How to Fix a Backless Bar Stool

What You'll Need
Replacement swivel or gas lift (depending which is needs replacing
Long pipe wrench (if removing the gas cylinder)

A backless bar stool that gets a lot of work, tends to develop wear and tear problems over time. If it has moving parts, such as an air lift or swivel, those parts will become worn out with a lot of use and need replacing. This is a simple job to do. Here is the procedure to fix the two most common mechanical problems; a broken swivel, and a broken air lift cylinder.

Step 1 – Remove the Swivel

The swivel is an important part of a bar stool. A broken swivel cannot be repaired, you will have to replace it. The swivel is worn if it makes grinding noises, wobbles, or even if the bearings fall out.

Removal is easy, you just remove the bolts or screws holding the swivel to the seat, and to the base of the chair. Occasionally you may come across a swivel that has a round access hole. You need to insert a screwdriver into the hole to remove the fastener.  

Step 2 – Buy a New Swivel

You need to find out if the swivel is flat or tilted before you buy a replacement. Before you remove the swivel, measure from the floor to the front of the swivel, and again from the floor to the rear of the swivel. If the two measurements are equal, the swivel is a flat one. A tilted swivel will be slightly higher at the back.

Buy a new swivel. Take the old one to the store as a reference. The plate size of a new swivel does not need to be exactly the same size as the old one but the screw hole pattern, measured from screw to screw, not diagonally, must be. Buy a heavier 7 inch plate if it will fit. A 6 inch plate will be made of lighter gauge steel and will be thinner. A thicker one will stand the weight of heavier people better. 

Step 3 –Replace the Swivel

Replace the swivel and put the stool back together as it was. This is a simple job that will take only a few minutes. 

Replacing a Broken Air Lift Cylinder 

Step 1 – Measure the Cylinder

Measure the broken cylinder. Do not include the pencil-sized piston rod at one end when measuring. You only need the main body length. Buy a new cylinder. 

Step 2 – Remove the Stool Base

Remove the base of the stool by removing the base retaining clip and washer, located under the base.

Withdraw the lower portion of the gas cylinder from the base slowly. There might be loose parts in the tube which must be replaced later in the right order. 

Step 3 – Remove the Cylinder

Make sure the rubber bumper or bearings and washers are not torn or worn. Replacements for these parts are available. Place the wrench on the main body of the cylinder nearest to the control mechanism while it is attached to the bottom of the seat. Twist the wrench in either direction to loosen and remove the cylinder. If it is very tight, the mechanism may have to be placed in a vice. The pipe wrench will leave tooth marks on the mechanism which may have to be filed out.

Step 4 – Insert the New Cylinder

Just hand insert the taper end into the mechanism. Weight on the stool will fix it into place.