Do you have a lawn chair that’s had too much sun, wind and snow and the PVC “webbing” straps have become cracked or broken? Maybe you just want to spruce it up with brighter (newer) coloured webbing.
Step 1: Tools and Project Preparation
Before you start, get your tools and materials together:
- replacement loop straps (from the chair manufacturer or the retailer where you bought it) (It's nice to have a few extra in the event some get over heated, or break for other reasons.)
- large, heavy duty (old) screwdriver (to stretch and lever the new straps into place)
- smallish needle-nosed pliers (to finish getting the new strap into where it needs to be)
- "vice grips" or other heavy pliers (to bend the chair hook attachments, if/when as necessary)
- cookie sheet protected by aluminum foil (to heat the new straps in the oven)
- hot pad (or work gloves)
- an oven (a toaster oven might not be large enough to hold the new straps) - preheated to 240 F - (preferably with a timer set to 5 minutes)
- (optional - an old spoon was handy for getting the new straps into place, with reduced risk of nicking them when they are hot and soft)
- (optional - a Swiss Army knife - you never know when you'll need it...)
Step 2: All You Need Are New Straps, Right?
Chair manufacturers (and retailers) will often provide replacement straps for lawn furniture, especially if it’s only been a year since you bought your fancy, heavy metal framed chairs from Home Hardware.
The problem is - notice the difference in length between an old strap (longer) and a new one (shorter!). It turns out that NO AMOUNT of elbow grease and eyebrow sweat (and four-letter words) will stretch a new strap into place without some sort of magical trick - and that is personal experience talking!
Step 3: The Secret Tool - Is Your OVEN! (preheated to 240F)
Note how 10 minutes at 270 F causes the plastic to lose its nice loopy integrity… sticking to your cookie sheet and eventually coalescing into a useless, hot puddle. When that happens, it means the oven is TOO HOT and/or you left it in the oven TOO LONG.
I found 5 minutes at 240 F was hot enough so the straps could be stretched.
Beware that the plastic is quite soft and can easily be nicked by rough handling with the pliers, screwdriver, or abrasion on the metal chair frame. (It is REALLY nice to have a few spare straps...)
Step 4: Lean Into It...
Take the heated strap out of the oven and put one end around the hook on one side of the chair frame.
Working quickly (before the strap cools off), use the large screwdriver to stretch the strap and lever it over the hook on the other side of the chair frame. Use the small needle nose pliers to help get the loop into place.
Be careful not to damage the plastic strap while it is warm and soft.
If the strap cools off before you can get it into place, simply rewarm it in the oven.
Step 5: Tip - Adjusting the Chair Frame
Sometimes it is necessary to bend the hooks on the chair frame so there is room for the strap to get over the hook. (Be sure to bend it back after the strap is in place!)
Step 6: Test It Out!
Make sure to test the finished chair seat to ensure the straps stay in place when you apply some weight - you don't want anyone "falling through the cracks"!