Not all furniture is created equal. Some parts don’t last, but you can save and repair furniture by rebuilding the damaged area. Remove the damaged legs, create a wood template and rebuild the furniture legs to save your old furniture. Repairing furniture, furniture fix, how to repair wood furniture, furniture repair, repairing wood furniture, wood furniture repair, replace the base of a cedar chest, cedar chest replacement feet, broken base repair, cedar chest damaged base, repair cedar chest base, replace cedar chest base.
Many pieces that come into the shop for a makeover require minor furniture repairs. That is to be expected with old furniture. But what is not normally expected is when an entire rebuild and replace is necessary to save and repair furniture. Though not expected, does not mean that it is not possible. Let’s talk about how to fix furniture by removing the damage, creating a template to build a new piece and replace the damaged base on a Lane cedar chest.
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Tools & Supplies to Repair Furniture
Materials Needed / Source List
Unfinished & Damaged Lane Cedar Chest
When my customer brought in her vintage cedar chest for a makeover she mentioned that one of the feet needed to be fixed. Right from the start, we flipped the chest over to get started on the furniture repairs. I can tell right off the bat that the base of this chest is made from Presswood aka particle board.
Initially, I tried to wood glue the damaged furniture areas and secure with trigger clamps.
But as it turns out there is more damage than just that one backfoot area. If you look closely you can see that the particle board is pretty much crumbling in areas. I can’t in good conscious just wood glue and hope for the best. I considered using wood glue and then bondo around the damaged areas to strengthen. But even that feels more like putting lipstick on a pig and it won’t last.
Deciding on Whether to Repair Furniture for a Temporary or Permanent Fix
At this point, the decision is made to remove the abundance of trigger clamps and take off that damaged bottom. Using a small flathead screwdriver and a hammer I, very carefully, separate and remove the base of the chest.
By doing a little at a time I am able to remove the entire bottom without completely destroying the base pieces. We will need these pieces to create a template to build a new base.
Creating a Template for a New Furniture Base
Next, clean up your mess and you will need to get a piece of wood. I scooped up a sheet at Home Depot. Lay your wood on the floor and place your broken base pieces on the wood. Make sure to line up the flat part of the old pieces with the natural flat part of the new wood. It just makes things easier for you.
Trace the outline of the old pieces on to your new wood.
You can use all sides of the wood and lay it out. Do what is easiest.
Cutting Your New Furniture Pieces
Now that you have your pieces traced out you will need to cut them. Using the scroll saw you can carefully cut out the new base pieces of wood. Here is a video showing how easy it is to cut out the new base pieces.
I love this thing! Girl geek moment.
Once you have all of your pieces of wood cut out from your template you will need to smooth the rounded areas. Since this piece of furniture has a decorative curvy bottom we are copying the same pattern and need to smooth the rounded areas. The spindle sander is perfect for this.
Next, place your newly cut pieces of wood on to the base to make sure that they all fit properly.
Since we are changing the corners from the original to a butt joint we will need to slightly trim the length of the sides. Using a miter saw with the laser guide makes this part much easier. You can find them HERE.
You should now be all set and ready to attach your newly built base to your old furniture.
Furniture Repair – Attaching New Base
It’s time to glue and screw. Grab your wood glue, electric drill, and wood screws. Attach the front piece of the base first.
Add the side pieces and secure with wood screws. Or you can use a Kreg pocket hole jig, which I completely forgot about at the time of the project because mine is at the bottom of a box in the corner of my shop. (face plam)
Don’t forget to add additional support for the back. With your scrap wood, cut two pieces of wood in triangle shapes to add to the back of the side pieces.
Go ahead and secure these the same as the others with glue and screws.
Inside the corners, you should also add a piece to butt up inside the corners for added support.
Patching Up Screws and Seams – Furniture Repair
We now want to cover any signs of the furniture repair, like these screws for example.
To do this, I am opting to use Bondo.
Bondo is a pretty hardcore filler that is applied over all of the screws as well as the seams where the base pieces meet.
Once you apply your bondo, you must wait until it is completely dry and then sand it smooth.
Make sure to sand any other areas that may require it and once satisfied you can flip your repaired furniture over to being the makeover.
Now you can continue to Part 2 and see the makeover of this cedar chest: How to Give Your Lane Cedar Chest a Farmhouse Finish
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