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How To Repair A Wooden Outdoor Rocking Chair

Some people just toss out old patio furniture, but not you. You’re the kind of handyman (or woman) who knows how to get the most mileage out of a piece of furniture. An outdoor rocking chair can be a cherished piece passed down through the generations. Keep yours looking like the day you bought it with some repair tips.

Problem #1: Uneven or discolored finish
To repair the aesthetic portion of your outdoor rocking chair, you will first need to strip away any visible traces of an existing finish. You can use a finish stripper or just sandpaper. You can also use a putty knife to get off any especially thick spots, but be careful not to nick the wood. Once the surface is smooth and free of varnish, clean off all surfaces to ensure that the finish sticks better. Then, you can apply one to two coats of a finish of your choice, an oil-based varnish or paint, for example.

Problem #2: Damaged spindles
One feature found on many a wooden outdoor rocking chair is spindles. These are the rod-shaped pieces of wood that make up the backrest and sometimes hold up the armrests as well. The problem is that these can often be quite thin and delicate and prone to breaking.

To remove, use a hammer and punch, but in the armrests substitute a non-slip pad in order to twist out the spindles. If you cannot find an exact match for your existing spindles, you will want to remove them all and buy an all new matching set. When replacing the spindles, clamp them into the chair until the glue has a chance to fully dry.

Problem #3: Mold, stains and discoloration
If the finish is not a problem, but the wood itself has become discolored from black mold or some other stain, you can do one of two things: you can either cover and hide the stain, or try and remove it. To hide the stain, clean the wood off using soap and water and then apply a coat of an opaque or stain-hiding primer. Then you can choose whatever color to paint your outdoor rocking chair once the primer is completely dry.

However, if you want to try and preserve the natural coloration of the wood, you might opt to remove the stain, which is slightly trickier. To be the most gentle on the wood, go from mildest to strongest cleaners when trying out what works. For mild stains and buildup, try soap and warm water or a wood-safe cleaner, like Murphy’s.

If that doesn’t work, use a stronger cleaner, but avoid power washers, as they can damage the surface and grain of wood. A stronger solvent like chlorine or bleach mixed with water is effective, but work in small, concentrated areas using gloves and goggles and do not let the mixture sit for too long on the chair, as it will start to eat away at the wood.

Problem #4: Broken or uneven pieces
If the seat or other parts of your outdoor rocking chair have fallen into disrepair you can do a few different things. For small cracks, you can either try to sand them out so that they not spread, or else try gluing small pieces of wood directly into the cracks.

For bigger cracks, rotted or warped wood or completely broken pieces, you will want to replace that section altogether. This is a bigger job best left to professionals if you’re unsure, but if you do decide to do it, make sure the wood you choose is even and matches. Try to replace as little wood as possible, as this will change how the chair contour fits and looks.