Glider Chair Clean Up

While on one of my morning walks, I discovered a glider chair sitting on the side of the road destined for the garbage truck. The chair was filthy, but the glider was very smooth and robust. I have long been a sucker for any type of chair/swing/seat that allows you to gently rock back and forth, so I picked the chair up and started cleaning it up. As best as I can guess the chair was exposed to the elements, and somewhere along the line one of the arms was broken off the chair. This post will show and describe the steps I took to clean the glider up.

Condition of the glider before being rescued from the trash pile.

Dirt accumulated on the glider

Obviously before my wife would let this chair anywhere near the inside of the house, everything needed to be cleaned, sanded down, and given a new life with a couple coats of paint. Additionally the chair needed a right arm.

After sanding down to the bare wood and applying two base coats of white paint, a neutral ivory color was chosen as the final color for the glider

The majority of the cost in this project was for spray paint (four cans total, at $3.50 each). I elected to spray on the base coats instead of brush them on with all of the dowels on this chair. I can’t say I came out ahead or not because of this decision, it seems like a lot of paint flew off into the air. To replicate the chairs missing arm I traced the shape of the good arm onto a 1×4 and used the table saw and router table to add the subtle slants and curves. The existing arm utilized knock down fasteners to secure the arm to the chair. Not having that option for the new arm I used a combination of wood glue, wood screws, and dowels to secure the new arm. Only time will tell if I succeded in building a sturdy new chair arm.

Gluing the chair new arm in place

The left arm was copied from the only original arm on the right

As is often the case with a project like this getting all of pieces back together took a couple of attempts. Having never actually sat in the chair before, it seems to be a bit shorter than I remember, but after a few assembly/dis-assembly cycles and looking reference photos I took, I got everything the way it should be.

Cleaned and painted, ready for new cushions


About Ryan

Ryan is currently a National Research Council Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Air Force Research Laboratory. His research area includes Prognostic Health Management of Electronics. For more information please visit:
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