Repairing LazyBoy Recliners

There are currently several articles here about repairing LazyBoy recliners. See links to those articles below here.

La-Z-Boy (LazyBoy) Recliner: Replacing the Trip Wire

Many La-Z-Boy recliners are also rockers. The rocking mechanism is designed so that when the handle is pulled the footrest comes up and the recliner is locked from rocking.

(Click on picture to enlarge. The picture shows the inside base area under the chair seat. The left of the picture is towards the front of the chair)

Under the seat is a trip wire (B) that is connected a short rod (C) with a hole through the center of it. Both ends of the trip wire go into opposite ends of this hole. Then a bolt screws into the bar to hold thends to the tripwire in place. That short rod is mounted on a square bar (F), on which is mounted the handle on the outside of the arm. When the handle is used, the trip wire pushes against a locking bar (D) to engage a set of notches (A), thus locking the recliner from rocking. Sometimes this trip wire will break and needs to be replaced.

To remove the old trip wire, unscrew the bolt at C, pull the wire out of both ends of the rod, then unthread it through the slot at E.

The trip wire is made of a stiff spring wire. Regular wire will not work. It needs to be a stiff spring wire.

Before you remove the old trip wire, take some pictures of how it is connected.

Replacing the Trip Wire: Here are a couple options:

You used to be able togGet A Replacement from LaZBoy by Contacting a Lazyboy showroom and ask the location of a service center. (I've been told that they no longer stock that part)

Make A Replacement: If you don't have a Lazyboy service center close to you, find a piano tuner and ask to buy three feet of #19 (.043") or #20 (.045") piano wire*, which is usually cut off of a roll. (Since the wire doesn't cost much, you might buy enough for 2 or 3, in case you make a mistake or make the first one the wrong size.) When you go get the wire, take the short rod (C) with you to make sure that two pieces of the piano wire will fit into the hole in the rod.) Care not to loose it!

Note: since writing this article I've found an online source for the wire,  Here: Piano Music Wire in 10' lengths from Schaff Piano Supply. On that page there are many thicknesses available. Get the thickness as described above, which is listed on that page.

When you get the wire back to the shop, lay out the old wire in its original shape. Then use it as a guide to bend the piano wire into that same shape. Or use the measurements below to make a new trip wire. (Note: The measurements of the trip wires might vary some, so try to get the measurements from your existing trip wire if possible.) You can use a pair of pliers to make the sharp bends in the wire. As you make the bends,  keep the wire flat on a table so that you can make all the bends so that the wire lays flat when finishehd. Then install the new wire back in the bracket that you removed the old one from.

                          (Both sides are the same length (9 3/4"))


*Special thanks to David Dewey, a professional piano tuner in Oroville California, who corrected my information about the correct size of the piano wire.

LazyBoy Recliner: Switching the Handle to the Left Side

I recently had a request (see first message at the bottom of this page) asking if it was possible to change the handle to the left side of the chair. This is the reply to that message.

(Note: since the time I wrote this article, I had a Lazyboy tech tell me that it is possible, but is very difficult. See his comment here. So I would caution anyone to really think this out before trying it. So, with that said, I'd recommend that you read the comments below from people who have actually used this article as a guide to switch sides on the handle.)

(Note 2: On Jan 15, 2013 I heard from a reader who said that he and his wife followed the instructions to change the handle from one side to the other. It took him and his wife about 3 hours, they had to drill 4 holes, and it worked like a charm.)

