How to Save a Broken Arne Jacobsen Chair From the Trash Heap

Picture of How to Save a Broken Arne Jacobsen Chair From the Trash Heap
The college where I work has several of these wonderful Model 3107 plywood chairs designed by Arne Jacobsen. Our local symphony orchestra uses them when they perform in our campus theatre. When the chairs are not in use, they are usually stowed away for safekeeping. But recently, a few have somehow found their way into a classroom or two where they have come to a bad end. A couple of weeks ago I saw one broken in half and lying on a pile of trash bags. Well, I couldn't let it be tossed away, so I grabbed it to see if I could somehow save it.
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Step 1: Assessing the Damage

Picture of Assessing the Damage
I removed the frame from the seat of the chair. The tubular frame is attached to the chair seat with three screws and the screw plate is covered with a plastic cap. Easy stuff to do. The frame looked pretty good but as you can see the plywood edge is pretty ragged.

Step 2: Repairing the Damage

Picture of Repairing the Damage
First thing I did was to glue the plywood, where it had started to split, back together. I used Elmer's Wood Glue. I wedged the splits open with a scraper and forced glue into the seams. Then I clamped the whole thing together and let it set for 24 hours.

Step 3: Cutting a Curved Back

Picture of Cutting a Curved Back
Next, I decided to trim up the edge. I traced the existing curves of the chair seat onto a sheet of paper and modified it until it looked good. I transferred the curve onto the front and back of the chair. The front so that I could see what it would look like and the back because I would need to cut the curve from the underside of the seat. I used a jigsaw for this part. Sorry, no shots of the cutting.
SimonHedin5 months ago

Nice work!

kleinmaggie4 years ago
beautiful job! thank you for saving the chair.that's recycling at it's best!
This chair looks fantastic--I wonder how someone managed to break that poor chair in half? Great instructable!
Something catch my interest in this post, it was Arne.
Just a beautiful work you´ve done here to save this chair, go and look for a complete set of Arne Stools now.
woodNfish4 years ago
Nice job saving that chair.

You can also use auto body filler, such as Bondo for repairs to wood that you are going to paint. It may even be less expensive than the plastic wood filler you used.
kathleenhenri (author)  woodNfish4 years ago
I had originally thought of using Bondo -
If for some reason the wood filler looses its bond, I'll definitely try it.
bertus52x114 years ago
Nice! I like the "smooth" look of the chair.
 You definitely did that beautiful chair justice! And the yellow color is perfect. :D
kathleenhenri (author)  jessyratfink4 years ago
I love the chair and I love the yellow color too.
rimar20004 years ago
Good work!!
Ninzerbean4 years ago
coswine4 years ago
This is a beautiful piece - congrats!  I like how you maintained the original lines and ended up with something that looks like it was meant to be a stool. 
kathleenhenri (author)  coswine4 years ago
It seems too nice to sit on! ;-)
kathleenhenri (author) 4 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
 Oh, and also, change your first picture to the final stool (first picture last step). Its a much better picture for showing off your project with.
kathleenhenri (author)  gmjhowe4 years ago
Great idea! Thanks.
nickodemus4 years ago
This is great, I just love using reclaimed materials. Good work :)
gmjhowe4 years ago
Great work saving this chair! It a nice stool, the yellow completes it for sure.

To think most people would just walk past and see nothing but trash.