Introduction: Eames Lounge Chair: Rubber Shock Mount Repair

Picture of Eames Lounge Chair: Rubber Shock Mount Repair

After ~34 years of continual use, the shock mounts became weaker, until one day, the back of the chair fell away from the seat shell.
After much study, the following repair was born. This was a necessity because the mfr. could not guarantee a repair and said that if the seat shell would not repair, a substitute shell of a different angle and wood specie would have to be made. Brazilian rosewood is no longer available for harvest.

To disassemble the chair base and shell is not a difficult task.
1. Slide the seat cushion forward and lay aside.
2. Remove the armrests, two screws each, from the under-outside, using a #3 Philips head screw driver.
3. Remove the two inside screws from the steel "L" arm brackets holding the seat shell to the brackets. One or both of these may be loose if yours broke like mine. Lay the back aside.
4. You may elect to remove the aluminum base for ease of the repair. You should now have a seat shell w/ broken rubber mounts attached to the inside of the wooden shell "tabs."
5. The remaining broken rubber mounts will have to be carefully removed from the inside of the seat shell tabs.
6. Special Note: Save the embedded metal plates from inside the broken shock mounts. These will be reused when making the new shock mounts.
7. I used a SHARKSAW: pullsaw trim & detail double saw, no. 10-2205 to cut the remaining rubber from the seat shell. In order not to cut the precious rosewood, I taped some ~ 26 ga. metal strips adjacent to the work as a guide for the saw. This left about ~26 ga. thick rubber to be removed w/ blocked fine grit sandpaper. The closer to the rosewood I came, the finer the grit. Before the rubber was completely gone, I traced the outline of the tabs and the profile of the shock mount, so I could position the new mounts I was about to make.
8. Materials needed for the new shock mounts:
a. Two 9/32" thick maple blocks, shaped to fit the outline of the original shock mounts. Be sure the grain runs w/ the long dimension of the outline and that the annual rings are "parallel" to the broad side of the block.
b. Two 2/32" rubber sheet cut to fit the outline.
c. Two cleaned and roughened, salvaged steel plates.
d. Sixteen short FH machine screws, to drop into the salvaged plate holes and into the drilled maple block holes.
e. An excellent epoxy repair kit. I used WEST SYSTEM Inc.'s 101-6 Maxi REPAIR PACK, w/ the included bonding filler.
9. You will need to prepare the maple blocks, rubber sheets and salvaged plates by drilling the blocks to accept the fasteners, and by roughening all broad surfaces to aid the epoxy bonding.
10. Assemble the material "sandwiches" using the epoxy directions and diagram here.
11. After the epoxied sandwiches are cured, epoxy the sandwiches' maple faces to the inside of the prepared seat shell tabs.
12. I tried to clamp my work, but the materials kept sliding, so I ended up weighting them instead.
13. To disassemble and reassemble the chair back to the finished seat shell shock mounts, I laid the chair on it's sides. Plush carpeting helps here.
NOTEs:
1. To increase the size of the photos, click on the "i" in the upper left picture corner. Then click on ORIGINAL or LARGE. Use your back buttons to return to the main page.
2. My repair has lasted over 10 years w/ daily use. Good luck w/ your repair.

Comments

JEDON (author)2012-01-22

This is the finished repair.

SamF58 (author)JEDON2016-04-03

Thanks for posting this. I am about to start in on this project. How has your chair held up since this post? Herman Miller is telling me they want about $800 in repair/shipping costs and that it won't last more than 6 months to one year. I'd love to be able to do it better, cheaper and have it last longer than that.

JEDON (author)SamF582016-12-26

SamF58,

My repair is into it's second decade w/ no problems. My chair

gets daily use, w/ comfort. Glad you may find the repair useful.

Donhy

DONHY (author)2016-05-29

A YouTube of chair disassembly for your use. Labeling each piece w/ it's

original location (right and left side) is a great idea. All chairs were originally

assembled by hand and have small differences in their individual production.

http://www.studio670repair.com/670video.html

I traced the shock mount locations on each side of the shell w/ tracing paper

so that I might place the repaired mounts in the same original locations.

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