 Although I've recovered countless Lazyboy recliners I have never changed the handle from one side to the other. I am very familiar with Lazy boys though and I do have an older lazyboy at home. I turned it upside down and thoroughly investigated the mechanisms, the handle and the other parts of the underneath. It seems to me that it might be possible to change the handle to the left side, but I have a DISCLAMER: unless a person is mechanically inclined and used to figuring things out, I would caution a person from trying it himself. You could very easily ruin your recliner, such as taking it all apart and then not being able to get it back together. Also, Although I know Lazyboys fairly well, and I think that this will work, I have no guarantees that it will actually work. But I have an idea that it might work.
Note: since writing this article I went to the La-Z-Boy website FAQ page and found this Question and Answer:
"Q: When ordering a recliner, may I request to have the handle located on the left side instead of on the right? 
A: Many of our recliners can be ordered with the handle on the left side. This option would have to be special ordered, since all of our recliners are manufactured with the handles on the right."
I also found this info on a La-Z-Boy tear sheet. (click on picture to see the pdf file.)
This seems to indicate that the option for having the handle on either side might be built into the design of the La-Z-Boy frame.
With that said, if you, or someone you know is wanting to try it, this is how I would suggest. (A MUST DO: Take LOTS Of pictures all the way through this job! When you have the recliner all taken apart you will be glad to have the pictures to guide you in putting everything back together. Among the other pictures, make sure you get pictures of the side of the chair with the handle, both when the footstool is up and when it is down. You will need these pictures when you put the chair back together.) Use my instructions as an APPROXIMATE guide, realize that what you actually will need to do may at times be different than the instructions.
  1. SUMMARY: This is what needs to be done. There is a square rod that runs underneath the recliner from one side of the recliner to the other. The handle is attached to this rod, which also connects and controls the operation of the recliner mechanisms. This rod needs to be taken completely out of the chair on right side and turned around so that it comes in from the left side of the chair.
  2. BEFORE YOU START, read through these entire instructions. As you read each step, look at each step of the instructions that corresponds with the actual chair. See if you understand what needs to be done at each step. If any of the instructions are unclear, post a message at the bottom of this page.
  3. First, get a flashlight , turn the chair on its back and thoroughly look the chair mechanism over. Trace out where the handle is attached to the square metal rod. Trace out that rod as it goes clear across the bottom of the chair. Notice how the rod runs through a number of braces, brackets, etc. Also notice the cotter pins that go through holes in the square rod. Move the handle up a number of times and down, and watch how that square metal rod controls the movements of the other mechanisms.
  4. Follow the instructions on these links to take the recliner apart and take the backrest off the recliner.
  5. Turn the chair frame on its back or upside down so that you can see all the mechanisms.
  6. Mark where the rod that holds the handle on the left side of the chair will go. Use some type of erasable chalk, just in case this doesn't work. Take a close look at where the rod ends, and the direction of the rod to estimate where to mark where to drill the hole. (Don't drill the hole yet; wait until step 19 below.)
  7. Leave the handle and large wood or plastic washer on the end of square rod. NOTE: Notice what position the handle is pointing when you pull the rod out. You will want to put the handle in the same position when you put the rod back in on the left side. Also, take measure how far the handle is from the chair, so you will know how far to push the rod in from the left side.
    1. A Lazy Boy Tech had this suggestion "The one trick that I have used when pulling a drive shaft is to mark the pins and drive shaft with a sharpie so you get the drive shaft back in with the proper rotation. 1/4 of a turn in the wrong direction will lead to hours of head scratching. Take pictures print them out and put them beside your chair." [west coast at]
  8. Take all the cotter pins out of the square rod.
  9. Remove the spring(s) that is/are attached to a curved metal piece that is at one or both end(s) of the rod.
  10. Remove or unscrew any brackets that may be attached to the rod.
  11. The goal is to free up the square rod so that you can pull it out from the side of the chair. If for some reason you can pull it out, carefully inspect the full length of the rod to see if anything is still attached to it. If needed, have a friend help you look. Once all the pins and any other attaching things have been loosened, that rod should just pull out. If for any reason the rod doesn't come out, stop here. Don't do the following steps until or unless the rod comes out.
    1. Alternatively, (I'm not sure this is any easier) instead of taking the metal rod all the way out, you may be able to just push the rod through to the other side.
    2. Then remove the set screw that holds the handle to the rod.
    3. Cut the fabric and drill the hole in the side as explained in #12 below.
    4. Push the rod through to the left side so that it protrudes out the same distance as it was on the right side.
    5. Measure the distance between the existing cotter pin holes and mark the same distance from the other side. and redrill the holes for the cotter pins.
    6. Continue with # 15 below.
  12. Assuming that the rod came out, now you need to cut and/or drill a hole in the left side of the chair. Look at the side of the chair that had the handle. See how the fabric is cut and see the size and appearance of the hole. Do the same on the left side. When you cut/drill the new hole on the left side of the chair, take great care to line up the hole, as described in #5 above. DO NOT drill through the fabric. Use a single edge razor or a pair of scissors, etc. to cut a hole in the fabric (and any pasdding) that is just a little larger than the hole to be drilled.
  13. After the holes have been cut and drilled, push the rod back through the new hole into the middle of the chair. Be careful to line up the position of the handle the same as it was taken out from the right side.
  14. Carefully and slowly push the square rod back through the same bracket that it was removed from. This may be a slow tedious job, but keep at it, work it through one bracket at a time.
  15. After you have the rod and handle put back in place, use your pictures as a guide and reattach any brackets or springs that were removed.
  16. Put all the pins back into the rod.
  17. When you have all this part put back together, stand the chair frame up on its feet and operate the handle. When you move the handle it should raise the footrest. When the footrest is all the way up, the chair should be locked to prevent it from rocking.
  18. When you have the chair mechanisms put back in place, go back to step 4 and follow the instructions in reverse.
  19. You still have the hole in the fabric where the handle used to be. If you might switch the handle back to its original location some day, then you only need a temporary covering. You can use a wooden medallion to cover the hole and use finishing nails to hold the medallion in place. OR, you can find some material that matches the old fabric and hand sew a patch over the hole. OR, if you can get some more of the fabric that is on the recliner, you can also replace the fabric on the outside of the arm.

