It has happened to many of us, a cheap office chair, broken after a couple of months of normal use. Normally there isn't an easy fix to this problem, glue doesn't usually has what it takes to repair the damage, frustration ensues after each successive repair, until an otherwise perfectly good chair is thrown away in a fit of rage. This isn't only costly, but also wasteful.
I too had to deal with this, I even resorted to a custom aluminum bracing. But when the other armrest broke I was fed up, so I decided to let my lazy side take over, as Bill gates once said, “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”
And so I came up with an easier solution which was just as resistant as my more complicated approach, keeping materials and effort to a minimum.
Step 1: Materials
To perform this fix you only need two things:
- Metal Coat Hanger
That's it, nothing else!
You'll also need a pair of pliers and a small drill (with a drill bit around 2.5mm in diameter)
Step 2: Disassemble
Remove the cracked armrest (or other part) from the chair, it is usually attached with hex screws.
Step 3: Cut a Piece of Coat Hanger
Take your coat hanger and cut a section of around 30cm, then peel the plastic cover. Find a drill bit that is slightly thicker than the metal wire for the next step.
Step 4: Drill Some Holes
Make four equidistant holes (or more, depending on your needs and the shape of the part). Make sure to leave some space between the holes and the cracked section, otherwise it might crack again.
Step 5: Make Some "staples"
Bend the coat hanger into "staples" with your pliers. Make sure they are a tad smaller than the distance between the holes, that way the fit will be tight and strong.
Step 6: Mix and Apply Epoxy
Mix equal parts of epoxy resin and fill the crack.
Step 7: Insert the Staples.
With a bit of rope and a screwdriver I tighten the armrest to squeeze the epoxy and move the holes closer, then, the "staples" are inserted.
Once inserted they are bent into position, the excess wire is cut off.
Step 8: Add More Epoxy
More epoxy is added to create a strong bond. The epoxy is left to cure for 12 hours.
Step 9: Put Everything Back
Mount the armrest back. It should be as strong as ever, and allow you to keep using your chair without worrying about it ever breaking again.
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