Introduction: La-z-boy Reclaimed

Picture of La-z-boy Reclaimed

I saw an old dirty La-Z-Boy chair at the side of the road and thought "well what can I make from that"

Everything used in this project was rescued from skips with the exception of the screws which were in an "end of line" basket at Mitre10 ($5 instead of $26:50) and the Macrocarpia used on the arms which was from an old garden Table and Benches I bought for $80 from "freecycle" (I still have over 90% of the wood left)

Step 1: Get in the Car Chair!!

Picture of Get in the Car Chair!!

Fortunately La-Z-Boys separate into 2 pieces and it fits nicely in the back of the car.

The mechanism is seized and the handle has snapped off but home it goes.

Although very dirty, it isn't in really bad condition, however as it was free it doesn't really matter what I do with it.

I was tempted to just clean it and use it in my workshop shed, but nooooooooooooooooo

Step 2: Free Up the Mechanism

Picture of Free Up the Mechanism

I gave the pivoting mechanism a good spray with CRC (NZ's equivalent of WD40 (interestingly Australia's version is quaintly known as "Start Ya Bastard!))

Let it soak for a couple of minutes and it all worked nicely

Step 3: The Frame

Picture of The Frame

I found this pic on the internet and it gave me the idea of what to do.

Originally La-Z-Boy chairs were garden furniture, so lets turn it back into that.

So all the leather needs to go

Step 4: Stripping for Fun!

Picture of Stripping for Fun!

I thought it would take about half an hour to get the leather off --- boy was I wrong!!

Many hours later it was done, I don't know exactly how long but I recall counting to infinity.---TWICE. (actually it took about 5 hours)

There were about 2000 staples holding the leather on, and each had to be eased out with a screwdriver and pliers. I also removed the seat springs and webbing (I have a neat upcycle idea for that too!)

Blood was spilled during this as the chair fought back from being naked!!

I have kept some of the leather as with a bit of a clean, I am sure I can use it for something!

Step 5: We Can Rebuild It!

Picture of We Can Rebuild It!

I used some left over offcuts of cedar tongue and groove to panel out the 2 sides, these were pieces that were too short after I had panelled my shed ceiling.

I also gave all the wood a coat of oil stain in order to give some preservation against the elements. This was put on with a piece of sponge (recycled from the upholstery)

Step 6: The Back

Picture of The Back

I cut a bunch of 50mm wide slats from some 12mm plywood (marine ply) and attached them to the back frame.

Once again the ply was a skip find

Step 7: Seat Base

Picture of Seat Base

Did similar to the seat base, this time with 18mm flooring ply - also a skip find

Step 8: Footrest

Picture of Footrest

More of the same with 12mm ply

Step 9: Arms

Picture of Arms

I figured that the arms needed a bit of beefing up, so I used some Macrocarpia from an old garden bench.

The underside was routed out to fit over the ply arms and then screwed in place from underneath.

I am considering whether to cut a "beer can" hole in the arm.

I also had to reshape one of the back slats to allow the recline action to work

Now it all needs some more stain

Step 10: And There It Is -- Job Done

Picture of And There It Is -- Job Done

Time to enjoy it, Total Cost less than $12 BARGAIN


kathynv (author)2017-02-28

This is awesome, and I think I'll show it to the Mr., in case he feels motivated some weekend. We already have the bedbug free recliner sitting in our garage, as I bought a new one a week ago. I'll even pull all those wretched staples if he'll do the rest. Thank you so much for the wonderful instructable, it's a truly amazing example of making junk into something very cool and valuable.

buck2217 (author)kathynv2017-02-28

Thank you, have fun - it is quite relaxing destroying things before you repair them

MakrToolbox (author)2017-02-25

Great job, I will be looking for one of these on garbage cleanup days.

buck2217 (author)MakrToolbox2017-02-28

Thanks, hope you find one

EcoExpatMike (author)2017-02-12

Awesome. I envy you sitting there, drinking a beer, and deciding what to build next.

buck2217 (author)EcoExpatMike2017-02-12

Oh I don't get time to sit down, the mistress beats me when I stop.?

