Over the years, I've bought many IKEA Terje foldable chairs. It's a popular model.

However, they quickly get "wobbly". I think the problem is with the joints (although I'm not sure). Any ideas on how to tighten them... I actually think it's not possible to tighten them... 😕

Video of wobbliness.

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2 Answers 2


You'd need to re-squeeze the rivets, which is likely impractical, or just temporary respite.

An alternative may be to replace the rivets with nuts & bolts - though if you're stripping the joints that far, it would probably be better to also re-line the holes, as they will be expanding due to the off-axis movement occasioned by the loosening of the original rivets.

Maybe something like small dome or countersunk barrel nuts could do the job - & be less prone to snagging on things.

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Images search, for multiple examples - https://duckduckgo.com/?q=sunk+barrel+nuts&t=osx&iax=images&ia=images

  • 3
    Then you can add some bearings around the barrel nuts to improve this inherently poor design wait, no it's: clever bit of planned obsolescence.
    – Ecnerwal
    Mar 26 at 16:36
  • 1
    @Ecnerwal, yep, definitely planned obsolescence. Netflix has a documentary called "Broken" that include an episode of how Ikea and similar manufacturers use the cheapest ways to make junk that doesn't last. It's intended to be broken, discarded, and replaced, rather than fixed. Mar 27 at 17:15

Those fasteners are rivets. You can tighten them up by placing the smooth end on an anvil or other very hard surface and hit the other end with a large nail set and hammer. The problem with this is it's not a long term fix since the wood has been ground down a bit and you can only compress the rivet so much.

A more durable fix would be to grind the rivets off with a rotary tool and get some nuts, bolts and washers and re assembly the chairs. You can repair any ground down wood with expoy or wood filler.

  • 1
    Great info, @Jack. This is very useful. And thanks for telling me the name of "rivits". I see there is no "easy" fix. ;) I wish IKEA made these chairs more durable... Mar 26 at 17:52
  • 1
    @JohnAssymptoth It's "rivets".... I shouldn't type before coffee.
    – JACK
    Mar 26 at 18:25
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    Might be easier to just drill the rivet heads out. Rotary tools can be hard to control. When reassembling with the new bolts, get some plastic/nylon washers and use one between any wood parts. After assembling the bolts (use nylon lock nuts), you may opt to cut off the excess bolt length.
    – Huesmann
    Mar 27 at 14:03
  • @Huesmann Good points. It seems more people now a days get rotary tools than drills.
    – JACK
    Mar 27 at 14:46
  • Well, I know with my luck I'd skate the rotary tool wheel or bit off the rivet and score the wood on the chair. :) I'm much less likely to do that with a drill, since the rivet's already got a "punch" for the bit to start.
    – Huesmann
    Mar 27 at 14:53

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