Upholstered Eames Shell Chair screw removal problem
I have a couple of nice upholstered early Eames Shell Arm Chairs with H bases, but I am unable to remove several of the screws that attach the bases. They just spin and won't come out. I assume there is some kind of nut or molded nut underneath the fabric that is just spinning as I turn the screw/bolt. Anyone have advice on how to remove these screws? Thanks for any advice.
@user_139, Work a thin metal-cutting blade (like for a hacksaw) between the rubber washers and the base mounting tabs and carefully cut through the screws. A wrench on the screw head should keep it from spinning while cutting. Of course the free-turning threaded inserts would need to be excavated and replaced with new ones glued in, too. Replacement screws, washers, and threaded inserts are easily available and are entirely appropriate in this case.
Thank you for the advice. I have one more question -- Once I've hacksawed the screw head off, how do I remove the remaining screw from the nut inside? Do I drill it out or use a screw removal tool? It seems like it will continue to spin like it does now?? Or do I just push it through and leave it under the foam floating around and replace with a new insert?
I'm pretty sure the threaded inserts are molded into the shell (wrong again!). Can you feel them through the upholstery?
Easiest would be to leave them in place and glue neoprene shock mounts over them on the undersides of the chairs. This would require cutting (or filing or grinding) the screw as nearly flush to the surface as possible. Probably what I would do.
This can all be done by hand, but an oscillating multi tool (like a Fein Multimaster) with the right attachments would be almost ideal for this task. Maybe you could borrow such?
Edit: After some Goggling, I now see that the inserts are some sort of flanged Rivnut-type fasteners. No wonder they stripped out! Flush-grinding the protruding ends could be a bit of a challenge, but not impossible. Good luck!