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SBW#48 – Herman Miller Aeron Armrest Repair

My Herman Miller Aeron Chair looks like this! How did this happen? No, I did not take my armrest off, it broke! The bolt in the arm bolt assembly sheared the head off and the arm fell to the floor.

Notice the missing right armrest

I went to push up on my armrests, after all, who does do that to get up and bang. There was a loud bang and the armrest dropped to the floor. Looking at it I only see the bolt stud sticking out with obviously something broken off. What was it? After taking the assembly apart it was the head of the bolt. However, this bolt is unlike most bolts, it is only a pan head torque bolt. There’s not much metal there and with 20+ years of fatigue, the metal gave in and broke.

So, how much is a new one? $90 is a little steep for me but was to be expected given how much this chair cost in the first place. There has to be a cheaper way to fix it right? Maybe a standard bolt or something. Yes, you guessed it, that’s the route we’re going.

Complete Arm Assembly

The first thing is to remove the old bolt stud from the armrest. I did this by using my channel lock pliers to get a grip and spin the bolt out. Hold the thumbwheel while turning the stud and it will come out. Just be careful to pay attention to the parts in the thumbwheel as there is a bearing assembly and washer on it and you’ll want to get those back in the same orientation when reassembling your armrest. If you don’t, turning the thumbwheel is nearly impossible.

Now, you might need to make a trip to the local hardware store and get a 1/4″-28 x 2.5″ grade 5 bolt. I took the stud and thumbwheel down to the home centers. However, all they had were 2″ and 3″ lengths. I ended up finding one at my local hardware store and matched up the threads to their thread insert to tell me which bolt size I needed. Then I chose one with the correct length and grade 5 because this bolt takes a lot of stress from pushing down on the armrest and I didn’t want it to break again.

Then you need to remove is the chair back. This can be done by removing the 4 torque screws holding it in place. I accomplished this using my Craftsman magnetic screwdriver and a torque bit. When you get the four screws out just lift the back straight up and out. Broken hardware from the armrest is likely to shower out on the floor so I recommend doing it in a place where you can see what falls.

I used a T30 torque bit for screw removal

I inserted all the components back together (see image below) and put the bolt into the chair. I then spent some time getting the bearing assembly, thumb wheel, and washer to alight just right so I could get the bold back through and into the armrest threads. I tightened it down and spent some time readjusting so it was not wobbly but loose enough to adjust while using the thumbwheel.

Correct hardware orientation. The chair armrest support goes between the end of the bolt and the 3rd component. Old broken bolt below for reference.

Then, I reinserted to back into the chair and hand tightened all four torque screws before tightening them down with my Craftsman magnetic screwdriver and torque bit.

hand tighten screws back in before tightening them down

My chair is back to normal and good to go again. I’m glad I spent a few dollars rather than $90 because you really cannot tell the difference other than if you look closely you can see a shiny bolt rather than a flat black bolt. I could of course painted it but in this case, functionality over aesthetics will win. I’ve included a link to the original part on Amazon below if you want to check it out.

Ironically while writing this article the left armrest bolt broke for me nearly a year later. Yeah, I’m backlogged on articles and videos. So, I get to repeat the same process with the other armrest.

As always if you have any questions or comments post them below or on my YouTube video comments section and I’ll do my best to respond.

I’ve included a few Amazon Links below for the equipment and materials I used.

Equipment and Materials

I hope you find this video useful and can use some of the tips presented. Feel free to leave any comments, suggestions, or experiences you have had below.

Some of the links in my video description and article above are Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If you would like to make a different purchase from Amazon, you can also use the storewide link.


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SBW#47 – Kitchen Cabinet Build Part 17 – Base Cabinet Assemble Time

So we finally reached the point where we are going to assemble our first base cabinet. Well, not yet. Yes, we have all the components cut out but before we can do it we’ll need to sand those last three pieces we made in the previous article – the two top stretchers and the bottom. I’ll also go over the face frame one last time with 220 grit sandpaper making sure to knock off all sharp edges as the face frame will be painted on all surfaces. Any sharp edges can cause the paint to chip off if it’s hit too hard and rounding them over ever so slightly will help prevent this.

Next, I will add some Titebond II glue to the dado cuts on one side panel. I’ll put the bottom panel in and staple it in the dado cut with my BOSTITCH Crown Stapler. The chemical fastening from the glue along with the physical fastening from the staples will prevent this piece from coming apart really well. I repeat this for the other side so that I have a bottom now attached to both sides.

Then after we have these three components assembled I will glue and staple the top stretchers. The purpose of this is to add stability to the top of the cabinet and allow something the countertop can be attached to. If you don’t have three hands like me, you may want to use a clamp to hold the piece in if necessary.

Next, I flip the cabinet so the back is up so I can attach the back. However, when I sat the back on I realized I had cut the back too small. This was a result of me measuring the back but not including the depth of the 1/4″ rabbit cuts. So,

I had to cut them back again and once again I cut it just a little short. I however filled the excess gap with additional glue.

Note this image is the result of the back being glued on which is done in subsequent steps.

I run a bead of glue around all four sides where the back will attach. I then lay the back down onto the glue. I staple 2 corners flush and then square up the cabinet to attach the 3rd and 4th corners. As long as your back is straight, doing this will square the cabinet up.

Once I ensure everything is square I shoot a ton of staples in. Generally, I put them every 4 to 6 inches however because this back piece was about 1/8″ too small I add additional staples to help hold it.

For the side staples that will go in the rabbit I ensure, I’m angling the staples so that I do now blow out into the interior of the cabinet.

Below is an image of the cabinet post assembly. With only a few mistakes made during the process, I was able to finish this.

The process is essentially the same for the remaining base cabinets with the only difference is no mistakes (or different ones) and larger pieces. In all, assembling is one of the more speedy processes I find.

As always if you have any questions or comments post them below or on my YouTube video comments section and I’ll do my best to respond.

I’ve included a few Amazon Links below for the equipment and materials I used.

Equipment and Materials

I hope you find this video useful and can use some of the tips presented. Feel free to leave any comments, suggestions, or experiences you have had below.

Some of the links in my video description and article above are Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If you would like to make a different purchase from Amazon, you can also use the storewide link.


Looking for a Gift Idea? Visit the Amazon Gift Hub
Or Check out our Deal of the Day page in the Top Right of the Menu