How To Fix A Wobbly Office Chair [6 Steps]

If you have an office chair that wobbles, then you understand just how frustrating that can be. The embarrassing creaks and the recurrent tipsiness can easily tear into your peace and sanity. Luckily, you don’t need to get rid of your chair that easily. We’ve looked up a sound strategy you can use to restore stability to that shaky chair.  

Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to fixing a wobbly office chair:

  1. Label the joints of your chair
  2. Disassemble the chair
  3. Clean up the pieces
  4. Replace broken or loose dowel pins
  5. Apply adhesive onto the joints
  6. Bind the corner blocks back together

This method is so fun and simple that you won’t need any external assistance. If you still need a more in-depth explanation, we’ve taken the liberty to tear into these points to make the entire process as simple as possible. Stick around for some handy tips as well!

Scandinavian home office interior with office chair and desk, How To Fix A Wobbly Office Chair [6 Steps]

How To Fix A Wobbly Office Chair

What you’ll need:

  • Pencil/marker pen
  • Drill
  • Hammer 
  • Scraper/chisel/sandpaper 
  • Coping saw
  • Wood glue
  • Strap clamp
  • Rag

Step 1: Label Every Part Of Your Chair

Use your pencil to label the joints and parts of your chair using your preferred lettering or numbering system. If the pencil is not clear enough, make small markings using your marker pen. Doing so will make it easy for you to assemble the pieces later on after you’re done with the repairs. 

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Step 2: Carefully Disassemble The Chair

Check for any screw holes around the corner blocks or joints of your chair. Use the drill to take them out. If there are dowel pins or small nails on the joints, use a hammer to hit the joint’s vulnerable areas until it comes apart. Careful with the hammering, though, the last thing you want is to create another issue altogether!

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Step 3: Clean Up The Pieces

Organize the pieces together to avoid losing them later on. Next, use your sandpaper, chisel, or scraper to get rid of old glue on the joints. The tool does a great job, especially when you need to reach tight areas such as around the dowels. Ensure all surfaces are completely smooth before moving to the next step.

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Step 4: Replace Broken Or Loose Dowel Pins

Dowel pins are the small cylindrical materials used to join two pieces of wood. If your chair’s dowel pins are broken or loose, drill it out and replace it with a new one. Compare the length of the new pin with the old one to ensure it fits just right into the mortise holes. If it’s too long, make a mark on it and cut off the extra length using the coping saw.

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Step 5: Apply Adhesive Onto The Joints

Using a small paintbrush, coat all the joints with high-quality wood glue. Don’t worry about using too much of it; the more you apply, the stronger the joint will become. Join the pieces back together according to the markings you made earlier. This will ensure that each piece is fixed in its rightful position.

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Step 6: Bind the Corner Blocks Back Together.

Tighten the newly glued sections of your chair together using the strap clamp. Put a strap all around the body of your chair and fasten the ratchet until it’s tight enough. It’s okay to use an old belt or a rope, but a strap clamp is your best option. Use the rag to wipe off the excess glue to give your chair a clean finish.

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Don’t unfasten the clamp just yet. It’s recommended that you allow at least 24hrs for the glue to dry completely. 

Why Is My Chair Wobbly?

You bought your chair when it was in tip-top shape. Somewhere down the line, the “wobbly chair syndrome” popped up and changed everything good about it. Here are some likely reasons as to why your chair is as noisy and tipsy as it is:

Weak Joints

 Most wooden chairs are pretty lightweight, but they sometimes carry more than they can handle. The extra weight adds unwanted stress to the joints, thereby weakening the joints. The chair becomes wobbly based on how loose the joints get.

Old Wood

How long ago did you buy your chair? If your answer was 20 years ago, then the wobbliness is expected. As time goes by, a lot may happen to the wood – shrinking, termites, breakage – that may gradually lead to the shakiness.

Poor Production

 Chairs made from substandard materials tend to get wobbly faster than high-quality pieces. Sometimes the material used is excellent, but the poor craftsmanship may result in some joints becoming loose, followed by severe wobbliness.

