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Monday, March 24 2014

Hoe to fix a butterfly leaf table.

Four components allow a butterfly leaf table to close: the hinges, the sliders, the runners and the center bar with the brace that holds the table solidly in place after it has fully opened. These must all be working properly to allow the table to close up. If any one of them malfunctions, you will not be able to close the table. However, fixing this issue is a task that virtually anyone with do-it-yourself experience will be able to accomplish.
Crawl beneath the table, and tighten down any loose screws with a screwdriver, including the hinge screws and the slider mechanism mounting screws. If any of the screws have become loose, the hardware pieces can become misaligned, and the table will not close properly or won't close at all.
Lubricate all of the metal moving parts with a spray lubricant. Spray the entire hinge or hinges, the metal sliders and the attachment points for the center bar that allow it to swivel. Even if the table will not close after lubricating the parts, attempt to work the lube in by flexing the hinge and moving the sliders by pulling the table out and then pushing it back in. The sliders on a butterfly leaf table allow the table to be pulled apart when closing or opening the table. If the problem was lack of lubrication, as you work the lube into the fixtures, the table will suddenly begin to fold up and close.
Wax any wooden runners that the leaf slides on, by rubbing a paraffin-based wood wax block over them. The runners are small "shelves" beneath the table that the leaf slides along as it folds up and closes. When fully closed, it will rest on these runners until the table is pulled apart and the butterfly leaf is deployed. Only three or four strokes on each side is needed. After waxing, press on the center hinge to help the table fold.
Sand any places on the table where wood rubs on wood and makes closing difficult or impossible. Use 100-grit sandpaper for this so that you don't remove too much wood at a time. Sand only areas that cannot be seen. For example, if wood rubs between the hinges, it can be sanded and smoothed out. If the runners have rough spots on the top, sand them smooth before applying wax.

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Posted by: Tony Varvaro AT 07:10 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, March 24 2014

Why are my chairs wobbly?  Q.& A

My new dining room chairs rock slightly, until I sit in them. Are they defective?
December 7, 2011 1:54 PM    Subscribe

My new dining room chairs rock slightly, until I sit in them. Are they defective?

I recently purchases a dining room set (table / 6 chairs). This is not estate furniture. I bought it from long time furniture store. It's better than the 'you put it together' furniture you find at target. But it was on the low end price wise compared to other sets I looked at.

I love the table. No problem there. I'm not sure about the chairs, however.

On a hard floor (they eventually will be on a rug, hopefully), each chair has a slight rock to it. You can find it by taking one corner of the upright seat and trying to move it. On some of the chairs it's pretty minor. On at least two, however, it's worse. And on those chairs I can slide a thin wash cloth under one leg.

I've checked, and I really can't find a difference in leg length. But the slight wobble is definitely there.

However, when I sit in the chairs, there is no wobble at all. The problem vanishes. All four legs touch the ground, and try as I might, I can't rock from one corner to the other. In other words, the situation seems to correct itself once a person is in the seat (I weigh about 170, so I don't think I'm crushing the chair).

My question is, should I be worried about this? Is this acceptable? Is this natural? I know chairs can be adjusted, but I'm not the most mechanically inclined person in the world.

I welcome any opinion, but I'm most interested in thoughts from those with knowledge how chairs are put together and designed.

Is the floor perfectly level? If you have carpeting, the legs can bunch the pile differently under each foot, and if you have wood flooring, the surface is unlikely to be perfectly smooth unless it was recently finished.
posted by ardgedee at 2:11 PM on December 7, 2011

Ideal? No. Common? Yes. Frankly, little is made these days that does not have some sort of annoying defect that may (or may not) affect your enjoyment or use, but gnaws at you. I bought a set of six dining chairs from Design Within Reach a few years ago and I think two or three were not perfectly true, and thus wobbled.

Just put little felt sliders on the bottom of the legs; that will help to even everything out, and should stop the wobbling. You won't notice, and they will protect your floor.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:16 PM on December 7, 2011

If there are plastic or rubber feet, check to make sure they're all evenly seated - some very light taps on each with a hammer is all you need to do.

Wood is slightly elastic and will twist or bend under a load; moving a couple millimeters under tension until the load is distributed evenly is trivial. If the chairs look good when you don't sit in them, and are stable when you sit in 'em, I wouldn't worry about them rocking a little when you aren't sitting in 'em. If it really bugs you, yes, try shimming the feet.
posted by ardgedee at 2:18 PM on December 7, 2011

Posted by: Tony Varvaro AT 07:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, March 03 2014

Peeling problems in painted furniture

Paint, which can be an inexpensive means of transforming furniture, requires proper application to stand up to wear and tear. With shoddy preparation or application, the result is a peeling, flaking and otherwise deteriorating finish. To avoid unwanted peeling paint in the future, it helps to understand why this occurs, as well as how to prevent and fix the problem. To avoid repainting furniture, take advantage of a heavily peeling piece to create a weathered look without requiring refinishing: sand lightly to scuff away any loose bits before applying a clear sealant on top.

