Chair Repair -- Warning: Ugly!


Many of you build wonderful, beautiful things of wood. I also have constructed some things I think are good enough to be in the living room, but what I find myself building the most is quick, slap-together projects that last for years and years. ;-)
Here's a sample. This is SWMBO proofreading a presentation for me about three months ago. http://www.markjerde.com/Proofreader -(Large).jpg
The repair to my nice chair has got to be one of the ugliest repairs on planet earth, but it works well. ;-) Background: I write software for a living and spend many long days in the chair at the computer. I bought the chair about 10 years ago for over $600. It's comfortable enough for my 6'2", 250+ lbs that even during a 12+ hour day of work at the computer I never once think of my back or my butt. It's very comfortable. Late last summer I leaned back in the chair and the connection between the left arm and the back of the chair snapped. I very nearly fell out of the back but fortunately got ahold of something and got upright without snapping the back of the chair completely off. I put the chair in the shop for a couple weeks, thinking about how to fix it, and used a cheapo $200 Staples chair in the interim. My back and my butt did not approve of the change. ;-) I couldn't think of any nice-looking way to repair the chair because the wood in the back where the arms attach is shot. There's nothing there to screw to.
My parents were children in the hard times of the 1930's and I "inherited" their hate of waste. ;-) I didn't want to toss this chair and spend $1k on a replacement if I could help it. I made it 2/3rds of the way to a mechanical engineering degree before switching to computer science so I do know just a little about design & the strength of things. Before the arm broke away from the back I had put braces between the bottom and the back, below the arm, but that didn't help much. The moments were against them. I realized what I needed was something tall and strong, "locking" the back to the seat as it were.
Ergo the repair. Each side has 3/4" plywood cut to fit under the arms and match the back. The plywood sticks out behind the chair so there is plenty of material to resist breaking. Genuine 2 1/2" McFeely's square drive screws attach to all the wood in the back and the base where it's available. The chair has felt very solid for several months. I feel like I saved $1k. ;-)
Several other of my projects are visible in this picture.
- In 2001 the weight of the monitors broke the presswood top. http://www.markjerde.com/8-screens -(Large).jpg The replacement I made is birch plywood, edge banded, finished, and reinforced on the bottom. It's worked fine since 2001.
- The two monitors to the right of the 21" monitor in the middle are on a shelf that centers the 19" monitor on the 21" monitor to its left.
- The frequently-listened-to music CDs and speakers are on a shelf above the 21" monitor in the middle. I built it several years ago, and legs on the back keep the shelf level and don't interfere with the air flow through the monitor.
- Look carefully at the shelf on which the red XSLT book is on and you'll see I converted a 5-shelf bookcase into a 6-shelf bookcase. ;-)
- The 19" monitor to the left of the center 21" monitor has an LCD monitor on top of it. Like the CD shelf on the center monitor this LCD shelf has legs in the back that don't interfere with the airflow through the monitor.
- The LCD monitor above the laptop is on a riser I constructed to put the LCD monitor exactly above the laptop.
(Violins playing) Someday I'll have the time and space to build beautiful things. But I am glad to have a shop to build useful, if ugly, things.
-- Mark
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That Johnson guy on TV is your idle....Right?
Jim, laughing in KY

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Woodhead wrote:

Jim -- I assume by "idle" you meant "idol", right?
Pardon me but I don't watch hardly any TV other than pro football and the NBA finals. From 1982 to 1990 I didn't even own an "idiot box." Who is this "Johnson guy" you mention?
I have built many things I'm proud of. Here's a printer stand I built of oak and oak plywood to my wife's specifications. http://www.markjerde.com/HPLJ3P%20Stand -(Medium).jpg
The point of my post was that I enjoy quickly making useful things even if they don't get shellaced. I also enjoy using my tools to repair things that 998 people out of 1000 would have to throw in the trash. If you'll send me $1000 I'll gladly replace my programming chair. ;-) I have much better uses for my $1000 than replacing something I can fix for just a few $ so it works for years.
-- Mark
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Mark Jerde wrote:

