​Furniture fixes you can do yourself

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
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It’s sad, yet true: furniture is built for comfort, not forever. That trusty side table, your fluffy couch… they are meant for here and now, not to be enjoyed by countless generations after you. 

But let’s focus on the positive. One little scratch or loose table leg does not mean that your relationship with your furniture has to end. Wobbly chairs, broken stretchers, and busted handles are all common sights in the average home. And while many people choose to oversee these small mishaps (“let’s add a tablecloth to cover that scratch”), others are brave enough to try and fix these faults themselves, even if they’re not quite sure how to do it. 

That’s where homify comes in. We understand that you have a bond with your favourite chair or that antique dresser, and if presented with the choice of remedying the situation or just waiting for the next model to come out, you’d rather stick with what you’ve got.  

So, in the spirit of DIY (or phoning up a friend who’s handy around the house), let’s see some tried-and-true techniques for simple furniture fixes.

Broken chair rungs

Dining Room, Old Police Station Harrogate - Showhouse: classic Dining room by Rachel McLane Ltd
Rachel McLane Ltd

Dining Room, Old Police Station Harrogate—Showhouse

Rachel McLane Ltd

Years and years of being pushed, pulled and sat on will take its toll on anybody. Your dining room chair is no exception. So don’t be surprised should you notice some wooden joints starting to come loose.

The first casualties are usually rungs popping out of the chair legs. And seeing as a lot of new furniture is not constructed as solidly as the older models, this is happening more frequently.

Those loose rungs need to be re-glued, and you’re just the person for the job! First, remove the old glue. Sand the end of the rung clean down to the wood, then use a syringe to insert wood glue into the opening in the leg. A syringe lets you get the glue right where it's needed without having to completely remove the rung.

Next, insert the rung and clamp the chair tight until the glue is dry. You may need to refrain from using that chair for an entire day, but won’t a little waiting be worth it?

Wobbly chairs

Few things are more unnerving than feeling the earth move under your feet, which is why almost nobody above the age of five is fond of sitting on a wobbly chair. So, what are our options?

If gluing loose rungs and tightening the hardware doesn't work, then add right-angle corner braces. A four-pack of braces can be purchased at hardware shops and home improvement stores, usually at a very cost-effective price. 

If you’d like to paint the braces to match your chair, ask for the paintable kind. 

Add a brace where each leg meets the seat. You may have to bend the brace a little so it's flush against the chair leg—you don't want a gap between the brace and the leg. To keep the wood from splitting, be sure to drill pilot holes before inserting the screws through the brace.

Loose table legs

Extendable dining table made of wood Shining: modern Dining room by Viadurini.co.uk
Viadurini.co.uk

Extendable dining table made of wood Shining

Viadurini.co.uk

It’s easier to just drag that piece of furniture instead of picking it up to move it, right? But doing that puts a lot of pressure on that furniture leg, and may cause it to come off. And while some people think that driving several more screws through the furniture is the answer, they are actually worsening it, as that causes the wood to split. 

So, to prevent that depressing scenario, rather sand the part of the leg that faces the furniture to allow the glue to form a stronger bond. Then apply wood glue and clamp the leg firmly in place. 

Fasteners also have to be used. Pre-drill to keep the wood from splitting, then drive in two screws to give you at least 5 cm of bite into the leg. Countersink the screws, fill the holes with wood filler, sand the area smooth, and then finally apply a finish.

On homify, we are anything but average. That’s why we present to you these: Daring & Different Tables. Have a look!

Broken drawer corners

Annecy Hand painted Bedroom Furniture: classic Bedroom by Corndell Quality Furniture
Corndell Quality Furniture

Annecy Hand painted Bedroom Furniture

Corndell Quality Furniture

Dressers are designed to sit quietly in a room while storing stuff and looking pretty. They are not intended for roughhousing. That is why dresser drawers are usually made of thin, flimsy pieces of timber, and dovetail corners are notorious for coming apart. 

But don’t think about pinning those corners together with nails. The wood is usually too thin to withstand nails, and pinning it cracks or breaks the wood, making it even harder for the joints to go together. In addition, those nails might end up breaking through the wood at an angle and poke into your drawer.  

The best remedy here would be to start removing any nails from the corners. Then gently continue taking the corner apart, while sanding away any remaining old glue. 

Apply wood glue, reassemble the corner, and clamp the drawer until the glue dries. If the drawer is struggling to open or close, apply beeswax along the bottom rail to help it glide.

Busted handles

Bonsoni Camelford Nightstand Three Drawer - Painted Pine and Ash Furniture: modern Bedroom by Bonsoni.com
Bonsoni.com

Bonsoni Camelford Nightstand Three Drawer—Painted Pine and Ash Furniture

Bonsoni.com

Once the screw holes in wooden handles are stripped, you will not be able to tighten that handle regardless of how hard you try. The best idea would be to fill the holes with wood putty so that the screws have something to bit into.

But make sure the label on the putty states that it’s drillable. Drillable and non-drillable differ considerably, and you do not want to attempt drilling into the one that won’t take well to it. 

Once the putty is dry, drill a pilot hole and reattach the handle using a screw. But don't use a nail as it won't hold the way a screw does.

Need a carpenter? How about a floorer, painter, or plumber? We have them all (and more) right here on homify!

Scratches

Want to get rid of those pesky scratches on your prime surfaces? Don’t even consider wood markers or fillers to fill in those scratches. The process involves a lot of trial and error to get the correct match, and despite all the available choices, it is almost impossible to perfectly match the colour. 

Rather opt for a paste finishing wax. Use a clear wax or one that closely resembles the colour of the furniture. This allows you to buff out minor scratches and make the surface smooth without having to worry about colour matching. 

While it’s certainly handy to repair furniture yourself, it’s even better to prevent the need for such repairs in the first place by taking good care of your possessions. Think about that the next time you drag that poor dining chair across the floor.

We hope our tips will help you save some of your favourite furniture pieces! What other DIY tips do you have to share with us?
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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