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Repair a Metal Chair

Q.  We have an expensive lawn chair that my son managed to break. It’s a cast metal chair, and the hand rest is broken away from the connecting chair leg. It turns out that once the chair was broken, the armrest and leg no longer wanted to line up, and trying to clamp them back together put a lot of tension on the repair connection. I did make a temporary repair with some J.B. Weld, but it was very difficult to reposition the armrest/leg, and required some heavy clamps to join the pieces securely. Still, after about a week, the repair broke again when moving the chair to a new location, and I’m sure it was due to the lateral tension at the repair joint. What else can I try to salvage the chair?

A.  The J.B. Weld epoxy is strong stuff, but it can fail when two pieces of metal are under stress to pull away from each other. Try using a kind of splint in conjunction with the J.B. Weld. If it’s a solid cast chair then there is probably enough material to drill a small hole in the broken area of both the leg and the armrest. Insert a metal rod halfway into the hole in the chair leg. Then thread the hole in the armrest over the protruding rod, just like making a dowel connection in woodworking. Reapply more J.B. Weld to the connection, and clamp the pieces tightly. Allow it to dry completely. With any luck, the steel rod will brace the connection from the stress that wants to pull the chair apart and allow the epoxy to do its job.

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