Free stuff doesn’t always come at no additional cost. Here in Holland, MI there’s a custom of putting unwanted furniture next to the street where people can take it if they want it. It’s not supposed to happen, but so long as you don’t leave anything out there too long the city doesn’t seem to mind.  Either someone takes it, or you take care of it yourself. Last year I found a wonderful “glider rocker” that way. I took it home, dusted it off, washed the upholstery, and it became my favorite chair.

When we began furnishing our new place, my chair didn’t match. Replacement cushions had to be custom made in Canada for $200. Since it was my favorite chair and it had been free to start with, I ordered them. No sooner had I given my credit card number than the chair began to squeak, loudly! I made a cursory inspection and tightened a few screws. When that led to a piece of wood cracking, I borrowed power tools and made a replacement. I drilled some new holes and installed some additional screws, but the squeaking continued, getting louder. It became “not-my-favorite-chair”, but with $200 invested in good-looking new cushions, I wasn’t willing to give up on it. I developed theories, including one about the wood drying out when the forced air furnace came on for the winter. Ideas like that lead to “just wait, and with different weather the situation will sort itself out.” Like many “just wait…” theories, this one was false. Intervention and drastic action were required.

Last week it was disassembly and rebuild time, either that or turn the Canadian maple chair into kindling for a fireplace we don’t have and sleep on the cushions. Close inspection and use of  quality (rather than cheap) tools led discovery of SEVERAL loose screws that I hadn’t previously been able to turn, and some broken ones that hadn’t been discovered. Reassembly involved new screws, glue, torque and time. But the squeaks disappeared. It is once again “my favorite chair.”

Would that unsqueaking my character were so simple.


David Alexander resides in Holland, MI after 39 years in Taiwan.

One Reply to “Unsqueak”

  1. It’s better to “just do it!” That is when it comes to repairs and maintenance. Don’t put off what needs to be done. And, it may turn out that problems feared may be smaller and less trouble that we anticipated.


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