DonD44 (author)2017-02-10

Time is money too but still a bargain at $ 12. GREAT JOB

buck2217 (author)DonD442017-02-11

Correct, unless you do it at work when someone else is paying!!! ?

mpulliam1 (author)2017-02-09

Amazing. Brilliant. Fantastic.

My wife has MS and there is a direct connection to not getting enough Vitamin D. This would be great for her when I am BBQing (add some shopping cart wheels and my boy can wheel her all over the yard!)

Another project on my "to-do" list. Thanks for sharing, hope you win (I voted!)

buck2217 (author)mpulliam12017-02-09

I have managed to find a second one so that's my weekend goosed!! Thanks for the vote

Josehf Murchison (author)2017-02-06

Very nice, just the one contest?

I wish there were more it was eligible for

You still have a chance at the Epilog and Remix if you add a link to another project of the same thing. But you need to add it to the contest right now.

Oh well never mind just missed out :-(

It's a shame I showed my wife your chair and she liked it. Well good luck in Trash to Treasure.

I'm sorry that I've set you up for another job! ;-)

Tonight is garbage night ;-)

jbirnbaum (author)2017-02-05

Damn, I wish I had thought of that! I got rid of mine last summer because the material and stuffing were failing. Having an outdoor recliner would have been so cool. If I ever come across another, I'll snag it right up!

buck2217 (author)jbirnbaum2017-02-07

I imagine I have sent prices of old lazyboys rocketing - probably $2 by now!!!!!!!!!

malibro (author)jbirnbaum2017-02-05

i live near venice, southern california. there three a week in the alleys.

buck2217 (author)malibro2017-02-05

Rich Californians ?

buck2217 (author)jbirnbaum2017-02-05

I have found several on Trade me (NZs eBay) for as little as a dollar so will probably make a second one and let the wife sit down!

realife11 (author)2017-02-05

What a fantastic idea!

Love the Australian name of the DW40 spray,haha!

A word of caution though...

Be careful and take precautions when picking up thrown out furniture,since you never know 'why' it was thrown out. Could have bedbugs or other infestation. Heat kills bedbugs easily, and other insects are killed with insecticides. Just a thought.

buck2217 (author)realife112017-02-05

thanks it is outside furniture in any case and I gave it a good spray with Raid

realife11 (author)buck22172017-02-07

Great, that is a good start ;-)
Just a quick note though...Recently I read a few articles written by professional exterminators and exterminating companies and they said that pesticide sprays or spray bombs won't work on bedbugs,since they are a whole different category of insect and are extremely difficult to eradicate. Only certain methods work (heat being number one). It's probably how they were able to spread to almost every country in the world in a short amount of time.
The buggers must be related to spiders since nothing seems to kill them, haha!
Again, genius idea!!! I definitely will be trying this at some point.

Verga (author)2017-02-07

Outstanding job. Now I just have to find an old lazy boy. I voted for you.

buck2217 (author)Verga2017-02-07

Thank you

Stu Podaso made it! (author)2017-02-06

I made this last year. I had looked on here for ideas but was surprised to find nothing. I completely rebuilt all the wood parts out of cedar except for the rocker base since the majority of that was maple- figured the cedar wouldn't last long with the rocking.

I finished the wood with the Japanese wood burning technique.

When you go looking for chairs make sure to get the hardware style he has here- it's easier to work with. After I made this one I picked up another La-Z-Boy chair but the mechanism was different underneath, but I did salvage the 3 position foot rest my first chair didn't have.

I wish I would have taken more pictures of the process...

buck2217 (author)Stu Podaso2017-02-06

I was also surprised that there weren't loads . Thought i was being original! ;-)

Stu Podaso (author)2017-02-06

Yours turned out nice. A lot cheaper than what I have in mine... Definitely need the can holder.

buck2217 (author)Stu Podaso2017-02-06

I agree, will be making a second soon

dalbrecht-1 (author)2017-02-06

GREAT! Now you've got me into the idea of looking for old Lazy Boyz on the side of the road!

