What can I say, I’m definitely a sucker for the down-trodden, the misfit, the broken, and unwanted. So, when someone offers me a piece, whether it’s destined for the trash or just a puzzle for someone to fix, I have a hard time turning them down. Enter in this antique broken rocking chair. Isn’t it lovely?
I mean, just look at those legs, the gorgeous walnut wood. Often, many folks mistake a sewing rocking chair for a child’s chair because of the size. However, these smaller chairs are designed to suit someone with needle and thread, crochet hooks, or knitting needles because it has no arms. That frees up the person to use their elbows without restriction. It’s funny because I totally get it. I have to sit sideways in comfy chairs to get at my work. This chair makes total sense to me.
Where did I get it? Well, a married couple I know that own a thrift store are sweet friends of mine, Ben and Ashley. They were offered by a kind donor to come take a myriad of furniture she was storing in her barn, both broken and sound. This broken rocking chair was one of them. Ben offered it to me because it needs more than just a cleaning.
It’s obviously missing the caning in the seat, but also has a break in the backrest. Ugh. It’s sad when something like this happens. Not to worry, though, because it is repairable. Yay!
First, I notice that the wood is more on the dry side – probably from sitting in the barn for who knows how long. Also, there seems to be something added to the backrest originally as seen below. The direction of the grain is of utmost importance in furniture building, but apparently someone knew straight off that this was weak in this spot.
Then, to remedy the damage, I drill three holes the diameter of the dowel I’m using (3/8″) in from the back connecting to the seat and upright leg.
After that, I use wood glue and insert the dowel, as well as glue the crack. Once the dowel is in, I cut it to length and let cure.
Next, once the dowel is in, I countersink 2 ½” screws into the dowel. Why? Well, the dowel is to strengthen the wood, and the screws will add reinforced support to hold the weight of someone leaning back. Last, I insert wood plugs over the screw heads and then apply wood putty and also let that cure. After curing, I sand it down and move on to the next step.
My first choice to repair the seat is to build a new seat out of jute webbing like I’ve done in other upholstery projects. Unfortunately, I was short in my webbing stock by a few inches. Therefore, I decide to cut a piece of ply to cover the hole in the seat instead. This works perfectly fine too.
COLOR & FABRIC TIME
As much as I really dislike having to say it’s time to paint…it’s time to paint. While I love to keep the wood center stage, it’s not possible with all the repairs I make. With that, I decide to bring this chair a modern vibe with nod to days gone by. Additionally, you can see the same situation when I found a broken settee curbside as well.
I choose blue because of the upholstery I’m using from my stash. It’s the same blue I just used on the marble inlay table and also on my dining ceiling. Next, is upholstery and batting. Everyone loves a cushy tush, so first goes on the batting.
Followed by the upholstery and trim. Isn’t this the exciting part? wahoo! I used this same upholstery on an Art Deco dressing table seen HERE in this past post.
At last we can see the results of my broken rocking chair makeover. Take a look…
It’s got a modern vibe that makes you smile and is still comfy for using as a sewing rocker or any day rocker. Not only do I love the size of these because they fit in anywhere, but also the gait is soothing. And, how about that upholstery?
It’s cheerful and full of soft colors, and also has fabric protection for longevity. I can see this in my sewing/craft room one day. However, I’m offering it in my online shop as my lil’ ol’ self can’t seem to move from my current spot just yet.
It’s funny how inanimate things can send you down memory lane before you can blink. My mother had an antique folding needlepoint rocking chair in the corner of their bedroom. I remember sitting on it waiting for my mom to get reach for church. Have you had a special rocking chair in your life?
I’d love to hear your stories and walk down memory lane with you. Likewise, do pin and share this broken rocking chair repair so that others can salvage their loved one’s furniture items too. Some times it just needs a willing spirit.
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