only will they have all the tools and materials they need, but they’ll also be experienced in dealing with a range of different breaks and issues.

Take a look at our furniture repair cost guide to see some average costs to help you budget.

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