How to Fix a Glider Rocking Chair

What You'll Need
Safety Glasses
Assorted Wrenches or Sockets

Having a glider rocking chair requires you to make occasional repairs or adjustments. In most situations, the difficulty will be negligible although some woodworking experience will be helpful in replacing slats. Though not a complete set of instructions, this article presents the remedy for several common problems; consider these steps as guidelines rather than implicit directions.

Step 1: Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance can prevent a majority of malfunctions for a glider rocking chair. Keeping joints tight and replacing missing crews or bolts will keep the rocking chair stable, and stability will prevent unnecessary wear on key parts. Going over the rocking chair with a wrench and a screwdriver once a month can save the time and expense of replacing the glider track or broken wooden arms and slats.

Step 2: Evaluate the Problem

Determine what the problem with the rocking chair is. If the chair does not swing evenly, look for obstructions along the swing path. Many problems with a glider rocking chair turn out to be some object, such as a child's toy, which has gotten jammed into an area that prevents proper operation. Even something as small as a coin, if it should fall onto the glider track, can prevent operation and may even lock the chair in place.

Step 3: Replacing Chair Arms

To replace the arms on a gliding rocking chair, remove the bolts or screws which affix the old one. If possible use the old arm as a template for the new one. Cut the arm out with a jigsaw. Drill bolts hols, if required, and install the arm just as the old one came off. Repaint or refinish the glider rocker as needed.

Step 4: Replacing Glider Tracks

To replace the glider tracks, you will need to remove the bench part of the unit so that you can access the tracks where they are mounted on the chair base. Remove the glider tracks with a wrench or screwdriver, depending on the chair. Make sure that the holes on the new glider track match the old and install it. Replace the bench, making sure the bolts are securely fastened.

Step 5: Replacing Slats

Remove any broken slats and, if you are designing your own slat, remove one slat in good condition as well. Trace the shape on new material and cut the slat using a table saw or a jigsaw. Insert the slat and seal the seat back in the manner it was originally built, usually with tacks or screws.

Step 6: Refinish

Paint the exposed wood surfaces of the glider rocking chair regularly to prevent damage from pests or weather. If desired, you can use stains or varnishes instead, however those will make it  more difficult to hide repairs in existing rocking chairs. Always wear a respirator or painter's mask when using paints or varnishes.