Q: We love our Samsonite patio table and chairs. One of the chairs has come apart at the seam where it attaches to the frame. We contacted Samsonite, and it was unable to help. How do we find someone who repairs this kind of outdoor furniture?
A: Samsonite, most known as a suitcase manufacturer, did make steel patio furniture from the late 1960s until around 2000. In the late 1990s, it also took over a company, Halcyon, that made aluminum furniture. Then the company stopped making furniture on its own and licensed and eventually sold the brand to a company that imported furniture, mostly aluminum, and labeled it Samsonite.
A couple of companies sell replacement slings for the original steel furniture styles. But your pieces don’t match any of the designs on file at Creative Play Stores in Knoxville, Tenn. (888-858-7529; creativeplay.com), said James Tidrick, who handles consumer inquiries there. He suggested going to a company that specializes in boat upholstery to get a new piece. Trying to mend the seam with a needle and thread probably wouldn’t last, he said; the tension is so great that the fabric and stitches would rip out.
SF Patio Furniture in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (888-808-2253; sfpatiofurniture.com), does make the new piece you need, said Drew Scott, a customer service representative there. “This is what we specialize in,” he wrote in an email. “We are the last living link to the original plant just up the road from our facility and have been doing this for 20 years now.”
From the picture you sent, he identified your furniture as part of Samsonite’s steel substrate line and said he thinks it is a hybrid of the company’s Natchez and Aztec design families. “This could also be a prototype line — as in not a long-term production line from back in the day,” Scott said. That would explain why it doesn’t match the styles shown on the Creative Play website. The material is Samsonite Navy Pinstripe, still available from the SF Patio Furniture website. (Other fabric options are at sfpatiofurniture.com/sling-options.)
To order, you would need to email the company two photographs: one showing the single chair from the front and the other from the side, with the chair taking up the entire frame in each case. Also, you would need to measure the sling length at the middle of the back. Use a flexible ruler, such as the kind used for measuring fabric, and go from top to bottom, including the binding on the top and bottom. Also, before you order, read the installation instructions and watch a video about the process.
The price of a new piece ranges from $50 to $85 per chair and from $60 to $95 per chaise, depending on the fabric.
When we moved to our house 34 years ago, I glued a five-piece mirror set to the wall. Is there any way I can remove it without breaking it? I was thinking of “sawing” it off with a wire. I realize that I will have to repair the wall, but I really love the mirror. Any thoughts or suggestions?
The best solution is to call a glass company, says Jean Zacchini, vice president of Majestic Glass & Mirror in Dumfries (703-441-9074; majesticglassandmirror.com). Pros use special wire and are equipped with suction cups to grip the mirror as it comes loose. For no charge, her company will send someone to your house to evaluate the job and give you an estimate.
One problem is that mirrors are held to walls in various ways. Sometimes mirrors are peel-and-stick products; these usually come off easily. Mirrors applied with mirror mastic also come off fairly well. “But if it was glued with something else, such as Liquid Nails (a construction adhesive), you might need to chip it off in pieces,” Zacchini said.
Majestic charges $85 for a service call; an easy mirror-removal job might come to about $250. “But if they have to sit there and chisel the mirror off, they’re going to be there a long while and the cost would go up,” Zacchini said.
If you want to try doing it on your own, she suggests sawing the pieces off with the kind of wire sold for removing automobile windshields, such as CRL Triple Strand Braided Windshield Cut-Out Wire ($7.37 on Amazon.com). You can wrap the ends of the wire around short dowels to make handles, or you can buy handles made to work with the wire ($23.72 on Amazon). You can also buy aluminum suction cups that hold 190 pounds ( $12.66 on Amazon).
Wear safety goggles and gloves. To hold the shards together if the mirror breaks, first cover the front of the mirror with packing tape. But unless you are able to line up multiple sections of tape precisely, this might preclude using the suction cups, because the cups, at 4¾ inches wide, are wider than the tape.
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