Creating a home by hand.

One Good Chair from Two Broken Ones

One Good Chair from Two Broken Ones

A few weeks ago, while out for my morning walk, I found two wooden chairs sitting on the curb awaiting garbage pick up.

Two chairs found on the curb

The base of each chair was still perfectly fine but the backs of both had spindles missing and/or broken.

I’ve been wanting a chair for our bedroom for Dave to hang his clothes on at night so we rescued them from the curb.

If you happen to make a similar find, here are step-by-step instructions to transform this:


Two chairs before transformationInto this:

One newly repaired chair - one ready for further transformation

First the backs of both chairs need to be removed. On the back of the top rail small wooden plugs cover the screws holding the rail onto the outside spindles.

Insert a small screw into the plug just far enough to provide a grip on it.

Insert the screw into the plug.

Screw the screw into the wooden plug.

Next, pry it out using the claw edge of the hammer.

Plug the plug out using the claw end of a hammer.

Remove the screw from the plug and set the plug aside to be reused later.

Remove the screw from the wooden plug.

Using the appropriately headed screw driver remove the screws holding the outside spindles to the top bar/rail.

Remove top screws from outside spindles.

Gently tap the top with a hammer to loosen the inside spindles.

Use a hammer to loosen the spindles for the top back rail.

If one of the spindles refuses to come off, you may have to be a bit more persuasive.

Tap harder with a hammer if necessary.

In some cases where the spindle has broken off at the top, you may have to drill out the hole in order to install a “new” spindle.

Drill out the spindle hole.

In other cases, you might be able to use the same method used to remove the small wooden plugs from the back of the top rail.

Use a larger boltscrew to remove broken spindle pieces.

Next drill out any broken spindle ends from the seat of the chair.

Drill out the broken spindle pieces from the seat of the chair.

To drill out the holes closest to the outside spindles, you may have to remove them. To do this, turn the chair over, loosen and remove the bolts.

Remove the bolts from the outside spindles.

Once all the spindle holes are cleaned up, use the unbroken spindles from both chairs to create one good chair.

Install the unbroken spindles in the chair.

Replace the screws in the top of the outside spindles.

Chair with spindles replaced.

The final step is to reinsert the small wooden plugs that were set aside earlier. Tap the plugs in place using a hammer.

Tap the plugs in place.

Here are the two chairs once again.

One newly repaired chair - one ready for further transformation

The chair on the left is now in the corner of our bedroom ready each night for Dave to hang his clothes on.  In another post, I’ll show you what we did with the chair on the right.




  • Christine B.
    July 23, 2015 7:38 am

    Brilliant! I love it when basically good pieces of furniture are given new life! Fabulous job! 🙂 x

  • Mary
    July 23, 2015 9:32 am

    It looks like a great fix. I can’t wait to see what plans you have for the second one.

  • Doris McCarty
    July 23, 2015 10:28 am

    I’m always in for recycled projects.

  • Allison CB
    July 23, 2015 12:20 pm

    A great little project! Thanks for the photos!

  • Susan
    July 23, 2015 3:20 pm

    I love that you are a rescue team! We rescue things fairly often. =) This was a great how-to, whether for rescued chairs, or ones we have already. I’m really curious about what you did with the second chair!

  • Linda
    July 23, 2015 5:00 pm

    Great teamwork! Dave provided the muscle and you provided the vision.

  • Karen
    July 24, 2015 12:12 am

    Wonderful rescue! You did an excellent tutorial for giving new life to something that was thrown away!

  • Rachel
    July 24, 2015 5:27 am

    Well done indeed – good to have rescued these from incineration!

  • Mary Anne
    July 25, 2015 6:37 pm

    Great project – and the price was certainly right!

  • Celtic Thistle Stitches
    July 28, 2015 1:00 pm

    You did a great job of giving that chair a whole new lease of life! I am looking forward to seeing your upcycle of the second chair now too.

Leave a Reply