How to Repair Swivel Rocking Chairs

What You'll Need
Gas (lift) adjustable height cylinder
Threaded post, bell and thrust washers
Dowel pins
Wood glue
Extra screws
Assorted screwdrivers
Large pipe wrench
Adjustable wrench
Assorted clamp sizes

When swivel rocking chairs break, in most cases the cause of the problem is metal rubbing against metal. This causes a part to wear out easily either from abuse or age. If your swivel rocking chair breaks down, the only way you'll be able to permanently fix it is to replace the worn parts. Sometimes the worn parts aren't available or are too costly to replace, so the only option to fix a broken swivel rocking chair is to replace the entire chair. Here's a look at some possible solutions to repair some of the most common problems with swivel rocking chairs.

Step 1: Determine the Problem

Examine the gas mechanisms, if applicable, to see if they look worn, if the seat lowers and rises when not in use, if leaning back causes the chair to lower, if nothing happens when the lever is pressed, and if the seat is stuck in one position. Pay special attention to the adjustable height cylinder since this is the only part that can be replaced by the do-it-yourselfer. It may be difficult to tell if the cylinder is damaged. Test the gas lever and see if there are any strange noises coming from the cylinder or if the chair no longer raises or lowers.

Look closely at the manual mechanisms if you're experiencing the same problems as above but don't have any gas mechanisms. These include a metal rocker base assembly, the direct drive and hand levers. Check for squeaking of the mechanisms, which can indicate that a post, bell or thrust washer needs to be replaced. Replacing these washers requires taking apart some parts of the manual mechanisms with no instructions on how to put everything together again. Only take on this task if you're good at putting things together by just looking at the object and not by direction.

Be sure to look at the races, springs or ball bearings that could be the reason why a swivel is no longer working. Check all wooden joints to see if there are any loose pieces of wood, missing or loose screws, or broken dowels.

Step 2: Replace Faulty Gas Cylinder

Lay the swivel rocking chair on the floor. Remove the base with casters by loosening the clip and washer under the base. Use a pipe wrench to remove the gas cylinder by twisting the wrench back and forth to loosen the cylinder. Insert new cylinder.

Step 3: Replace Faulty Manual Mechanisms

Use the adjustable wrench to remove the base and casters to gain access to the washers. Replace worn washers as needed with the correct replacement. Reassemble the chair.  Broken plastic or metal springs or missing ball bearings cannot be repaired.

Step 4: Repair Damaged Wood

Apply wood glue to any joint that's loosened and secure with an appropriate sized clamp. Allow the chair to completely dry for 24 to 48 hours before using it or testing it to make sure the rocker no longer squeaks. Replace loose or broken dowel pins with new pins and wood glue. Tighten any loose screws or replace them.