When Sitting Is A Contact Sport

July 1, 2016




So yesterday, I was sitting in my kitchen, working on some writing pieces, when my daughter jumped up from her chair at the island with an audible moan.

What's wrong?

Something pinched me. 

She said this looking at the stool. When she looked back at me with a forlorn expression, I knew it wasn't good.

The seat broke.

Oh no.
I was afraid of that. Apparently in our house, sitting is a contact sport.

After fifteen plus years, a strand of the rush had just worn away and snapped in two, leaving behind a hole.


Fabulous.

Now, I can sew and paint and drill and nail, but the one thing I know ~ without a doubt ~ that I cannot do, is repair rush seating. I have seen it done and it is way beyond me.

It's not necessarily because of the weaving itself, I get the process, but it has to be done in a precise manner that will stand the test of time. It's a skill and an art form.

Definitely not a super easy DIY, so this Exquisitely Unremarkable girl was out.

No big deal. I called the repair shop.

The nice man on the phone gave me an estimate of $200.

Yeah. I was back in.

When I couldn't find anything applicable on Google, I started examining the seat myself.

I figured I could do something to patch it, even if it was only a short term kind of fix.

So I dug in.

First, I checked out the construction. I knew that pulling the broken strand out could potentially cause a major unraveling event. I flipped the chair over to peek, and luckily, the broken piece's counterpart underneath the seat was very long and it was firmly anchored. If I cut it, nothing else would be affected.

Perfect.

I could remove the broken piece from the bottom and since it was long enough, use it as a patch.


Here's the thing.

I am no professional and 99% of the DIYs I attempt are trial and error, but my philosophy is, if it's not an heirloom, looks like it could be a quick job and I am going to have to pay someone else big bucks to fix it, why not try it on my own.

What's the worst that could happen? I may be paying a slightly larger repair bill?

I could deal with that.

So I decided to give it a shot.

I pulled that piece through and cut it away from the chair.

Then I grabbed the broken piece from the top of the seat and trimmed it.


There was a hard center and several strands of softer material that wrapped around that inner support. I separated the strands from the support and cut the firm inner pieces away. I wanted to keep the outer strands to wrap around the patch piece, to camouflage the joined area.


Next, I threaded one end of the patch piece through the center to the bottom of the chair and laid the rest of it down in the hole created by the break.


It fit together like a puzzle. I anchored it with A LOT of hot glue.


Then I gently wrapped those soft strands that I had freed up earlier around the end of the new piece, so it looked like it fit in the space and glued the heck out of that, too.

Of course, I burned myself in the process, because I was using my fingers to smooth the glue down.

Not smart.

That's just about the time that my husband came into the room and suggested I use the back of a razor blade to do that and the front of the razor blade to trim away any excess fibers.

He is smart.


So that's what I did.

Finally, I turned the chair upside down and glued the piece in place from there, too.

Is it perfect?

No.


Would you notice the repair if you came over and didn't know about it?

No way.

Will it last?

We'll see.

We use these chairs every day, but it's pretty solid right now.


Of course, if you have any helpful tips for me or have actually re-rushed (is that a word?) or repaired a chair, I would love to hear about it.

I know that this is the beginning of the end for these Pottery Barn stools and while I absolutely adore them, I do not want to invest four hundred bucks for a fix.

Would you?


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Oh and like I said, the sitting gets rough around here, so here are some other recent chair repairs.








   

70 comments:

  1. Hi Kim, great fix and looks perfect. I knew you could patch it. Thanks for sharing. I'll remember this if this happens to mine!!have a great holiday weekend. Happy 4th of July.

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    1. Thank you so much! It was a quick project so I’m glad I attempted it! :)

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  2. Wow Kim, you are amazing! I would have never thought to do that and try to fix it myself. It is crazy at how expensive that repair man wanted to charge you. You can just go buy a new one for that!
    My kitchen table and chairs are so old. It's about 20 years old but we love the wood table and chairs. We can eat, do homework, arts and crafts and so on are done on that table!!! LOL.
    Enjoy the weekend and have a happy 4th of July! :)

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    1. Thanks so much Julie, you are too sweet!! :) I am glad I gave it a shot, I just couldn’t justify the repair cost at this time.