Really, nice write up and idea! Add a few garden cushions, a shady spot and a warm day and ZZZZZZZZZ

buck2217 (author)dalbrecht-12017-02-06

Well I've just got a second one so that's my day sorted!! (still wifey can sit down now)

LeNeveu2 (author)2017-02-06


buck2217 (author)LeNeveu22017-02-06

Thank you

David 738 (author)2017-02-06

Not one for commenting on projects but this is one of the best described and executed Buck, great job

buck2217 (author)David 7382017-02-06

Thank you

farna (author)2017-02-06

The WD in WD-40 means "water displacement". Back in the prehistoric car days when distributors got wet the car wouldn't start. Most would draw moisture inside from washing the engine, splashing in big puddles, etc. -- depends on where the distributor was mounted (how protected). Pull the cap off, spray some WD-40 in to DISPLACE THE MOISTURE and it would usually start right up. So when it wouldn't start, you use some "Start you bastard!" and went on your way....

It doesn't have ether, but does have paint thinner and I believe uses butane as a propellant (or some other flammable substance... but could be the chemical blend...), so it will burn. Not quite as good a torch as hair spray cans used to be, but it will burn. Spray some around intake manifolds with vacuum leaks and when you hear a little surge in the engine you've found the leak...

It's not good for a long time preservative. Wears off really fast, as do most penetrating oils. Use something like spray silicone for a preservative/lube unless you want to spray that squeaky door hinge every couple weeks. White lithium grease in an aerosol can is even better, but can be messy.

Oh, great job on reclaiming the chair!! Need some white lithium to spray those joints so they don't rust and seize if it's going to reside outsied, even on a covered patio.

buck2217 (author)farna2017-02-06

Thanks for the info, the CRC was to initially free it up (good for that) I have sprayed it all with a lanolin based preservative for longer lasting preservation, however it is no hardship to respray as the mechanism is fully accessible from beneath

lbrewer42 (author)2017-02-05

Excellent write up and great work - too bad more people don't do stuff like this.

buck2217 (author)lbrewer422017-02-05


buck2217 (author)lbrewer422017-02-05


Pa1963 (author)2017-02-05

I don't believe WD40 contains ether. I wonder what the US equivalent of the Aussie spray is. I don't know the ether content of engine start spray here. Maybe it's the same stuff. Many's the time I've screamed those exact words at some motorized piece of equipment.

buck2217 (author)Pa19632017-02-05

havent we all!

buck2217 (author)Pa19632017-02-05

it is well named!

heygeno (author)2017-02-05

yer a man after my own heart !

I HAVE that exact lazy boy.... cept YOURS was in better condt.

This is so cool. I love to tear off stuff from old small couches and rebuild with funky alternatives ( plastic/hoses/even stone ) BUT MAN are you right ! even if you do a slop job -it can take hours to remove.... there is a better chance of breaking a piece of the wood , than to get all the staples out without drawing blood !

To anyone who tries this.... always use the best tools you have for the job or you will hurt yourself !.....(i never do....always get hurt)

buck2217 (author)heygeno2017-02-05

thanks I always find that blood is both a good lubricant and wood stain ?

ssorensen (author)2017-02-05

This looks wonderful, thank you for sharing!!

It also explains why they keep emphasizing the quality of the framework in the recliners.

Will you be adding cushions for use outside? Is it comfy for long sits?

buck2217 (author)ssorensen2017-02-05

thanks am looking for some squabs for it ....But who has time to sit down! ?

dhallsten1 (author)2017-02-05

nice write up and great job

About This Instructable




Bio: I am a Marine Engineer in the RNZN (39 years done in various navies) and am looking forward to retirement!!! so I can do more ... More »
More by buck2217:Metal Bird Sculpture From Reclaimed Sheet Steel and TubeVanlife - a Petrolheads PostboxThe Waterhorse, Made for an Indoor Racing Event!
Add instructable to: