We have old dining chairs with a teak base and a bent plywood backrest and seat, originally from the UK supposedly but bought at McCarney’s in SF. They’re old and well-used, so the screw holes in the plywood seat are getting loose. When the holes blow out and the seat comes off, these are the steps to fix them:
- Pull away any badly blown out chips of the seat base plywood so that you can get it properly level later with filler.
- Drill out the stripped hole with a 15/64″ bit. Use masking tape to mark how deep you should go without blowing through the top.
- Put a drop of wood glue in the hole and use a toothpick or similar to spread it around.
- Hammer a 1/4″ fluted dowel in to the hole and let the glue dry as long as it needs.
- Saw the end of the dowel off as flush as you can, then sand down the dowel and any rough bits.
- Use wood filler to fill any dings or gaps, and allow it to set up before sanding.
- Align the base on the seat to the indentations that are already there, then lightly hammer the screws in to create divots for your pilot holes.
- Drill pilot holes in your dowels where the divots are. They should be pretty centered on the dowels, and about the same depth as when you drilled out the stripped hole in step #2.
- Screw the base on to the seat.
Quick tip: Buy wood filler in the little can, not a tube. The tube dries out very quickly and is impossible to un-jam. Also, if the stripped hole is a real mess and seems like it needs to be larger than about 1/4″, get the next size up fluted dowel. The bit you use should be 1/64″ smaller than the dowel ideally, or the same size if that’s not possible. If you can’t find dowels the size you want, you can go down the toothpick / matchstick route.
Two down, two to go.