Introduction: The Most Comfortable Seat in the House
Ah, the best seat in the house. There is something just quite right with the way it feels when you sit down on it. It is inviting and familiar. Make yourself at home.
OK, this is more a fixer-upper story and a fable of breathing new life into a piece of furniture destined for the trash heap.
This chair at my parent's house has been around forever so it could be a half a century old. I don't recall how it was acquired but it is typical of chairs found in Chinese restaurants. Usually the surplus furniture or discards from there would be reused by frugal immigrant workers and passed along. Maybe that would explain the Asian fascination with IKEA, the same purposeful design mantra that you would find in a restaurant supply house. My mother would always sew a seat cushion from fabric scraps she had from the garment factory. Anyway, we had a bunch of these chairs when we were growing up. They served as nightstands, TV dinner trays, homework study tables, bookcases, clothes racks, places to put your stuff, and to be cleared off when guests needed a seat. The best was when my brothers and I would stack them up in various configurations to mimic a jet fighter, yes, two chairs laid down back to back was the cockpit and two chairs over would be the sliding canopy. They also served as the framework to erect tents when you threw a blanket over them. And it made a good maze to chase and play with the dog.
As you can see, the seat panel has been worn through the generations of use. What to do. Yeah, you could just chuck it and get a new one but the legs and back are still sturdy. It would be a shame to toss out something with sentimental value. Lemme see what I can do to fix it up.
Got a good story and picture of your favorite chair? Chairs like most furniture are conversation pieces. If they could only talk. Post it and tell me about it below. I don't have a penny for your two cents but I do have a couple of one-year Pro memberships to pass on for your tale.
Step 1: Assess the Situation...
One old beat up chair.
If you sit on it, your butt goes through the chair.
The seat panel is worn through. It was a thin veneer plywood to begin with. It has been thinned by use and cracked under pressure from things sitting on top of it.
I know the chair has been through some scrubbing with a bucket of water and soap. That is how you cleaned things in the old days. There was no such thing as a can of furniture polish that you spray and wipe.
Everything except the seat bottom is still serviceable.
The proper fix is to remove the seat bottom layer from the chair frame and replace it with a similar thin piece of plywood.
I believe they were slightly formed to fit the curve of one's bottom either by some carving or steam bending of the plywood.
That would take some time in the workshop along with some heavy duty tools to remove the seat bottom and form a new one.
There is an
lazier easier way!
Step 2: Sugru to the Rescue...
Looking through my scrap wood pile, I do not have any thin cabinet grade plywood to replace the seat bottom.
But, I do have an old oak toliet seat. Hey, oak is expensive! I reclaimed an old oak toilet seat during one of my bathroom renovations. I guess you would kinda of think it was funky but I sanitized and sanded off the original finish wearing a face mask. Maybe I thought the brass hardware from it could have been used for something steampunky.
I also have a bunch of Sugru. That's the silicone putty that's the rage today. Meet up with the ibles staff at a Maker Faire to score some.
The Sugru would also solve the problem of how to attach the toilet seat to the chair. I could screw in the hardware that goes to the toilet seat cover but then I would have to get some brass mounting screws to match.
Screwing in from the top of the toilet seat would not be good if you don't countersink and plug in the screw holes. People do like that riveted porthole look though.
Screwing from the bottom would be tricky as not to puncture the surface. Mini-L brackets would require a lot of pilot hole drilling.
Just glue would not be good to adhere to a failing veneer surface.
You take the Sugru out of the packet, knead it for a bit to activate it, and mash it on something like a wad of gum. The Sugru will allow us to accomodate the uneven surface and pin the toilet seat to the chair rim where it will provide support.
Step 3: Plant It There...
Take a few dabs of the Sugru and place it where the toilet seat contacts the chair rim.
I guess I could have ripped out the broken seat bottom panel and cleared it out but I left it in as a visual reminder to block out the thought that this was a commode chair.
Press the assembly together.
The seat may be used immediately but avoid shifting or getting ants in your pants. Sugru should cure completely overnight.
Maybe a nice tung oil finish for this one
It does seem to be ADA compliant with normal seat height.
Pull up a chair but always keep the seat down!