Simple Solutions

How to Repair a Chair with a Split Seat

By: Joe Truini

A split seat on a wooden chair often sends it to the junk heap, but this solution may save one at your house. The fix begins by forcing wood glue into the crack and clamping the seat back together. While this will put the chair back together, it may happen again.

To prevent it from happening again, add a pair of 1″x 4″ cleats to the underside of the seat to support the repair and the entire seat to prevent future cracks. We made our wood cleats from oak, beveled the edges and stained them to match the chair. Be sure to attach the cleat with screws that are long enough to hold it in the chair seat, but not so long that they come through the top of the seat.


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13 Comments on “How to Repair a Chair with a Split Seat”

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  • Lori Wise Says:
    November 12th, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    Did anyone ever answer Michael breden? I have the same problem. Upholstered seats with broken seat bottoms.

  • Official Comment:

    Lindsay Hughes Says:
    October 13th, 2016 at 8:56 am

    Dorie, cleats are just the 1×4 pieces of wood they screwed into the underside of the chair.

  • Dorie Larue Says:
    October 9th, 2016 at 11:03 am

    What is a cleat? 🙁

  • Marilyn Indingaro Says:
    April 8th, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    I purchased a dining room set with six chairs. The seat of the chair is covered with foam and fabric. I made the mistake of not looking under seat of chair when purchased. Over time 4 yrs the cushions on seat sank in the middle. When you would look at chair cushions seemed fine but when you sat on chair you would sink thru midde.=

  • michael breden Says:
    April 4th, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    hi i have a split on a dining chair cushion on the wood underneath. can you advise me please on a repair?

  • Rosanna Mandeville Says:
    November 9th, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Hi, thank you. i bought a rocking chair at an estate sale and didnt see the cracked all the way through seat. i couldnt fathom a diy repair. you saved my day. rose.

  • Judith Cook Tucker Says:
    December 5th, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    Will do. Thanks for the heads up about the veneer. Judith

  • Official Comment:

    Joe T. Says:
    December 5th, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    You’re welcome, Judith. Bring the chair with you when you visit the woodworker. That way, you’ll be sure to get the right size veneer. And be aware that most veneer is only one ply, so if possible, get at least two pieces. Good luck!–Joe T.

  • Judith Cook Tucker Says:
    December 5th, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Wow! Thank you so much for such a speedy and thorough reply. I now feel well prepared to follow your guidelines and hopeful I can salvage the seat (I have painted the entire chair decoratively and was worried it could not actually be used). I’ll see if a local woodworker has a small piece of the thin plywood you are suggesting before I order a whole sheet.

    The internet amazes me! Thank you for your expertise and spirit of sharing!

  • Official Comment:

    Joe T. Says:
    December 5th, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Hi Judith, It sounds as if your chair seat is made of laminated wood veneers, similar to plywood. It’s probably only 3/16 to 1/4 inch thick, and you’re right, the Simple Solution shown won’t work on such a thin seat. My suggestion would be to glue two-ply wood veneer to the underside of the seat, spanning the crack. (Two-ply veneer is available at in eight wood species; a 24×32-in. sheet costs about $23.) Turn the chair upside down and hand-sand the underside of the seat with 100-grit sandpaper. Wipe off any sanding dust. Next, cut a piece of veneer to the approximate size of the seat. Then use a notched putty knife to spread waterproof wood glue across the underside of the seat. Press the veneer into the glue, making sure the wood grain runs perpendicular to the crack. Weigh down the veneer with bags of sand, which will contour to the shape of the seat. It’s very important that the veneer is pressed down tight to the seat. Wipe away any glue dripping down from the crack underneath the chair. Allow the glue to dry overnight. Turn the chair over and fill the crack with wood putty, then sand and stain to match the seat. You can then further strengthen the repair by applying a second veneer patch over the first one. Thanks for writing, Judith, hope you find this information helpful.–Joe T.

  • Judith Cook Tucker Says:
    December 5th, 2011 at 2:55 am

    The old cracked wooden chair seat on my chair is so thin this fix will not work, because there is no way screws will bite into the underside of the seat. It is a somewhat concave seat, and the cracks are in the shallow bowl area. Any suggestions for repairing cracks in this type of seat. It will soon fall through if anyone sits on it. Thanks!

  • Official Comment:

    Joe T. Says:
    July 23rd, 2011 at 8:34 am

    Hi Barbie, Sorry for the abbreviated version of this repair; there’s only so much we can show in 1 minute. If you look closely, you’ll see that the screw-shank clearance holes and counterbore holes had already been drilled into the cleats. What wasn’t shown is that I also drilled 1/8-in.-dia. screw-pilot holes through the cleats and into the seat bottom. When drilling those, just be sure you don’t drill completely through the seat.
    And, no, you don’t have to wait until the glue joint on the seat fully cures before attaching the cleats. You can fasten the cleats immediately after gluing and clamping the seat. Thanks for writing and good luck!–Joe T.

  • Barbie Says:
    July 22nd, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    OK, I really appreciated the video, and it looked easy enough, but I haven’t repaired things before… I would have appreciated advice to pre-drill holes in not only the cleats but the seat underside. Then I would have discovered that the chair legs/rung made the use of drill almost impossible on the underside of the seat before I glued the cleats on. Also,do you let the seat seam dry the recommended 24 hours before you attempt attatching cleats? It looked as though you did it immediately.

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How to Repair a Chair with a Split Seat