How do I strengthen old wooden bentwood chairs?

by C.S

I have several old bentwood chairs and they are all creaky and wobbly. Some worse than others. I originally thought it would be easy to just strengthen them with something from the local hardware shop but after looking and searching i don't think it's as easy as it sounds. I was hoping for a quick easy solution. Any ideas?

  14 answers
  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Oct 17, 2020

    Hello. My easy solution for wonky old chairs was some acrylic nail powder and superglue. Placed on doweled cracks seams this tightened all the loosened joints on the underside of the chairs. It was an invisible and structual repair.

    My husband said I wasted money on thrift store chairs and they have been serviceable for about 15+ years. Perhaps you can consider trying this technique with some on-hand powder that doesn't dissolve and superglue to assist your problem.

    • See 3 previous
    • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Oct 17, 2020

      Hello. The powder that I used was something I just had on hand.

      I’ve used it in crafting before. It is an acrylic sandy powder that’s used for filling in artificial nails.

      Sometimes can be found as a stand alone product in the beauty section. See photo below.

      There could be an alternative powder to use that doesn’t happen to dissolve.

      Something like very fine sand might work. Often they have fine sand at the dollar tree. The economical price would be right there!

      The powder or sand is pushed or packed into the cracks ( toothpick)

      Glue is applied then its sealed as it forms into a solid with the glue. The joints are nice and tight once the glue has cured.

      I hope this helps and you can fully restructure your chairs to your satisfaction.

      comment photo
  • 17335038 17335038 on Oct 17, 2020


    Acrylic nail powder is a product that used by nail salons. It is put on artificial nails instead of regular nail polish as it is dries quickly to a very hard durable finish.

    I would not expect staff at a hardware store to be familiar with this product.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Oct 17, 2020


    Use WD-40 on the Screw fixings if they are stiff, and then tighten them up!.

  • Very often the glue that was used is old, cracked an/or missing. Regluing them is important and tightening any joints/screws. Here's a link on regluing:

  • Maura White Maura White on Oct 17, 2020

    Find the exact places or joints that are wobbly. You may just need to re-glue them.

  • on Oct 17, 2020

    Have you tried regluing the joints? You can get a glue injecting kit that works wonders.

  • Ken Erickson Ken Erickson on Oct 17, 2020

    I'm thinking that disassembly and re-glue is best option. I did that with an old stool base and added a top since it didn't have one.

  • Cheryl A Cheryl A on Oct 17, 2020

    These are lovely! here is info for you

  • Here are some good tips:

  • William William on Oct 17, 2020

    Looks like somebody tried a repair with nuts and bolts. That's good for keeping two mating joints together but there will still be movement. Best solution is to take them apart, clean any glue off, and reglue with wood glue. Clamp the joints until the glue dries. Any loose joints can be filled with scraps of wood, toothpicks, or golf tees.

  • Baxter Baxter on Oct 20, 2020

    Those bentwood chairs are wonderful. Bentwood chairs were originally built to be held together by the seat/front legs/round base stretcher with 6 screws. Looks like your chairs have been fixed with new screws that are too large for a tight fit---or the screw holes got larger from wear over time. Some very old Bentwoods were originally built with nuts inside the front legs to keep the legs tight, so you may need to use new bolts/nuts since the holes are through & through. Keep looking for a good fitting screw and use an epoxy wood glue (like Loctite Epoxy Quick Set) in those screw holes for a good tight fit. I would also brown paint the screws/nuts/bolts to keep them from showing up as much. Good luck!

  • C.S C.S on Oct 20, 2020

    Hey thanks so much everyone. I will look into these suggestions and get onto it. It doesn't seem such a job with all your wonderful suggestions. Thanks again!

  • Agnes Chrzanowska Agnes Chrzanowska on Oct 31, 2020

    w40 will for sure help and then tighten screws