I have an old chair that part of broke of some time ago and was lost. I've finally got round to fixing it as it's a bit of an eyesore. I started by using some woodfiller which I had lying around, but after not putting too much on I thought that this might not be the best approach.

broken chair

My current thoughts were to use some more filler and then sand it down to the correct shape. But once I have done that, how would I paint/varnish it to get the same colour as the rest of the chair? Is there a better approach one can take to complete this? It is worth noting that I am defiantly an amateur and don't have a whole ton of tools.


The arm is still fixed on solidly and supports my arm just fine. So this is just for cosmetic purpose.

  • Since all the details of the break are now buried under the filler, it's hard to make useful suggestions...
    – keshlam
    Commented May 8, 2016 at 6:01
  • @keshlam Well that's annoying. However my question is how to proceed from this point, so is there anything I can do to recover? Commented May 8, 2016 at 11:01
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    Is the busted off piece part of the back or side of the chair? How much load do you expect it to be subjected to after the fix? Finish looks like a red/brown shellac. Here in the US, you can find that at most good hardware stores. Commented May 8, 2016 at 13:34
  • @WayfaringStranger The arm is still attached and solid, the wood broke off just in front of the pins holding the arm in. So this is just a cosmetic fix. Commented May 8, 2016 at 14:59
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    Filler with plenty of sanding should work then. Testing stains to get a match will be the big problem. In a pinch, you can always mix oils or acrylics to get the right color. Paint, let dry then put on a clear finish of appropriate shinyness. If you're good at it that'll pass the 'casual glance' test. Commented May 9, 2016 at 13:39

1 Answer 1


An easy way to test out stains is to apply an ample amount of the filler you are using to a scrap piece of wood. It is unlikely you will be able to match the wood. But judging by the amount of filler you have, I assume matching the filer is the biggest concern. Sand the filler on the chair and the scrap using the same tools( sandpaper etc ). Then test out the stains you pick on the scrap piece and hold it up to your chair. This way, you don't have to commit to a stain until you are fairly sure it will match.

Also, sometimes a paint supplier, Porter, Sherwin Williams, etc. has some professionals who actually still mix tints/stains. They can usually do a decent job of getting close to the stain match. Bring a good picture of the chair stain and the sample piece you made and they may be able to help. Otherwise, just get a bunch of small stain cans from your local big box and test away!

Happy hunting!!!

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