Substandard Repairs

Most people reach out for glue the moment the wobbliness starts creeping in. Wood glue is excellent, but it’s useful only for the short-term. Perform the full repair the right way to avoid fixing the same problem later on.

Before buying your office chair, check for any issues, and follow the essential criteria for picking the ideal chair for your office.  

Why Does My Office Chair Pop?

When your office chair pops when you spin it or move around, the last thing you want to do is replace it. Read on to find out what causes the noise and how you can permanently take care of the problem.

Worn-out washers and bearings often cause the “popping” in most office chairs. These two key components are gradually impacted by constant movement and bear the most damage. 

When the either dry up or crack, they produce the ‘pop’ noise and make it particularly challenging to move around your chair. Contrary to popular opinion, the pop noise doesn’t come from the chair’s undercarriage; it comes from beneath your gas cylinder.

How Do You Fix A Popping Office Chair?

Popping noises is a universal problem that is easily fixable with some proper, old-fashioned lubrication. 

What you need to do is turn your chair upside down to get access to your chair’s bottom part. Place it against a wall or small ladder to ensure it stays in place. Next, unfasten the bottom section of your office chair. 

Clean the bottom side of the gas cylinder thoroughly, then lubricate it with a can of WD-40. Take out the washers and the bearing at the center and lubricate them as well. Take note of their position, since you’ll need to return them later after cleaning.

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The lubricant acts as a corrosion inhibitor to protect the cylinder and other components against corrosive elements such as moisture. It also gets rid of any sticky mechanisms and loosens unwanted bonds that may hinder smooth movement. 

Put everything back together once all the components are squeaky clean and lubricated.

Why Is my Office Chair So Squeaky?

You’re trying to get some work done in your home office and your chair is producing the most annoying squeaks. Ever wondered what the problem might be? 

Well, these squeaky sounds are often caused by loose joints or other moving parts in your office chair e.g. the wheels.

If you wish to spruce up your home office, check out our 25 Wall Décor Ideas for your Home Office.

How Do I Get Rid Of the Squeak Sound?

Solve the problem by identifying where the sound is coming from by listening carefully to specific sound points. Typically, you’ll find the problem in the cushion springs –otherwise known as seat-tension springs. Each time you lean back, the squeaking sound is produced. Of course, the source of the sound varies from one chair to the next.

If you pinpoint the squeaky spot, spray the area with a can of WD-40. Keep a box of paper towels beneath the area you’re spraying to trap the excess drops.

Alternatively, if you can’t point out the exact location, just apply some oil to the seat tension spring. To get to the spring, unfasten the seat tension turn-knob, and then remove it. Spray inside the housing – where the cushion spring is - and return all the parts as it was before.

Get more information about how to lubricate the spring here correctly.

How Do You Tighten A Loose Office Chair?

Worn out pneumatic cylinders cause loose chairs. The cylinders control the height of an office chair via pressurized air. If your chair is loose for one reason or another, try this simple method to tighten your office chair and get it back to normal:

Step 1: Push Up the Plastic Skirt Away From the Cylinder

Most office chairs have a plastic tube right above the extendable cylinder. Push the tube up until the metal cylinder becomes visible.

Step 2: Adjust the Chair to Your Preferred Height

Since you won’t fix this height later after the repair, ensure you get it right. When standing, the seat should be the same height as your knees.

Step 3: Install the Clamp Around the Cylinder

Wrap a ¾ inch (2cm) hose clamp around your chair’s cylinder. Don’t tighten it just yet. Improve the grip by wrapping a few layers of duct tape all around the highest point of the cylinder. 

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Step 4: Tighten the Clamp

Slide the hose clamp to the top of the cylinder, and fasten it by turning the screw in a clockwise motion.

If you did it right, the chair should be tighter than ever. If the hose clamp slides off, improve the grip by fastening it over a strip of rubber.

Final Thoughts

That concludes our short post on how to fix a tipsy office chair. As you’ve noticed, getting rid of the shaky situation involves more than just spreading a good amount of glue on the joints. Follow the step-by-step solutions provided above, and you’ll never have to spend a dime on a new office chair anytime soon!

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