How to disassemble an office chair

how to disassemble office chair

Why would you need to disassemble an office chair? For several reasons. If you’re moving offices, it will be easier to move a disassembled chair. Another reason is there might be some parts of the chair that you need to repair or even replace. 

Also, some parts may need oiling. And you will not be able to sufficiently lubricate them unless you detach them from the chair. Dismantling a chair may seem such work. But sometimes, it has to be done. We’ll show you steps on how to easily go about it. And we’ll also toss in some tips so you will not damage your office chair.

Dismantling an office chair

Gather the tools first

Before you embark on any DIY, you have to make sure that you have the needed materials and tools on hand. You don’t want to be halted in the middle of the job to find out you’re missing one tool!

And here are the materials and tools that you need for this particular job.

  • Pipe wrench
  • Screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • The gas cylinder of the replacement cylinder
  • Newspaper
  • 2 x4 pc of wood
  • Pry bar
  • WD-40

Prepare your working area

You may work on the floor or at a spacious table. You may also cover your working surface with newspapers or blankets to prevent damage to it.

Remove the wheels of the chair

Removing the wheels of the chair will reduce the chair’s mobility. Thus making the entire process easier. For this step, we need a pry bar and a screwdriver.

Grab your office chair and tilt it to one side. The caster wheels should be exposed on either the left or the right side. Use one hand to hold the leg of the chair and the other hand and to hold the caster wheels. Then remove the caster wheels for the chair by pulling them out. If you find it difficult, use a pry bar.

how to disassemble office chair gas cylinder

Position the nail end of the pry bar between the caster wheel and the leg of the chair. Repeat the same process for each wheel of the chair until you have all the caster wheels removed. 

Now that the chair is no longer mobile, it will be easier to proceed to the next step.

Remove the starbase from the office chair

For this job, we need the hammer and the 2 x 4 piece of wood. And you might need someone to hold the five-star base. Then position the wood just above the gas lift. Get your hammer and use the side to hit the wood. 

Doing so will prevent damage to the gas cylinder. Unless you’re going to have it replaced, then you can use the hammer directly to the gas lift. We are using the wood to prevent too much contact of the hammer with the gas cylinder.

Keep on pounding the wood. This will eventually help release the base of the chair 

Removing the armrests

Before removing the armrests, ensure first that it is removable. Some office chairs have their armrest built into the sides of the seat.  

Removing the armrests first will ensure that you won’t have anything getting in the way. They connected to the chair via bolts or screws. So to dismantle them, you’ll need a screwdriver, either a flat head or a crosshead depending on what type of screw is used to connect the armrests to the chair. 

If the armrests are connected via bolts, you can remove them by using an Allen wrench. Once you have unscrewed and unloose the screws and bolts, keep them in a safe place and wrap them in plastic. This will prevent you from misplacing them.

Once the screws are out of the way, you can easily remove the armrests from where it is connected. 

Dismantling the seat

The seat pan is connected to the backrest via screws or bolts. So you have to find these fixtures and loosen them using an Allen wrench or screwdriver.

You might be tempted to remove the backrest fits. But trust us, removing the parts in proper order will make things easier for you. 

Removing the cylinders

Spray WD-40 on the joints of the gas cylinder. Allow the solution to dry. This will make it easier to knock off the gas cylinder from the base of the chair. You can, however, skip the lubricant if the chair is relatively new. 

To allow for easier access, remove the telescoping cover from the gas cylinder down.

Get your pipe wrench and remove the pneumatic gas cylinder from the base. Pull the base away from the chair. 

Set aside the base and place it on something sturdy and even. Get your hammer and pound the bottom of the cylinder until it oops out of the chair. 

The procedure above refers to a pneumatic cylinder since most office chairs nowadays use this type of gas cylinder.

An important note though, there are premium office chairs that don’t recommend the removal of the gas cylinder such as Herman Miller. So it’s wise to contact your manufacturer first.

Removing the backrest

To remove the backrest, look for the bolts and screws that fasten them. But you would have normally unscrewed these when you removed the seat pan. 

We understand that not all chairs are connected in the same way. So you have to find how the seat pan and backrest are connected. Find the bolts and screws then loosen them. 

Take note, however, that some chairs like the Steelcase Leap have arms and backrest built into the frame. Thus, you will not be able to remove these. 

What to do when the base is stuck on the gas cylinder

Typically, it’s very easy to remove the base from the cylinder. You just need a hammer and a lubricant. But if you have a relatively old chair, the base can get stuck. It can also be a result of rust forming on the gas cylinder. The accumulated rust prevents the cylinder from gliding smoothly. 

So how will you be able to take it out?

Pour the WD 40 over the joints of the gas cylinder. Ensure that the lubricant reaches the bottom. Have a piece of cloth handy to remove some of the excess oil.

Tilt the chair to the side and hold the base with one hand. Use the rubber mallet or hammer to pound the bottom of the cylinder. This should be able to release the cylinder from being stuck.

Things to consider before dismantling your office chair

Before you disassemble your office chair, ponder on these first. His will save you from unnecessary work and from incurring damages to your chair

  1. Remember how the chair arrived

Your office chair arrived bare naked right? So what will help is to dismantle it in the opposite order of the assembly. You can also refer to the instruction manual. But instead of starting with step 1, begin with the last step and go up. 

This is perfect for chairs that are designed and connected in a rather different way.

  1. But what is if it arrived fully assembled?

Take a really good look at the chair and inspect it thoroughly. Figure out what parts can or cannot be removed without causing damage to the chair. The good news is, some brands will toss in the dismantling procedure. So that will easily solve your problem.

  1. Minimal disassembly

Try to remove as minimal parts as possible. Not only will this save you time, but it will also prevent any damage to the office chair. It’s also a good idea to call your manufacturer and ask them what parts you can remove.

  1. Do not remove any internal parts

Rule of thumb, never remove any parts that are inside the mechanism. Doing so can result in damage or malfunction of the mechanism

  1. Use the right set of tools

Don’t make alternatives unless it’s mentioned . Though some wrenches may also work, a pipe wrench is best recommended for removing the gas cylinder.

  1. Replacement of the cylinder

dismantling the gas cylinder from the base can almost always result in damage to the cylinder itself. The pipe wrench can cause scratches on the cylinder. 

Then the metal shavings from the scratches can find their way into the mechanism once you have assembled the chair. And this can affect the way your chair adjusts. That’s why it’s best to replace the cylinder once you have removed it.

If you don’t plan to remove the cylinder, better leave it attached. Yes, it’s still possible to remove it without causing damage, but it will be difficult to do so.

Final Say

Dismantling or disassembling your office chair isn’t really hard. But it can be time-consuming. And you have to be patient and always remove each part with care. This will avoid damaging some of the critical components of your office chairs. 

And oh, you must also have the right set of tools. Make sure to have everything on hand even before you start with the job. You don’t want to be forced to run to the hardware store when you’ve realized you have the wrong type of wrench.