Sunday, May 8, 2011

Fixing Nathaniel's Comfy Chair

So I would never be one to call my wife big but there are some things even a tiny woman like her should not do. For example, sit in Nathaniel's comfy play chair. Well, Melanie found it just way too tempting and sat in it two nights ago up in the play room during one of our conversations and BAM! It shattered to pieces! Good job Melanie! (smirk). Sadly enough the first thing I was thinking was: Great! I have something else to blog about now...what has happened to me?

The first thing I had to figure out was how to repair it or if it was even possible. Looking at the way it was constructed I was contemplating creating my own custom pieces to replace the plastic pieces that were broken until I realized something: The chair used the same type of piece for all connection, but the front of the chair only had two metal legs attached whereas the rear had three, one of which was broken out of the plastic piece. Then it dawned on me that I could just switch the front and the back pieces. Since the manufacturers used rivets I had to grind them off and replace them with bolts. At first I tried it with regular screws that I was planning on bending so they wouldn't fall out but the screws were too brittle and broke so I had to drill out the legs and the plastic pieces, cut the bolts to length and put them back together with loctite so the nuts wouldn't fall off. And that was that!

Nathaniel showing me where the chair was broken

A close-up of the plastic foot that was broken out

The equivalent piece at the front of the chair

Nathaniel helping me punch out the ground off rivets

The parts all taken off the chair; two broken (rear) and two front (good) ones

First attempt of putting the legs back together with regular 3" screws

When I tried to bend the first screw it broke right off so I had to try it some other way

Cutting the bolts to the right length

The cut-off bolt

Before and after picture of shortening the bolt

All the bolts after they were cut to length

Voila, all done

Close-up of the broken (rear) piece that was now at the front

Close-up of the good (front) piece that is now at the rear

Another close-up of the good (front) piece that is now in the back

Punch I used to punch out the rivets and plastic pieces

Do I really need a description for this picture?

Angle grinder

Cordless drill

Pliers, which I ended up not using because the screws just broke off



Loctite to make sure the nuts don't come off



Ok, Melanie just told me that she only paid like $8 bucks for this chair. If I knew that, I wouldn't have spent an hour and a half trying to fix it. Bummer.

Success even though it is somewhat unsatisfactory now because I just found out that the chair was actually really cheap when Melanie bought it. I hope she learned her lesson! I sure did; I'll make sure to find out how much this stuff costs from now on before I try to fix it.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Fixing A Play Table

Our church nursery had these neat little plastic tables the 2-4 year old kids use for their snack but unfortunately one of the legs on one of the tables broke off. They were going to throw it out but I figured it would be worth a try to fix it.

The first thing I had to do is to get the broken piece of the leg out of the table top. Because it was really stuck and I had no surface to hold on to, I split the table top in half, then used one of the good legs and a hammer to punch out the broken off piece. Next I used the air die grinder to roughen up the inside of the leg to provide a better surface for the glue. After spreading a layer of epoxy glue, I rolled up the fiberglass cloth and pushed it into the glue. Once the glue set, I put a layer of epoxy glue on the broken off piece, slipped that over the fiberglass that was sticking out and made sure it made good contact. After another 5 minutes of setting time, I mixed up another batch of glue and spread it evenly on the inside over the fiberglass cloth. Then I cleaned up the outside and voila, it was done.

Here's the table with the one leg that was broken off

The little piece of the leg that was jammed into the under-side of the table.

Nathaniel explaining to me how we can fix the leg

Another close-up of the broken off piece once the top half of the table-top was removed

Using a good leg to punch out the broken-off piece

Finally got the piece removed

After the first layer of epoxy glue inside of the larger part of the leg

A close-up view of the inside of the leg

Once I put the small piece on and glued the fiberglass mesh to it

A close-up of the inside of the completed leg

Mixing up the last batch of epoxy glue

All fixed

Final result


Screw driver, scissors, air die grinder

Epoxy glue, fiber glass cloth




Success. I hope it will last.