November 23, 2020

Fixing My Favorite Chair

I have been working for HOURS (literally about eight hours) on a blog post for gift ideas for the holidays, and I just can't get it done tonight. There is no way. So I'm just going to have to post it tomorrow (hopefully!).

I wish I had something great to write tonight, but because I've been working so hard on the other post, I'll just tell you a quick story about my orange arm chair. So interesting, I know! ;)

You may remember when I bought the orange chair--it was the first piece of furniture I bought for the house when I was remodeling. I found it on Facebook Marketplace and it was PERFECT. I loved it so much! Jerry and I made the drive about an hour or so away to buy it.

And a couple of weeks later, while looking for a couch, I happened to come across my arm chair's twin in couch-form. It was CRAZY how much they looked alike--they had the same fabric! I knew the couch was made in 1976, based on a receipt that was stapled to the inside of the couch; I wasn't sure about the chair, though.

Anyway, the chair remains my very favorite piece of furniture I've ever owned.

One day, when we were having a family movie night, Noah sat in the chair (he'd rather die than sit on the couch with me and his dad--*eyeroll*) and he turned sideways in it to drape his legs over one arm while his back was against the other arm. He pushed his feet too hard into the arm while he was adjusting himself, and I heard a loud crack. I was super upset! I couldn't believe it. The arm was loose on the chair and it had clearly been broken somehow.

I tried my best to figure out the problem by feeling around and poking here and there (even though the fabric was in the way). I just resorted to keeping the chair pretty much off limits because I didn't want it to get worse. But the chair was so comfortable that I couldn't just let it go to waste by sitting there, unused.

A couple of days ago, I finally got up the courage to bring it out to the garage and see if I could fix it. It was terrifying!

I'd bought a pneumatic stapler several months ago (after borrowing my brother's, I just had to have one of my own!) so I knew I could take the fabric off and be able to staple it back on. I really didn't want to do that, but I wanted to fix the chair.

So I went out to the garage and turned on my beloved true crime podcasts that I've gotten so far behind on and got to work. I used the staple remover that I bought when I decided to try to reupholster a couch (what a nightmare that turned out to be! Haha.) 

I began by removing the cambric fabric underneath the chair (the "dust cover"--I had to look up the word for what that piece of fabric was called). From there, I could see the "bones" of the underside of the chair. I didn't want to remove the orange fabric if I didn't have to.

I continuously moved the arm of the chair back and forth to try to figure out where the problem was. It wasn't obvious by looking at it. I knew I'd have to remove some of the orange fabric to get a better look. That's where it got really scary! I was SO worried I was going to ruin something and not be able to put it back together.

I removed staples all along the side of the broken arm and toward the back of the chair to open it up enough to see. I finally discovered the break in the wood that happened when Noah threw himself like the boy teenager he is across the chair. 

(Yes, you can clearly see the pet fur on the chair from this angle--I hadn't noticed it until I brought the chair out to the garage!)

I busted out my trusty Paslode trim nailer. (This was the first "real" tool that I bought by myself when I was DIY'ing the house! Got it for a steal on Facebook Marketplace.) I used the nailer--very liberally--to secure the pieces back together. 

And just for good measure, I placed a couple of screws AND I threw in a couple of L-brackets. That arm ain't goin' NOWHERE now!

Once I was sure that it was good and stuck in place, I began to replace the upholstery in the reverse order that I removed it. And surprisingly, it went very well! I had the chair back together in no time and now the arm is fixed. I'm thrilled to be able to use the chair without worry again :)


  1. Have you looked for any bedside units to up cycle? You have loads of great skills.

  2. I don't think it gets better when they're older because my husband just recently Hulk smashed our downstairs couch and broke the recliner on one side (insert eye roll emoji here, lol!). He is trying to fix it though! Haha. Great job on fixing the chair, it looks good as new!!

  3. Glad you were able to fix it! You did a great job. And hey, you got a project to work on! :) As a mom to four boys (three of whom are teenagers), I can confirm that sometimes they just don't know their own strength (especially as they're growing) and stuff breaks sometimes.

    And in our house, everybody likes to have their own seat while watching TV--I think that's a pretty normal thing.

  4. I am not sure why you doubt your skills -- you are SO handy, I would have zero doubt that you could fix it!!

  5. I'm always amazed at your ability to do this kind of stuff! WOW. I shouldn't be surprised after you did your whole garage, but still. Go you!

  6. Feels like we're sort of family even though we've never met, but my sweet uncle Ed died in Gundersen hospital from Covid. Every time I think of him I get so sad because he loved life and was so family oriented and always active. Hope we can stay healthy and try to enjoy holidays some how. This virus fuckin sucks.

  7. It looks fabulous! Isn't it nice to be able to fix something ourselves - especially when we love them so much and we know we can't find the same thing easily to replace it.

  8. I am **NOT** in the "you need to get a job" club!!!! I would NEVER, EVER say that to you. And your response to it really resonated with me... we ALL are going through things that others may never know about or comprehend.

    That said.... You are SOOOOOOOO great at wood working, and seem to really be uplifted by having projects to enjoy and help you keep anxiety etc at bay. I know you've said due to perfectionism etc... it would be difficult to sell items, as you would worry too much if they have any issues. I would like to just GENTLY encourage you to read some books that may help you past that perfectionism: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. The Artists Way. Maybe just completely baby step your way into finding some fun projects with your wood working tools that you could sell. Not as a career.... but just for your fun!! A hobby that reaches beyond your house- where you inevitably run out of projects at some point! Not so much for the $, but for the pleasure it brings you. No pressure... just a for fun thing. Sell cheap at first if that takes pressure off. Cat things, squirrel things, bird things.. I don't know. ??? I just feel like you've found a true passion and it would be great for you to maybe pursue it further in some fashion that is good for you and not creating stress and anxiety and taking the fun of it away. HOW -- I'm not sure.. I just keep seeing the joy of it for you and want you to have more of that!! YOU know what does and doesn't work for you best!! :) If this is the one millionth person to say something that won't work... sorry - just disregard!!!! Only wanting for you to "spark Joy"!

    Great job on the chair! So happy that you could fix it!

    1. I would absolutely by a squirrel picnic table from Katie if she made them!

  9. LOVED the stick figure recreation of the incident! Great job on the repair!


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