Many want to know how to do this, and my husband is helping me to put this information out. He is the commander of fixing all metal things. This job is not easy, and it took the best part of a work day. And my husband is a sculptor who uses metal as a medium. He has more tools for working with metal than most.
This chair, looking a little different than the normal vintage lawn chair, is one of the rarer ones we own. It has a Native American flavor in the pressed metal patterned decoration.
Recently, when sitting around the fire, Glenn slumped gracefully to the ground as the hollow tubing on the chair gave way at the important stress points. This is the Achilles Heel of these chairs.
A closer look:
Of course the fact that they are outside chairs, made of metal, this kind of thing is going to happen. I am looking into putting a clear coat for outside and for metal on all our chairs. Turns out this is not easy to find. Did some research and have sent an email to a possible vendor. More later.
Glenn cut the tubing at the rusty stress points and is checking here the proper alignment needed for the fix. When the chair broke, some tubing was also smashed out of position. Further, when he started with the oxy-acetylene torch, he found much more rust crumbling away aside from the actual point of breakage. If these chairs did not have holes in the seat to help drain standing water, people used to tip them up when not in use. This let the water settle in the area in the picture above where the breakage occurred. The rust starts on the inside. So in trying to deal with standing water on a metal chair, the user actually issued the water to the area where it could do the most damage.
Glenn starts with the torch and removes all the rusty crumbly metal. With the torch, he found many more rusted places other than what was first visible.
He used a metal cutting band saw and cut a galvanized tube in half to use as replacement metal in the broken areas. He used this galvanized tube because he had it. He would have preferred steel. He was able to weld outside and does not recommend this for inside work. He said that some may assume that he used galvanized to deal with future rust; the heat application with the welder ruins galvanized pipe for that quality.
Glenn cut out of the half cylinder length of metal the amount needed to replace all the damaged area. Below the galvanized metal length is being welded to strengthen the bad part of the rusted tube.
Below is one newly minted chair base.
The final picture shows the total replaced base. With this chair, he had to replace all the base area. Other chairs needed less. The new base is very strong and solid, but it in no way looks identical to the original smooth tubing. This base now needs to be painted with something like Rust-oleum.