How To: Replace Plastic Chair Foot on Eames for Herman Miller Shell Chairs

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Replacing Chair Feet on Eames for Herman Miller Molded Chairs with H Bases
I acquired a handful of these Eames for Herman Miller naugahyde shell chairs with h-bases on craigslist several years ago. Even when I first purchased them, four of the chair feet were broken off and there weren't any good tutorials, or even just photos, of how to replace them on the Internet. So, four years later and here I am with two more broken chair glides and a brief tutorial on how to repair/replace them!

Comparison of broken chair glide and non-broken chair foot
You can see in the photo above, a broken chair glide with the plastic sleeve and wire still stuck in the chair's leg shaft.

Step 0: Gather Materials
Step 0: Acquire new chair glides (or chair feet) on eBay
You will need a hammer, pliers, and a new chair glide. I get mine on eBay with a search for 'eames herman miller shell chair glides' but you can also purchase them new from humemodern.

Step 0: Comparison of old chair foot/glide and new chair glide

Step 1: Flip the Chair Upside Down and Remove Plastic Sleeve
Step 1: Flip Chair Upside Down and Use Pliers to Remove Plastic Sleeve
Flip the chair upside down. Using your pliers, twist the plastic sleeve that's stuck in the metal chair leg left and right, while also pulling upwards. I have next to no upper arm strength, but with a bit of patience, this method works every time. Don't give up!

Step 1: Remove Plastic Sleeve from Metal Chair Leg/Tube

Step 2: Dislodge Metal Stopper and Wire within Leg Shaft
Step 2: Remove Metal Stopper from Chair Tube
The metal stopper and wire should still be stuck inside the metal leg shaft. In order to dislodge it, I place a screwdriver into the leg shaft until it hits the metal stopper (off center), and then I gently tap the screwdriver with a hammer until the metal stopper dislodges.

Step 3: Turn Chair Right-Side Up to Remove Metal Stopper
Step 3: Flip Chair Right Side Up To Remove Metal Stopper and Wire Step 3: Flip Chair Right Side Up To Remove Metal Stopper and Wire
Flip the chair right-side up, and the metal stopper and wire should slide right out, onto the floor. Return the chair upside down so you can continue working.

Step 4: Place the New Glide into the Chair Leg Shaft
Step 4: Place New Chair Glide Into Leg Shaft
Place your new glide onto the chair leg shaft, you may have to hold it in place.

Step 5: Hammer the New Glide Further into the Chair Leg
Step 5: Gently Hammer New Glide Into Chair Leg
With a hammer, carefully tap the new chair glide further into the metal leg shaft until it won't go any further. Note: It is better for the new plastic sleeve to not be all the way in the tube, rather than break the new glide!

Step 5: Gently Hammer New Glide Into Chair Leg
Step 5: Gently Hammer New Glide Into Chair Leg

Step 6: Turn the Chair Right-Side Up and You're Done!
Step 6: Return Chair Right Side Up and Done!


rooth said...

Very nice - I'm still in awe at people who find such vintage goodies and restore them. It's a special superpower in my eyes

Anonymous said...

This is exactly the information I needed! The internet is awesome. Thanks for taking the time to show how it's done.

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