You wake up to the sound of your chair slightly squeaking. You groggily get out of bed and plop down in the wobbly chair, and it starts to squeak again. This is going to be a long day.
Wobbly chairs may only be a small inconvenience, but the frustration caused by the wobble will slowly eat away at your patience and sanity.
Reasons the Chair is Wobbly:
1. The feet are uneven
2. One or more of the feet are missing screws/washers
Materials and Tools You Need
- A wobbly chair;
- A hammer, rubber mallet, or a dead blow hammer
- A rope or a strap with a ratchet clamp
- Electric screwdriver
- A drill
- Drill bits
- Wood glue
- Pencil or marker pen
- Masking tape
- Sanding paper or a scraper
- A rag
- Small paintbrush
- Screws or small nails.
How to Repair a Wobbly Chair
Label each of the parts of the chair:
Table your chair and take a moment to note the different components. Mark each component by labeling them with a letter from A-Z so you can follow along as we explain how to fix a wobbly chair.
Identify what is causing the wobble
Wobbling chairs tend to either have an issue with one of their four legs or the chair’s hardware. Identify which component is causing your wobbly chair and become fixated on that section of the tutorial.
Carefully take the chair apart
Take apart the chair piece by piece. Place the screws, washers, and other small parts in a safe place where they will not get lost. Put all of the bigger pieces together so you know how to reassemble them later.
With your multi-screwdriver (preferably one with interchangeable bits), use a Phillips head bit and a flathead bit to remove the screws from the chair.
With your plyers, gently tug out any parts that are inside of a joint or under a cap/bumper. You should pull these pieces straight out so as not to damage them.
Wipe down all of the put-together pieces with an oily cloth to remove any gunk that may be present.
Clean the old joints
Use a wire brush attachment on your drill to clean out any old joint pieces that may still be stuck inside of the joints of the chair. If you do not have an electric drill, use plyers and twist them as if you were trying to break apart a piece stuck in the joint.
Remove any caps/bumpers/locking washers
Remove any caps/bumpers that are present by using your pliers to pry them out. You could also use a flathead screwdriver, but this is riskier because you could slip and mar the surface of the furniture piece.
Use your drill to remove locks washers if they are still present inside the joint – these will be metal pieces with a series of teeth on the outside.
Put it all back together
Once you have fixed the wobbly legs, it’s time to put everything back together. Put the screws back in the legs and tighten them down so you have a nice, sturdy chair once more. If your chair has rubber pads on the bottom of its legs, replace them when you are done putting everything back together to maintain stability and prevent scratching of any kind.
If you have a wobbly chair, don’t reach for the screwdriver right away – there is no need to become frustrated and angry over something so simple! Fixing a wobbly chair can be done through means of lubrication, tightening bolts, or replacing loose joints depending on the severity of the wobble. Our step-by-step guide will show you how to fix a wobbly chair in no time.
Apply the new glue
Once you have your paint stirrer ready, apply a thin layer of glue to the bottom of the chair. Be very generous with this step, especially if the joint is wood because it will ensure that your joint never becomes wobbly again.
Allow for drying for between 1-2 minutes
Give the glue around 1 minute to dry before attempting to use the chair and no more than 2 minutes. The glue should become a white color once it has dried – a sign that it is dry enough to use your chair!
Return the chair back to its correct position
Once you have let the glue set for at least 1 minute, return your chair back to its original position before you began re-repairing it. Adjust the screws or bolts if needed, and make sure your chair is sturdy once more before you sit on it. If your chair becomes wobbly again at any point, simply follow these steps once more to permanently fix your wobbly chair!
How do I Fix a Wobbly Chair Legs?
Rather than following the urge to smash the chair and throw its mangled remains in the trash, follow our step-by-step guide to repairing all of your wobbly chairs in your life.
Step 1: Check the feet: The first step is to determine how your chairs are behaving and what could be causing them to wobble. If this is your problem, then fixing the foot should do the trick.
Look at each of your feet. Are they uneven? Or are one or more of the missing screws or washers?
Step 2: Tighten the feet: If your chairs are only wobbling because the feet aren’t tight, then this step should stop it really quickly. Simply tighten each foot with a wrench until they are no longer loose.
Do not over-tighten! The foot should still be able to slightly turn. If the foot no longer turns, it is too tight.
NOTE: On some chairs, the feet are attached on an incline so they can tilt inward or outward. When tightening these, point them outwards instead of inwards to avoid tilting the chair.
Step 3: Add screws or washers: If the feet are fine, but they lack screws or washers, then you can add your own. This is a pretty easy step that requires the most tools of the entire process.
Get a screw and a washer. If you don’t have any spares around, get new ones from another chair or buy them at a hardware store.
Turn the chair over and place the washer on each of the four feet, then insert your screw in each hole and tighten it. The chair should no longer be wobbly.
Step 4: Check for damage or wear and tear: If none of these seem to be the problem, then you will need to inspect the chair. Check it for damage like screws that are missing, broken feet, and other things that may be causing the wobble.
Also, check to see how worn out the legs of the chair are. If they’re very worn down, you will need to replace them in order to get your chair in working condition again.
NOTE: If you need to replace any of the chair’s legs, refer to our article on removing and replacing a chair leg for tips!
Step 5: Replace the chair if you can’t fix it: If there is no way to fix your wobbly chair, then it needs to be replaced. Get a new one or make do with another chair if you can’t get a replacement.
If you really like the chair and it isn’t wobbly but is missing some screws or washers, then we suggest keeping it as it is! It’s still useable and has fewer problems than chairs that are wobbly.
When working with wood, remember that you must never leave a screw too loose or it will fall out, but you must never leave a screw too tight, or it could crack the wood. This is especially important on chairs with lots of points of contact between the legs and the seat. If you tighten one leg’s screws more than another you end up putting more pressure on that leg causing warping even more. Each time you work with a piece of wood, drill a pilot hole just deep enough that the threads catch all the fibers. Scrape away any loose material. If you’ve ever seen a screw in a tree stump, you can understand how this works.
Wrapping Up: How To Fix A Wobbly Chair Legs
Wobbly chairs can be incredibly frustrating, but by following our step-by-step instructions you will be able to fix all of the wobbly chairs in your home. It may take quite a bit of fiddling with them, but soon enough they will become stable again and you won’t have to worry about anyone getting hurt while sitting in them.