DIY Q&A

How to tighten loose chair spindles

January 25, 2013 

Q: Our dining-room chairs have backs made of spindles that fit into sockets in the seats. Over the years the backs on several chairs have become loose and can be easily wiggled. If I pull hard on the back, the spindles will come part way out of the sockets, but not all the way. I don’t want to break anything or take the backs apart. How can I fix this? – Eve

Here is a technique that will work with many loose wood furniture parts, including legs and arms, if you can wiggle them out of their sockets far enough to expose some bare wood. With these spindles, you want to get bare wood on the ends where they fit into the sockets. You will need good woodworking glue like Titebond, a small artist’s brush to apply the glue, and, for best results, a rubber mallet. Wiggle the spindles out as far as you can without pulling them all the way.

Put a little glue on a piece of cardboard and brush it on just the bare wood at the ends of the spindles. Use only a thin film of glue, spread all the way around the spindle ends. Next, use the rubber mallet to force the spindles back into their sockets, tapping sharply on the upper panel of the chair back. If you don’t have a mallet, make a thick pad from a towel and tap with a block of wood, using the towel as a buffer. It is important to get the spindles firmly seated back in their sockets. Use a clean, damp rag to immediately wipe up any excess glue. Let the re-glued joints dry for at least 24 hours before using the chair.

If you can’t expose bare wood, you might be able to dribble a little Chair-Loc into the joint to tighten it. Chair-Loc is a liquid that causes wood to swell; it is sold at some home centers, hardware stores and online. Some Chair-Loc kits include a syringe to inject the liquid. If neither method works, you might have to disassemble the joints entirely to re-glue or inject glue into the joints with a hypodermic-like glue injector. If you disassemble joints, label each piece to be sure of getting it back into the same socket and scrape off old glue before re-gluing. If you would prefer to use glue injection, drill tiny holes into the wood to reach the joint with the injection needle. Glue injectors are available from Woodcraft ( woodcraft.com) and other online woodworking-suppliers. Prices start at about $5 for a simple injector. The needle holes are filled with a Blend-Fil wood-putty stick or other wood putty that matches the finish.

Repair chips in sink

Q: There are several chips in our bathroom sink, which is a beige color that matches the other fixtures. The fixtures were all made by American Standard. Is it possible to repair the sink and match the color? – T. Sharp

You should be able to get a rather close match for the beige color with a touch-up glaze product called Porc-a-Fix. Included in the Porc-a-Fix line is a color called fawn beige, used by American Standard for bath fixtures. Many home centers and hardware stores have sold Porc-a-Fix products for years and some might have that color in stock. If not, you can view the list of available colors by visiting fixture-fix.com.

The fawn beige package costs about $25.

Read the instructions for cleaning and preparing the chips before attempting the repair. If the chip is too deep to be filled with one coat of glaze, let the first coat dry and add another coat. Repeat the coats until the chipped area is flush with the surrounding surface. Give the repairs the final drying time specified in the instructions before using the sink.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Austin: gaus17@aol.com

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