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  3. Great job Kim. Looks great. Happy 4th.
    Kris

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  4. Kim, you are far more persistent than I am. I have two rush-bottomed bar stools, much older than yours and I'm afraid they were downgraded to less important uses and a pillow put over the seat when the very same thing happened.

    I think you deserve a special reward for this job!

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    1. Thanks so much, Dewena! And trust me, I think those pillow days are coming!! ;)

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  5. Well, aren't you a clever girl? AND you save yourself some $$$! Crazy charge for that, huh? But- you are paying an artist a fee for fixing, I guess. You did a great job and no one ever know it was repaired.

    Hope you have a great 4th, Kim. xo Diana

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    1. It really would require an artist to fix it properly, Diana, you are so right. Some day, when the repair gets large, I may go there, but for now, my $1.99 glue gun did the trick!

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  6. Kim - looks like a great fix/mend
    Well Done

    Wishing you a happy July

    All the best Jan

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    1. Thank you, Jan! You are always so kind!

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  7. You did a fantabulous job!!! If the end comes sooner rather than later, you could always remove the rush, pad and upholster a fitted piece of plywood and carry on like you bought them that way :^)
    You are such a good worker.....Would you like about a two month visit to Texas? :^) I have lots of things to work on, and it is warm in winter!!
    Have a wonderful weekend and be safe!
    Blessings,
    J

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    1. I would love to spend some time in Texas, J! The winters are cold here and it's way more fun to craft in the sun! If only...

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  8. Kim, you are a girl after my own heart! I share your views on DIY--hey trial and error is you learn, right?! Your chair looks great, BTW! Happy Fourth weekend!

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    1. Trial and error is my middle name! Well that and cheap! ;-)

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  9. Hi Kim!

    Good job fixing the seat. i was thinking for the future if you love the chairs maybe you could replace the rush seat with either a wood seat (probably expensive) or cover an inexpensive piece of wood with batting and fabric, leather or something similar, kind of like replacing the fabric on a dining room chair. I have chairs similar to yours but the seat is padded and covered in black leather(?). at least this way you could still keep the pretty chair frame. Hope you and the family have a very Happy 4th of July! xoxo Jen

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    1. Hi Jen! I love it when you check in and comment! I have thought about that and I am already planning my fabric replacement. I think that this one little break is the beginning of a much larger problem...so I am brainstorming. I appreciate the ideas and I am filing them all away. I just hope these repairs are needed later, instead of sooner!! ;) xoxox

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  10. I have a thin red cushion on top of my rush barstools - you may want to think about that, to protect them from future damage.

    At least until the kids move out! :)

    And remember....a galloping elephant won't notice it!

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    1. Red cushions are definitely part of the future plan! And I LOVE that galloping elephant saying. I have been thinking about it and I am contemplating a sign!! Thank you!!

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  11. good grief! beautiful job!
    YOU are nothing short of AMAZING.
    the things you tackle and accomplish. it boggles this lazy non-DIYer's (is that even a word?)
    mind!!! have a LOVELY holiday weekend dear bean!
    XO♥

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    1. Thank you so much, Tammy!! I don't know about amazing, but I am pretty good with a glue gun! ;-)

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  12. No way would I pay! Great job! I would have tried fixing it just like you did although I am not sure my results would be as good. It looks as good as new.

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    1. Perhaps if the break was larger, I would’ve considered paying…maybe…but for that tiny tear, no way!! ;)

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  13. Kim those are really hard to repair. Whenever one of mine breaks that is the end of that. I usually just add a cushion on top and I'm done. Kudos to you for doing the undoable... of course with a price tag of $200 to repair it, why would you not attempt it. It looks perfecty new from where I'm sitting. Have a great 4th of July weekend.

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    1. Thank you, Mary. I am not really sure how long my fix will last. It's a quick fix for a small break, but I do see cushions in my future! ;)

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  14. Kim, that looks really great! I'm with you on giving it a try. $200 is way too much! You could buy new chairs for that amount of money!

    Thanks for the links to other repairs too!

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    1. I think you're right, Deanna, I could buy new chairs for that price!

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  15. You did an amazing job, and no, I don't think I would pay that much to repair it. That's almost as much as a new chair would cost!

    You are so resourceful Kim!

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    1. Thanks Doreen. I figured I had to at least try! :)

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  16. Sure looks good to me! I don't think I'd have your patience.
    Brenda

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    1. Trust me, Brenda, I am not patient. It really took very little time!

