"On the Fence" Rustic Rocker - Repair a Rocking Chair With Fence Posts




Introduction: "On the Fence" Rustic Rocker - Repair a Rocking Chair With Fence Posts

If you have a broken chair/rocking chair, this is the tutorial for you!
I received this wonderful rustic rocker from my landlord, who didn't have the time to repair it.  The frame of this rocking chair is still sturdy, but the destroyed caning made it completely unusable.  After my landlord repaired a fence across the street, I took the opportunity to score some free materials to finally bring this chair back to life.

Gather your supplies:

-An old rustic rocker (it is still structurally sound, only the caning needs to be replaced)
-6 weathered fence posts (more if your chair is larger)
(Alternatively, any boards may be used.  Upcycling and repurposing are the cheapest options, so look around the garage to see if there is something you may use.)
-Sand paper / Sanding sponges
-Measuring tape (if you care to be exact)
-Marking pencil
-Hand saw*
-1 ½” nails (thickness & length will depend on your materials)*

*It took me about 2 hours to complete this project.  If you use power tools, this would be much quicker, leaving you with enough time to do another project!  Mine were buried in the garage, so I just decided to do it by hand.

Project cost: FREE!

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Step 1: Step 1: Remove Caning

Cut the old caning away from the seat & back and discard.  Sometimes these bits are nailed and glued into place.  Remove the nails or hammer them flat and scrape away any glue remnants.

Step 2: Step 2: Sand Chair Frame

Sand the frame of the chair, taking special care to smooth out any "touchable" areas, such as the arms.  Use sandpaper appropriate for your frame material.  I chose to use sanding sponges in order to get around the contours of the wood.  My chair has a rustic style, so I didn't have to make it ultra-smooth.

Step 3: Step 3: Sand Fence Posts

Now you'll want to sand your fence posts, taking special care to make the "sitting side" especially smooth.  You don't want your chair to be splintery or to snag on clothing.  I used fence posts that come to a point for my chair.  I have not had any problems with them being uncomfortable.  However, this may not work as well for the shape of your particular chair.  If this chair is going to be around young children, you may want to choose fence posts or boards that are blunt.

Step 4: Step 4: Measure & Mark Boards

Now that your fence posts are smooth, lay each board onto the chair seat and mark where it should be cut.  My rocking chair is rustic, so I just eyeballed it and scratched my mark with my saw blade.  Your chair may require that you be more exact and use a measuring tape & marking pencil.

Step 5: Step 5: Saw Fence Posts

Using the chair arms as a saw horse, cut your fence posts.  Cut slowly for the last inch or two and support the area near the cut in order to avoid cracking or splintering.

Step 6: Step 6: Hammer Boards Onto Seat & Back

Here comes the fun part: hammer the boards onto the seat and back rest.  My chair fits 3 boards with some spaces between them (but didn't have enough room for 4 boards).  Flip the chair onto its back to attach the boards on the back rest.

Step 7: Step 7: Enjoy!

After your boards are all in place, do a quick inspection to make sure that everything is smooth and that the boards are evenly spaced.
Now that your rocker is fixed, other decisions are less pressing.  Enjoy sitting on the fence!

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    8 years ago on Introduction

    Regarding the pointy end of the fence boards directed to the back you the sitters legs. I wonder how comfortable that is in actuality?


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I definitely suggest doing a test sitting before using pointy boards. These worked well for my height & my chair style, but may not be good for all sizes/styles. Fence posts come in a variety of shapes, so there are plenty of options out there. Get creative!


    8 years ago

    Isn't this more of a remodel, than a repair?


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I decided to call it a repair rather than a remodel because the rocking chair was completely unusable before the broken caning was replaced by the fence posts. The woven seat had caved in and couldn't support any weight. This tutorial focuses on using free, easily accessible materials to fix broken furniture. However, this fence post method could definitely be used to remodel or make over many other chair types or benches.