DIY Project: Patio Swivel Chair Repair

Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve loved sitting in an old-time patio chair. For some reason, the swivel action of these chairs is just so much fun to me! Sadly, with time and use these chairs often need repair before they can be used again.

In this how-to article, we’ll go over how you can fix your own vintage patio swivel chair using only basic tools and supplies that are easy to find at any local hardware store or home improvement retailer.

patio swivel chair


Steps on Repairing Vintage Patio Swivel Chairs

Step 1. Clean the Chair: Before you do anything, make sure that your chair is clean of dirt or other debris. You can use a vacuum cleaner to suck up any dust bunnies and loose leaves in the bottom of the seat or on the backside armrests where they connect with the pole. If there are stains present, give the seat a good scrubbing with your favourite stain removing agent.

Step 2. Repair the Outer Frame: The outer frame of an old patio swivel chair may need to be repaired if it has been gnawed on by squirrels or rabbits, is bent out of shape, cracked in two places, or just needs some fresh paint and new screws.

Step 3. Repair the Inner Frame: The inner frame of an old patio swivel chair may need to be repaired if it is broken in two places, or just needs some fresh paint and new screws.

Step 4. Remove Rust: If there are rust spots on your metal pieces, you will want to remove them before painting. You can use a wire brush to scrape off any visible rust. It’s best if you can soak the metal pieces in a solution of vinegar and water for about an hour before scrubbing them again with the wire brush, this will help remove stubborn spots.

Step 5. Prime it: Once your frame has been cleaned up, give all surfaces a good coat of primer before painting. This will help the paint adhere better.

Step 6. Paint it: Once you have given your frame a good coat of primer, grab some acrylic spray paint and go to town! Make sure that you use a light enough colour so that future rust spots won’t show through as much. If necessary, add another coat or two of primer after you are done painting.

Step 7. Protect it: Finally, once you have given your frame a good coat of paint, add some clear acrylic sealant to help protect against future rust spots.


What is Vintage Patio Swivel Chairs?

Most vintage patio swivel chairs were made in the 40s and 50s, but any chair that is at least 30 years old would qualify.

The way these chairs work is by having a metal pole inside of two wooden or plastic discs: one fixed to the ground (or weighted) and one on top with a fabric seat. The two discs are connected by a metal swivel.


What is the DIY Repair Process?

The first step in repairing your vintage patio swivel chair is removing it from its base and disassembling how everything looks like on the inside of each disc, including taking out any rust spots that you find along the way. After.

Here are some common problems with these chairs:

  • The fabric is worn and torn, or it has faded from UV exposure
  • The paint on the frame has been damaged by rust spots, sun damage, etc.


How to fix Sagging Patio Chairs

If the fabric on your chair is worn or torn, you can remove it and replace it with new fabric using a staple gun. If there are rust spots on the frame of your patio swivel chairs, use a wire brush to clean off any paint that’s flaking by sanding down how rusty areas then spray-paint them with rust-inhibiting paint.


How to Lubricate Patio Swivel Chair Bearings

Many of the problems with these chairs are related to how dry they have become. If you’ve been storing a chair outdoors, it’s likely that its bearings have dried out and need some lubrication.

There’s no need for anything fancy – simply take an old can of WD-40 or silicone spray and liberally apply them to the bearings and the metal surfaces inside the chair frame.


How to Fix Outdoor Chair Swivel Mechanism

One of the problems with these chairs is how they were manufactured. Over time, metal parts have been weakened by rust and corrosion. The best way to fix this problem is to go back through all of the steps in how you originally assembled it. If any screws are loose or missing, replace them with new ones that fit perfectly into place.

Ideally, you should have a small toolbox close at hand to store these items. With all the parts and tools in one place, it’s much easier to figure out how to do this project. If you’re not sure how something fits together or how it functions, refer back to your original assembly instructions before proceeding with repairs.


What is the Best Lubricant for Rocking Chair Swivel Bearings?

I would use a furniture oil, which is in the same family as WD-40. I have found that it can extend how long these bearings last and how smooth they are for many years longer than without lubricant.

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