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.
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
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.
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
- 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
- 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.