Improper Preparation
Peeling paint occurs when the furniture wasn’t prepped properly, making it difficult for the paint to stick. Proper preparation varies depending on the condition of the furniture and its existing finish, but there is a basic process. Wash the furniture with a mild detergent to remove dust and grime; when dry, sand with medium-grit sandpaper. Wipe away the dust and repair dents or cracks with filler. Lightly sand the entire piece again with fine-grit sandpaper to smooth repairs and scuff up the surface, giving the primer or paint some texture to cling to. Give it a final wipe-down before you proceed to painting. If the furniture has a glossy or waxy finish, use a liquid deglosser to remove the top layer, or naphtha to remove the wax, before making any repairs.
Wrong Products
Basic latex house paint applied to furniture peels eventually, especially if that furniture has a high-gloss finish. For lacquer, laminate and wood veneer, use a primer and paint meant for slick surfaces. With wood, latex-enamel paint is stronger than house paint and adheres well. Don’t use an oil-based paint over latex; it will not stick. If you're painting outdoor furniture, always use exterior-grade products.

Poor Painting Technique
Even with the best preparation and products, a poor painting technique results in cracking, bubbling and premature peeling. Start with a primer if you’re painting a light color over dark, working with a glossy surface, painting bare wood, or if you've made repairs. After this is dry, wait at least 24 hours between each coat and lightly sand between coats to smooth the surface, prepping it for the next application. Don’t apply the paint too thickly and always apply it evenly. Too-thick paint takes too long to dry, increasing the chance that you'll apply the next coat too soon. Uneven paint, with globs and runs, will peel more quickly.
External Factors
Paint peels eventually, but external factors make it happen more quickly. Keeping painted furniture in a room with high humidity, such as a bathroom, causes the paint to begin to flake; a dehumidifier, or moving the furniture to a drier area, prevents this. Overuse also has an effect, especially for items that are frequently handled such as tabletops, doors and drawers. A few coats of clear polyurethane sealant before the peeling begins prevents this, creating a hard outer layer.

Fixing Peeling Paint
A fresh, properly applied paint job gives you a smooth, seamless finish. Sand away any flaking, repair the damage and paint the furniture. For extensive peeling, if wood is exposed or if you’re changing colors, always prime first. For minor peeling, patch the paint rather than applying a fresh coat. Take a chip to your local paint specialist and have him match the color. Sand away the peeling parts, apply primer just to the exposed area, and then paint the damaged portion.

Posted by: Tony Varvaro AT 09:28 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, March 03 2014

My laminate furniture is peeling

Laminate furniture is an attractive and inexpensive alternative to traditional wood; however, unlike traditional wood, furniture made of laminate can peel relatively easily. If your smooth laminate finish is marred by peeling edges or bubbling in the center, repairing your furniture may be a means of returning it to its former glory. With some simple steps, you can entirely correct or at least reduce the visibility of pesky peeling.

White Laminate Peeling How to Repair Peeling Veneer on Particle Board Cabinets

Minor Repair
Your best bet for returning your peeling laminate to its former glory is to catch the laminate early in the peeling process. If you notice the corner of your dresser or desk starting to peel, acting immediately can prevent the problem from becoming worse. Using superglue or epoxy glue, adhere the peeling portion to the particle board that rests under it. To ensure that you don’t apply too much glue, squeeze a little glue onto a toothpick, carefully slip it under the peeling laminate and then press the laminate back into place, likely reattaching it to the base wood.

Major Reattaching
If your laminate is peeling around the edges and has also started to bubble up in the center of the piece, a heat gun may be the best weapon to use. Start the repair by putting on utility gloves to ensure you don’t burn yourself. Aim a heat gun or hair dryer at the portion of the laminate that has started to bubble up. Heat the area, moving the heat source back and forth to prevent scorching. Press the bubbled section down firmly, using your gloved hand. Place a rag on the surface to protect it, and then pile some heavy bricks or other weighty objects to hold the section in place as it cools and readheres.

Remove the Finish
If your laminate bubbling is severe, you may not be able to repair the laminate. If your laminate is peeling from all sides or your previous attempts at fixing your laminate were not successful, remove the laminate that remains. For any laminate that won't peel off, sand it off with 220-grit sandpaper. Paint the newly bare surface to make it more aesthetically pleasing -- the particle board that rests under the laminate will likely not be attractive.

Preventing Future Peeling
If you don’t want to have to tackle this problem in the future, there are some things you can do to prevent peeling. Laminate is most prone to peeling at the edges of a piece of furniture, so avoid brushing up against the edges. Also, just because your piece isn’t real wood doesn’t mean it’s not subject to water damage. Use a coaster when setting cups or other liquid-containing items on your laminate furniture to prevent moisture from coming into contact with the surface.

Posted by: Tony Varvaro AT 09:26 am   |  Permalink   |  Email

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