Let me give another example. We moved into this house in 1993. It was built in the 1960's. Heating and plumbing have changed a lot since 1963. ;-)
The drain from the laundry room is a simple 1.5" copper pipe, and it is very pinched where it goes into the concrete floor. This caused many problems. If the washing machine was directly connected to the pipe it siphoned out the water during the wash. If there was an air gap water sprayed everywere. (The washer that was in the laundry room when we bought the house was so low-powered the constriction never bothered it.)
The "official" solution was to jackhammer the floor and put in modern plumbing up to the current code. I didn't feel like spending over $15,000.00 so I tried alternatives. It took several prototypes (that *did* *not* work) but for the past about 8 years there is a "surge tank" on the wall in the laundry room that takes all the water the washer can put out, and puts it in the drain at a rate the collapsed pipe can handle.
It took a couple more years to come up with a lint filter that works year after year, but now we have something that only needs changing about once a year.
I have a workable solution that cost less than 3% of what the "experts" recommended. To me this is very satisfying, especially since I didn't have the extra cash to throw at their "solutions." I *love* saving myself money!
I live in hope that someday one of my solutions will be of universal applicability and I'll be able to "retire" a wealthy person. If that happens I promise to: -- Only use "Old Growth" timber in my projects. MDF, "plain sawn" and plywood will be curse words. -- Eat nothing but "Endangered Animal Steaks" per Dilbert. <g>
-- Mark
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Jim responds:
Idol" is correct, pardon my error.
Johnson is Bruce Johnson of "DIY Woodworking" on the DIY network. As the program info says in part, "Bruce tackles antique repairs in one episode and shows how to assemble "kit" furniture in another."
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El cheapo chair is $200??? Dang, what would you call my $60 one? < G > While we're at it, if I give you some dimensions, could you work me out a workstation? BTW, knice looking printer stand!

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Tim Taylor wrote:

Cruel and unusual punishment. ;-)

Umm, I could try.

Thanks.
-- Mark
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I spent $400 a few years ago on a pretty good leather-upholstered office chair. I've never regretted it, even though I don't spend 12 hours a day in it.
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"Mark Jerde" wrote in message

You just spent too long in college, dude ... I mean, where are the cinder blocks and tubafours?
;)
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 12/13/05
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Thanks for posting Mark. Good for a chuckle. I think we all to stuff like that once in a while.... we just don't have the 'nads to post it :-)
--
NewsGuy.Com 30Gb $9.95 Carry Forward and On Demand Bandwidth

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<snip the sorry stuff>

Mark, all, Made me think of a scene from a movie. Cant remember the title. Some preacher asking for public confessions. I feel there is someone needing to confess... Someone needs to confess... Some one in the pew confesses something, I cant remember what. And the preacher responds with something like the following. "Shit boy, I wouldn't have said that!" Blazing saddles maybe. Does anyone know the movie? Does anyone remember this scene? Does anyone remember what was being confessed? he he
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Mark Jerde said:

That workstation and mine bear some striking similarities... LOL Down to the old under-monitor switch boxes, the TV, the exact same lamp - and lets not forget the left-handedness... I also fear that we're both going to sucumb to a brain tumor. :-o
I don't think I could trade my old $99 Globe office chair, however - I gotta have arms...
And just between you and me, I also build more things I wouldn't want to show in public that I do show pieces.
Fortunately, no 2x4s and concrete blocks in years... ;-)
FWIW,
Greg G.
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Mark Jerde wrote:

Paint the sides grey or black, depending on which generation of Star Trek you prefer. As a computer user, put a cup holder and some fake, toggle switches on it, and your good to go, LOL. How many moniters do you use at one time, seriously? I found it so much better to go with the few I need, and kvm's. Nobody ever has enough time, play with Linux or go play in the shop. Heck I have one job, a second one trying to get me back and another friend trying to hire me (part time). I could work 24/7 and never see my shop. I feel lucky to get time to fix things.
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Mark Jerde wrote:

Where did you get that workstation? I think I need something similar. Im still fighting with what I bought 10 years ago at Art Van, a rectangle...
Not a bad setup all in all. The only thing missing is the rear view mirror ;)
--
Thank you,



"Then said I, Wisdom [is] better than strength: nevertheless the poor
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