Replacement Chair Arms

Creating replacement armrests for a secondhand Formway Life Chair.

The upholstery plastic on these types of chairs are notorious for coming apart. I wanted to solve the problem entirely by created wooden armrests that would stand the test of time.

Written Build log below

I picked up this secondhand office chair, it’s in great condition and really comfortable.
However the arm rests were all coming apart. 
Because I’ve got no experience upholstering things I thought maybe I could make some nice wooden arms instead.

Here’s what I used:
Wood
Some stiff cardboard
Someway to saw curved shapes in wood eg. bandsaw, jigsaw, coping saw etcHandplane
Sand paper. Rough to fine grit (120gt, 240gt at least)
Danish Oil

Started by removing the existing armrests to see what components I could use as a starting point.

I realised I could use the plastic base as a template to get the shape I needed.

I traced a master template of the side profile onto cardboard so that I could transfer it onto the wood.

The wood I had was too thin for the profile shape. I got around this by cutting strips from it and then turning them on their side to get more thickness.

I traced the profile onto each of the strips.

And cut them out on the bandsaw.

I then glued these back together so that I had a left and a right pair.

After the glue had dried I could smooth out the shape a bit more. I used a hand plane going across the grain to get the shape roughly smooth. This may create a little bit of tearout at the edge of your pieces, so that’s why I did this step before cutting them to their final shape.

I then traced the outer shape onto the my pieces.

Using the bandsaw again to cut the shape.

I rounded the edges with the handplane.

Then sanded. a . lot. of. sanding. Moving up through the grits 120gt -> 240gt. I used mostly hand sanding because of the organic shape. With a power sander it’s very easy to accidentally put flat spots in your work, which will be noticeable at the end.

Finally I finished them with a couple of coats of Danish Oil. I like Danish oil because all you have to do is wipe it on, let it soak in a bit and then wipe off the excess - much less likely to get runs on a curved surface. The downside is it takes 4-8 hours to dry between coats :/