Aluminum Threshold Chair Repair

Suspicious scene, a person spotted chair-nabbing

Where there's a will, there's a way:
broken chair diverted from the landfill.

Part of the curse of riding bikes around town is that you see a lot of things you wouldn't normally see. This chair, for instance. We saw this nice looking chair by a trash can on trash day. It looked broken, but it also looked too nice to go to a landfill.

Back at the lab, and once it was daylight, I had to diagnose it. The two side pieces were splintered. It looked like some big torque force was put on the seat while the legs stayed in place, causing the frame of the chair to twist. Subjected to this twisting, the side pieces cracked and the dowels that made the connection with the legs pulled through. That's my guess anyway.

My other guess is that one person held the chair so that only one leg was touching the ground while a second person jumped onto the back of the chair from a countertop, causing both of the side pieces to crack. Something like that.

A Threshold?

Detail of the aluminum to wood connection

The threshold is rigid in the vertical plane
and I got a pretty good connection with just screws.
Also, the aluminum threshold is groovy, if you get what I mean.

I went to the Chico Habitat ReStore, which is a great place, looking for ideas. I was thinking about aluminum. I found a used aluminum threshold which had been uninstalled from somewhere. I looked at it and tried to think if it could be used to repair the chair.

I cut the threshold in half and used it to replace the splintered sides of the chair. The threshold was wide enough that it could act as a moment connection, so I didn't need to brace the chair in that direction.

A tricky part of using the threshold was that it was not just a flat piece of material. It had sloped shoulders that did not cooperate with the chair. I dealt with this by cutting a thin line where the flat surface meets the shoulders, and then bending the shoulders out of the way. The bent back parts of the shoulders are actually used to make an attachment to the back surface of each leg, for extra strength.

The aluminum side also had to be involved in clipping the seat down to the chair. That explains the extra screw that can be seen in the detail photo, midway down the side piece, towards the top.

Sparkly Is Nice

Sparkly blue seat cover

I covered the seat with a glittery blue vinyl.
The Multi-Game Table is in progress behind the chair.

The final step was to remove the dirty upholstery and replace it with sparkly blue vinyl. I'm not a champion upholsterer, but the vinyl material was pretty forgiving.


Strange looking aluminum, vinyl, and wood chair

Rehabilitated chair lives to seat another day.

The result is a sturdy, weird looking chair that you have to keep forever because it is so "unique".