Some Like It Repaired

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Yesterday was my day off, and I ended up doing a surprisingly long list of errands, odd jobs, and preparations for tomorrow’s all-day annual charity event, for which I will be the photographer/videographer.

One of my jobs yesterday was fixing our living room La-Z-Boy chair. A couple of nights ago, something inside it snapped, and suddenly, the front edge of its seat was slumping down a few inches, while its foot rest refused to open.

Armed with a AC-powered trouble light, I turned the chair upside-down and inspected it.

I almost immediately saw that one end of the weight-bearing board at the front edge of the seat had split, causing it to snap off the two wooden dowels that had previously connected it to the chair’s frame.

That was the easy part.

The hard part was that, because the split board holds the front end of all of the seat’s springs, it was being pulled up into the mechanics of the chair under tremendous pressure, which prevented me from pushing it back into its proper place.

After imagining myself dragging the broken chair out onto our front parkway, to be picked up by “the claw” truck this coming Monday morning, I decided to try using my sledgehammer, crowbar, and a couple of flatheat screwdrivers.

After a few minutes worth of “persuasion,” with my chosen tools, I could tell that I was going to be able to move the split end of that board.

So I got my portable drill, my drill bits, and four 3 1/2″-long wood screws.

First, I drilled a couple of pilot holes through the chair’s frame, right where I wanted the prodigal board to be reattached.

Then, I pried the board downward with the crowbar in my right hand, while I pushed it down into the exact position with my right foot — while I simultaneously reached around the left side of the chair with my portable drill and screwed one of the long wood screws through the pilot hole, into the split board.

Luckily, that first screw held the split board in the correct position, so I didn’t have to use the crowbar or foot pressure any more — but that one screw wasn’t strong enough to pull the chair’s frame and the board completely together.

There was still about a 1/4″ gap between them.

So I drilled another pilot hole through the frame, a couple of inches away from the first screw.

Then, using my portable drill, I screwed another long screw through the frame and into the split board.

Unfortunately, I soon discovered that the phillips head on that second screw was partially stripped, so I couldn’t tighten it.

But I also couldn’t loosen it.

So I got my vice-grip pliers and tightened them around the screw head, loosening it a little at a time, until it was loose enough to remove with a screwdriver.

I replaced it with an unstripped screw, and then, alternating between tightening each of the two screws, I carefully pulled the chair’s frame and split board completely together.

Then, to give it more strength, I drilled two pilot holes through the board into the frame, and installed two more of the long screws.

When I finished, my wife told me that the chair’s seat felt more comfortable than it ever has, and its foot rest was much easier to use than it ever was.

If you’re a do-it-yourselfer like me, you should know several different ways to remove screws with stripped heads.

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