How to Fix Wooden Chair Joints? – A Very Useful Guide

Do you have a broken chair in the house that need some repair? We will discuss how to fix wooden chair joints so that you can easily fix them. After following the given steps, you will understand the anatomy of a wooden chair, how to disassemble and bring it back together.


  • Spreader clamp
  • Rubber mallet
  • Artist brush
  • Sandpaper
  • Wooden glue


Prepare the chair

Check the back of your wooden chair. Is it secure or lose? If the back is wobbly then it’s better to take out the legs first and then remove the support.

Put some padding on the work surface so that you can turn the chair upside down without damaging its surface. Label all the parts of your chair. For instance, for legs you can use tags like front left, front right, back left, and back right.

Similarly, label the chair’s spindles. Follow the similar way and mark them as top front left, bottom front left, top front right, bottom front right, and so on. The number of spindles varies according to the chair you want to repair. The labels will help you to put everything back without any confusion.

Take out the legs

Put the chair upside down on the work surface. Use a spreader clamp to remove the legs of the chair from its seat. Start with the front ones, especially if the back legs are attached at an angle. Sometimes you might need to use a rubber mallet to loosen the legs. If the clamp is unable to take out any of the legs, then hit it lightly using a mallet.

Take apart the spindles

Use the spreader clamp to disassemble the spindles from their respective attachments. If any of the joints are solid and not moving at all, then take the help of a vise. Put the wooden part inside the vise and slowly move or twist the spindle, so that it can pop out.

Disassemble the back

Depending upon the wooden chair, you can use a rubber mallet or driller to take out the back support.

Clean up the joints

Now you will deal with tenon and mortise. The round part goes into a hole is called a mortise. And the part that sets inside a mortise is tenon. It’s crucial to clean both parts to remove all the dirt and old glue. New adhesive will not work over the old glue or dust. So, it’s necessary to expose a fresh wooden surface wherein the adhesive can connect the joint.

You can clean the joints using sandpaper, but you can also utilize a file. The latter is faster, but do not remove too much wood. Otherwise, you will make the problem even worse. Choose between the sandpaper or file and clean all the tenons and mortises. Turn the sandpaper inside out to clean the mortises.

Apply glue to all the tenons and mortises

Start with the mortises. Pull some glue on all the mortises on the back and use an artist brush to coat their insides. Then, apply the adhesive on all the tenons of the backrest. Most of the woodworkers tend to put less amount of glue on the chairs, which generally result in a failed joint. Do not make such a mistake and spread the adhesive thoroughly wherever required.

Assemble the chair

Brings all the chair’s parts together. Connect all the tenons with their respective mortises and set up the chair. Install the back support first, then the legs and finally the spindles. Insert the front legs first and then the rear ones.

Once the chair is ready, stand it upright. Then clamp the chair’s joints and put something heavy on it so that the joints can settle. Without putting the pressure and weight, the chair might remain wobbly. Wait for up to 3 hours and your chair will be ready to use.


Final talk

We hope now you know how to fix wooden chair joints. When a furniture joint fails, it creates two problems; functional issues that are an immediate and long-term effect of the failure on the rest of the structure. A loose connection might not break the chair, but it will interfere with the functions of other joints. So, repair the wooden chair as soon as you notice the loose joint.



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