The Saga of the Noisy Recliner Chair


My husband has arthritic knees. The right knee was the first to become painful. He got a series of Euflexa shots, which seemed to help. Then a couple of weeks ago, the left knee started hurting. Confined to the apartment because of COVID-19, he was sitting for long periods on the couch with his feet propped up on the cobbler’s bench that serves as our coffee table. Having his legs in that position put pressure on his knees and offered no support.

I had a brilliant idea: get him a recliner so he can be more comfortable.

This I did, buying a granite gray leather chair with a swivel base that fit in with the living room décor. It arrived earlier than expected, on a rainy day. The truck driver left the box in the entryway outside our door.

The chair came in two pieces. The back weighed about thirty pounds, but the base weighed one hundred pounds, give or take. We looked at each other. How to get this up the stairs?

I carried the smaller piece by myself. The big, heavy base was an awkward shape with some potentially sharp parts underneath. We decided to roll it up the staircase.

We wrapped the chair in its plastic and trundled the thing upward, a few steps at a time, like two dung beetles moving their prize. Of course, this did my husband’s knees no good.

Once upstairs, we easily fit the back into place, but there was a problem. The chair squeaked. Not a little mousy squeak, but an ear-ringing shriek. Every time my husband shifted his weight, the chair screeched.

We turned it over and squirted WD 40 on all possible junctures. No change.

I looked up the manufacturer online and emailed for help. The reply came quickly: The recliner has a 12-month warranty. Contact the vendor.

Well, the vendor was Amazon, so I didn’t think I’d get much help from that quarter. But I searched the site until I was able to send a request. Someone with a strong accent called me back. All he could do was repeat: “Do you want a refund or a replacement?”

My next effort was to call a furniture store that sells similar recliners. “Did you buy the chair from our store? If so, we’ll send out a tech to assist you.” No, I didn’t qualify.

Before I gave up and called a handyman friend, I examined the chair more carefully. First I noticed that the front was crooked on the base. Something underneath was off kilter. We turned the chair over and I studied the workings, pushing the base in and out to make it squeak.

Two wooden crescent-shaped rockers were not in the same place on each side. The edge of one rocker rested on a metal support bar. The other side’s rocker was totally off the bar. AHA! This was the source of the squeaking.

We used two hefty screwdrivers to pry the rockers upward and reset them on the bars.

My husband sat in the chair.


Days later, we’re still congratulating ourselves.