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Making New Pieces or Saving Old Ones

Curved Arm Before Repair

If a part breaks, save the pieces - even the splinters! The Chair Doctor can usually glue them back together with an almost-perfect appearance. Making new pieces can be expensive. It is much easier, better, and usually less expensive to glue something back together than it is to make a new piece. We figure at least an hour of our shop time ($65.00) for even fairly simple new pieces, although sometimes it is still less expensive to just make new parts. The absolute best thing is to bring it to us when it is loose and before it breaks so we can rebuild it. But if it does break, like we said, make sure to get all the splinters.

The picture here shows the arm of an antique chair that is broken. Actually, it's not just broken, it's shattered! It had been repaired several times previously with regular wood glue but it didn't hold. There were also missing pieces, and by the time we removed the glue the gaps were even worse.

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Curve arm break
Curved arm after repair

Curved Arm After Repair

The next picture shows the arm glued together with The Chair Doctor proprietary system, after sanding and shaping. Missing sections have been filled in with color close to the finished color. Some small metal rods were inserted to help strengthen the gaps. Many shops simply could not do this and have any confidence that it would hold together.

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Curved Arm After Repair Front View

As we said earlier, the arm had been repaired several times before, and that's why you can see some slightly areas where we had to fill in missing chunks. Those are the apparently darker areas (colored to try and match the finished version). It might've been better by some standards to make a new piece, except there are drawbacks with that such as time and money. In this case too it couldn't be cut and shaped that easily (like say for instance by a lathe) and the new wood wouldn't match the old. But by the time we got the broken one refinished and back on the chair, it was nearly perfect.

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Curved arm after repair front view
Curved chair arm after and installed

New Part for Sewing Machine Tray

This is an antique sewing machine tray after we made a new part and repaired it.

Top right is a close up of the left side of the drawer showing where we glued the original pieces of the left tray back together (we also had to reglue the entire drawer). The seam is visible only because it wasn't desired by the client to spend a great deal to hide it. Again, this is another project that you really have to want to do because the cost can easily exceed the value of the drawer. Top right is the new part we made (the holder for spools of thread). Bottom left is the entire tray, and bottom right is the drawer back in the cabinet we refinished.

Sometimes we'll send parts out to another shop we know of that likes to make new parts, and they have purchased the equipment to do it right and at a lower cost. Even with shipping back and forth, it is still less expensive for them to do it than for us to do it. This time we did it ourselves because the part had to be hand carved.


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Sewing machine tray repair
Broken chair legs before Chair Doctor repair

Broken Chair Leg Repair

The top left of the above picture series shows a break in the front of a back support on a chair (back leg), while the bottom left is after gluing and finishing. The top right shows the same break from the back, and the bottom right shows the back of the break after we were done working. In both bottom pictures (especially the left one) you can barely see the break. In the bottom right look real close and you might see a diagonal line a little darker than the rest of the finish. The seam would've been much harder to see if this leg had not been repaired before (material was removed then, and we had to remove the old glue and some of the material for the new repair).

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Missing Chunk Filled In

Sometimes we get a piece that is missing something. The nice thing about our glue is that we can also use it as a filler, colored to match the finish. The picture here shows the back of a dining chair that was missing one of the bottom corners. Can you tell which one? (No fair looking ahead!)

The missing corner was the one on the left. About a half-inch was broken off at sometime in the past, and the client didn't know where the piece was. I know, it's probably not fair that we're so good, but think what we can do for you!

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Missing piece filled in by The Chair Doctor
Oak Office Chair Leg Breaks

Antique Weathered White Oak Chair Repair

The pictures here show the back legs of an antique quarter-sawn white oak office chair. It had sat outside for a while and was weather-beaten and pretty broken up, as you can see. The top left picture shows the pieces after sanding but before any repair work was done. The top right picture shows the pieces after drilling for some threaded rod reinforcement, and with the threaded rod cut and inserted.

Below are pictures of the same two rear leg pieces after gluing and sanding. We had a choice to color the glue to match the wood or the finish, and since we didn't know what the finish was going to be, we opted for the color of the wood. Holes were drilled through the threaded rod for the screws that fasten the legs to the back of the seat.

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Antique Weathered White Oak Chair Refinish

This picture shows four views of the weathered antique white oak chair legs joints after repair, assembly and finishing. The pictures show a great deal more because they are close-ups with flash. From normal viewing height and in normal lighting they are nearly perfect. You can see this chair if you want because it is still used by us in our office. The client abandoned it without paying after finding out it was going to cost closer to $400.00 to complete instead of $300.00. In actuality, even at the higher level it was still a bargain considering the age and breakage and weathering.

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Oak Chair Weathered After
Rush chair top before repair by The Chair Doctor

Antique Rush Seat Rocker Back Repair Before

This chair was brought to us after a plumber had dropped a galvanized pipe on it. The client was fortunate that there wasn't more damage. Notice the right side back support is split severely, along with the obvious top rung of the ladder back broken in two places.

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Antique Rush Seat Rocker Back Repair After

This is the 'after' picture for the antique rocker ladder back rung. Not only were we able to make the breaks in the top of the ladder virtually disappear, we were also able to repair the side split. Next up is a pair of close ups of the split on the side.

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Ladder back chair
Rush rocker back support before repair
Antique rush rocker back support after
Curio cabinet leg repair four parts

Curio Cabinet Broken Leg Repair

This curio or china cabinet obviously has a very bad break above the right front leg (top pictures). There was one large piece (the leg with the jagged top) and two smaller pieces, but some pieces were missing. The leg had been repaired a number of times before, so had quite a bit of old glue and various screws and nails in and around the break, with a flat iron strip screwed underneath the edge and bent around the corner to hold it all.

We were concerned that even if glued with our glue the leg would still be somewhat weak, so we cut three 1/4" metal rods about 5" long and drilled holes down into the leg and up into the side of the cabinet to accommodate them. After gluing and shaping, grain lines were drawn through the glue areas and a background color was applied. The result (middle picture) isn't perfectly smooth because that would've required sanding and refinishing the entire side, which the client's budget wouldn't allow. It looks fine, though, standing back and looking at it in normal light. The lower picture shows the back and underside of the repair including the additional red oak block that was cut and shaped to provided additional support. Cost of this project was about $325.00 at the time. But the cabinet was as strong as every and could be loaded with weight.

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