I am trying to take the arms off my desk chair to see if I find it more comfortable. I have almost zero experience with being handy or anything diy, but I though this would be something easy to start with.

enter image description here

Each arm appears to be attached with four screws. But they don’t unscrew no matter how hard I turn the to the left. I swear there’s something up, but I have no idea what it could be. Some sort of fancy screw that can’t be unscrewed?

close up shot

I’m guessing there’s something simple that I’m missing, and I’d be super greatful if someone could point me in the right direction.

  • 1
    Add WD40 if it doesn't move and should.
    – dandavis
    Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 6:58
  • Be aware that those are #3 Phillips screws. Don't try cracking them loose with a #2.
    – isherwood
    Commented Jan 18, 2022 at 17:46

1 Answer 1


They're probably installed with some sort of thread lock.

Try a few good whacks with a hammer to the screw heads. Then use a high torque screw driver (One that you can turn with a wrench), or a vice grip on the outside of the head, or an impact driver. impact driver

Make sure to use the correct bit for those screws. It should be the largest one that fits and doesn't wobble.

Sit the chair upside down, and place YOUR ENTIRE BODY WEIGHT onto the back of the impact driver to avoid stripping another screw head. Hopefully the one that stripped one will loosen enough with the other three off. It not, use one of these stripped screw remover bits.

strped screw remover bits

If you have to use those bits, again, place extraordinary backpressure on the back of the impact driver when you do.

If all else fails (say they literally welded the threads in place) you can use an angle to grind away all four screws from both sides. But be careful not to let enough heat build up to melt or burn the fabric.

  • It's possible that the screws have had some threadlock adhesive applied. Using a power tool such as the one in the image is a great idea. If that won't budge the screws, a hammer based impact screwdriver is also a good option. If the threadlock is red, only heat will release it, but blue threadlock can be broken with the aforementioned tools.
    – fred_dot_u
    Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 21:40
  • I was thinking of mentioning a torch to the screws. But I've never done that on furniture, and really wonder if it would damage the fabric/cushion. Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 21:42
  • Thank you! Researched a bit about your answer — basically the screws are probably adhered into place, and a hammer will help them loosen a bit, and then a proper strong screwdriver can probably get them out? My screwdriver is plastic, so I’ll probably need a new one.
    – liam
    Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 21:43
  • Certainly the driver head isn't plastic. It shouldn't matter what the handle is made out of. The wider the better though so you can apply more torque. Some screwdrivers, mostly the expensive ones used in idustrial/commercial/medical settings, have a hex head collar between the metal shaft and the handle, which you can use a standard wrench to turn. You should be putting as much force into pushing the screw down into the chair as you are putting into turning it. Especially on lower quality drivers or screws. Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 21:47
  • Thanks to you Billy, my chair is now armless! Pushing the screwdriver in as I turned it with some pliers got the job done, and I managed to get the stripped one by just grabbing the screw head with the pliers. Felt good. Thanks again!
    – liam
    Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 22:19

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