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  17. Good job!! I don't think I would have attempted it myself. I would have tossed a seat cushion on it and called it a fix!

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    1. Trust me, Kathy, I was ready to do that!

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  18. You are such a little handy dandy gal! I think it looks great and no, I would not have paid the $200 either. Great job!
    hugs,
    Jann

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    1. Thanks Jann!! Handy dandy gal...I like it! ;)

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  19. Hey Kim,
    I got a "helpful tip." Just glue the broken piece back down...LOL. Only thing is, it won't be as pretty as your final result.

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    1. I am sure it would be great, Florence!! :) And thank you!!

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  20. I love how you grab the bull by the horns. This was no easy project, at least in figuring out what to do. Kudos to you!

    Jane

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    1. Thanks Jane, it was like a puzzle, but once I figured it out, it was a quick repair! :)

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  21. I think it was a "winner fix" . . .
    Looks perfect to me . . ,

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  22. Great fix, Kim, and hot glue is the "HandyWoman's" best tool! Kind of sad that we can replace something cheaper than we can repair them....we have become such a "throw away" society and so wasteful. I remember when people actually repaired their televisions. There were tubes and tube tester machines at the hardware store....of course, those televisions were ginormous!

    Hope you have a lovely 4th of July!
    Hugs,
    Carol

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    1. I agree, Carol...with everything you just said, especially the glue gun comment! It really is my best friend! ;)

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  23. You did a great job and it looks perfect!

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    1. I agree, Carol...with everything you just said, especially the glue gun comment! It really is my best friend! ;)

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  24. Kim, if sitting is a contact sport that I must be quite an athlete! Wonderful job on the fixing. You are entirely too clever..Have a wonderful 4th..xxo Judy

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    1. Haha!! Judy, you just made me laugh...and trust me, sitting is the only "sport" that I excel at! ;)

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  25. Great job on your fix! I have no idea how to truly fix one of these seats, but you can Google it - a lot comes up. And no, I certainly wouldn't pay $400 to get those seats fixed!

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    1. A lot does come up, Melanie. There are some very creative folks out there. My fix is pretty basic and there is no weaving involved whatsoever. Have glue gun will try…anything!! ;-)

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  26. Wow, I didn't know how to fix this type of chairs. Great post.

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    1. Thanks Vanessa. I don't think mine fix is the "right" way, but it definitely worked. For now!! ;)

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  27. Dear Kim ... you are one talented lady. You never cease to amaze me with all of your projects. Blessings ♥ Teri

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    1. Thank you Teri, you are so sweet!! :)

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  28. Great job. I understand how you burnt yourself with hot glue. I try to remember to use a wooden skewer or popsicle stick and for desperate measures a big aluminum knitting needle or an awl. But- a couple of years back, I discovered Fabri-Tac glue. Love it.
    Myrna

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    1. I have to get better about using tools, Myrna! I forget that fingers are flammable ~ or burnable!! ;)

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  29. If anyone could fix it, I knew you would! $200 is a lot of money, and you did a great tutorial on how to fix something as difficult as this - you are amazing :) Hope you are doing well - June has been a busy month, but I hope that in July things will slow down a bit! :)

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    1. You are so kind, thank you. June was busy around here, too, here's to a calm July...although it's not really shaping up the way! I hope you are having better luck! ;)

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  30. Kim,
    Such a nifty fix! Love how you have the will and always find a way:)
    Happy post 4th of July!
    Jemma

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    1. Thanks Jemma. Being cheap is a great motivator! ; )

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  31. You always do a great job.
    How funny, my parents just bought me a chair at an auction that needs some work. And guess who I thought of immediately, YOU!
    xx oo
    Carla

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    1. Thank you, Carla. I got lucky with this one. I bet your chair is neat! I wish we lived closer, I would totally work with you!! How fun!

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  32. You are so smart! We have these same chairs at our dinner table. I thought you were going to talk about them being uncomfortable...because they are. :)

    You were so wise to fix it on your own and you made it look simple. :)

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    1. I like a soft bottom seat too, Stacey. My kids sit in the stools, I sit in my patchwork chair! Very comfy!! ;)

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  33. Great fix and it looks good as new. :)

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    1. Thank you, Kristi. It still looks great!

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