How to Fix a Danish Modern Chair

Refinishing a piece of furniture, whether it's a family heirloom or a thrift-shop steal, can be rewarding to both your artistic eye and your pocketbook, and it isn't nearly so difficult as you might think. Within a few days, you can have that trendy chair out of the attic and into your living room.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Rags
  • Wood cleanser, such as Murphy's Soap
  • Wood glue suitable for teak, such as Gorilla
  • Sandpaper
  • Teak oil
  • Foam and fabric (optional)

Repair the Teak Wood Frame
Determine if the chair needs to be taken apart. If the joints are loose or the wood is cracked you will need to disassemble the chair; otherwise it can be repaired intact. If you need to take it apart, use the screwdriver to gently pry off the wooden “buttons” that cover the screws in the joints. Label each piece as you disassemble the chair.

Wipe down each piece with warm water and a rag, multiple times if necessary, to remove dust, dirt and built-up grime. A gentle cleansing agent, such as Murphy’s Soap (for wood), may be necessary to remove sticky residue. Let dry thoroughly.

Fill any cracks in the wood with Gorilla glue. Normal wood glue will not repair teak wood because it is oilier than other hardwoods. Wipe off any excess glue with a damp cloth. Clamp together overnight.

Sand the pieces until they are even and smooth. Be sure to remove any old residual varnish that may remain. This step is important because clean, smooth wood will evenly absorb any finishing agents, resulting in glowing color from the naturally radiant teak.

Apply a thin layer of teak oil to all surfaces and allow to dry overnight. If your chair is fairly old, it may absorb the majority of this oil application. Once dry, feel for uneven or rough patches; if the wood is not still smooth, sand lightly. Apply two to three coats of oil following this pattern.

Reassemble the chair using your diagrams to guide you. Using the original screws and wooden buttons, reconstruct the frame; then decorate with the new cushions.

Choose How to Repair the Upholstery
Clean the cushions in a washer and dryer or, if they are bulky and difficult to manage, take them to a dry cleaner. These options are best if the cushions are in decent condition.

Search for a furniture reupholstery business in your area or online. Once you have provided photos, dimensions and a fabric choice, the reupholsterer will create the finishing touches for your project. This option is best if the cushions need to be replaced and you are unsure of your skills in reupholstering.

Disassemble the cushions so you can make new ones. Measure each disassembled piece carefully. Cut the foam precisely according to your measurements, and cut the fabric with a ¼’’ seam allowance. Slowly and precisely sew the new cushions following the example of those you took apart. Clip any excess thread to tidy up your work. This option is best only if you are feeling confident and crafty!


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