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The correct way to repair a broken chair stretcher

I see a lot of bad repair jobs come through my shop and most of the time, the furniture is here to have the repair repaired! I thought I’d publish an article on correctly performing a very common repair on a typical chair – a broken stretcher. I’ve seen repairs using everything from sheetrock screws to duct tape and everything in between but instead of reaching for the Gorilla glue(this stuff doesn’t belong on the list of things that exist on our planet), you may as well fix it in a lasting way.

It’s difficult to say what the hardest part of this repair is.  Some shops would argue it’s in the shaping of the new wood, while others might contend that matching the color and finish of the new wood to the old is where they struggle.  As for me, I don’t break it down that way.  This whole process to me, is pure fun.  I love matching things and trying to make it look like it never happened – it’s a challenge every time, but always entertaining.

Lets move on and I’ll show you exactly what happens when you bring a poor little chair with a broken stretcher to Lauer Furniture Restoration.  It’s worth mentioning that this repair method applies to more than just a broken stretcher – this technique is the correct way to repair many furniture breaks including chair back spindles and legs, table legs and more. It’s a solid method and properly executed, it’s literally as strong as it was new.


6 comments… add one
  • Sharron L Gurman

    That is so cool to see how it is done right. Very impressive. Thax

  • Patty Soriano

    Mike, I am having this issue right now with a broken stretcher in the front. Hubby and I have refinished and repaired furniture for quite awhile, learning from my parents who did it for a long time. We have all the tools, so no problem there. My question is How did you cut the stretcher and dowel to match at the same angle ? Thank you !

    • Patty – It’s all in the wrist… Just kidding:)

      In all seriousness, the angle isn’t as important as the grain run and length of the joint. After you cut the bad part off the stretcher, you could literally glue a 12″ x 12″ block of wood onto it as long as the grain run is good. Once you’re done with the glue up, it’s all trimming from there. Get it close on your bandsaw, then finish up with a draw knife, spoke shave, or heck, even a belt sander if you’ve got steady hands.

      Good luck!

  • Cheryl

    What kind of chisel is that? I have a Narex corner chisel but your chisel is more rounded.

    • The chisel in the picture is a Narex.

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