If you follow these instructions, please send us a note and let us know how it went.

Replacing a Lost Lazyboy Backrest


One of the great conveniences of most Lazyboy recliners is that the backrest can be easily unlatched and removed removed from the base of the chair.

This is really helpful in making the chair lighter and more manageable when you want to move the chair or to transport it to another location.However, if the Lazyboy is being transported with the mechanism of the backrest in the unlatched position, the back can fly off the chair and be lost. Then, what do you do with the remainder of the chair that you still have? Some of your choices are to dispose of the chair, to try to purchase a new backrest for the chair, or (if you are good at woodworking) to buiild a new backrest for the chair, or ????

This article is directed toward another posibility. If you try to build a new backrest one problem is that when you lost the backrest you also lost the upper part of the metal Lazyboy mechanism, which is attached to the backrest.


Also, even assuming that you could get a replacement of that mechanism from Lazyboy, making a functioning backrest is more complicated than just cutting and gluing wood together. You still have to drill holes in the right places at the correct angles.

I would suggest that you get on Craig's List and try to find an old Lazyboy recliner of any condition. (The style doesn't matter because the frames are very similar of most of the styles.) Even if you had to pay $40 to $100 or more for the old junkie lazyboy you would probably be time and money ahead over trying to build the frame of the backrest yourself. You could just take the backrest off that old Lazy boy and put in on your lazyboy. (when you go out to buy an old Lazyboy, take our Lazyboy chair base with and check that the back of the other recliner will fit your recliner. Also, sit in the old recliner and check to see how the backrest fits you.)

Once you have the replacement backrest for your Lazyboy, now what? The next step is to get it covered. You can either do it yourself or take it to an upholsterer. Here we will assume that you will be trying to recover it yourself.


You best bet to try to match your existing fabric is to go back to the store where you bought the chair. You can often buy a couple more yards through them. If they are not able order more fabric, then you will probably have setting for a complimentary fabric. Trying to find an exact match is very difficult, but sometimes you might be able to find it, or something close.


The filling in the backrest is general foam, sometimes it also has a polyester batting around the foam base. Depending upon the style of the chair, The foam in some of the Lazyboy backrests have been molded to shape, so to duplicate it the foam needs to be cut and glued to shape. If you have an old backrest that you are recovering, you can use the old foam as a guide.

Making the Cover

Assuming that you have an old backrest, just take it off the frame and take the cover apart to use as a guide. (Before taking the cover apart, make some lineup marks on the back side along the seams.) Take pictures at the very begining and at each step only the way. Those pictures will be your guide as you put the chair back together.


Replacing broken seat Springs in a LazyBoy Recliner

(article in process, more later)

It is very difficult even for a professional to try to fix the zigzag springs from the bottom of the recliner or the bottom of the seat. To best repair seat springs, this is how I would do it.

A.) Remove the backrest from the chair, To fix your seat you first must remove the backrest, as shown here (you won't be able to remove the seat without taking the back off first.):

Taking The Back Off of a Lazyboy Recliner 

B.) Then take the seat out of the recliner, as told here (the page that you already looked at it):

Taking Apart A Lazyboy Recliner 

C.) Then take the cover off the seat and all the padding off  the seat. Then it will be comparatively easy to replace the springs from the top (Assuming that you have access to some new 9 gauge zigzag springs (also called arc springs). If you don't have a supplier, see below:

(Take pictures at each step so you can remember how it goes back together.)  

After the seat is out of the recliner then you  take the screws out of the hinges..

When you have the seat out of the recliner and loose from the hinges, then take and all the padding off the seat. when you replace the seat spring you

If you don't have a local supplier for the 9 gauge zigzag springs, here are a couple places that you could get the springs. (You can also get them other places as well)

  • Oklahoma Upholstery Supply, Stock No.  60436, 24" S-Arc Springs, 9 gauge, find them here.
  •  Great Lakes Fabrics, Seat Spring = 9 gauge, Part Number #675 (they sell it by the foot. Measure your old springs and ask if they will cut it to your exact length.) To find the springs on their web page, click here, and then (if needed) click on the "S" near the top, scroll down about 3/4 the way down the page to find the springs.
  • Rockford Supply
  • You will also need some EK clips (No Sag Spring Clips), such as these that attach the springs to the wood frame, and some EK nails, such as these.  You might first check to see if your town has a upholstery fabric store that also sells do-it-yourself supplies.

Once you receive the springs you may still have to cut them to size with a pair of bolt-cutters. The seat springs in a typical Lazboy recliner are approximately 19" long, but check the actual size of the springs in your laZboy.


Taking Apart A Lazyboy Recliner

Under Lazyboy


A Question was asked about how to get the seat out of a Lazybor recliner



There is a pin on each side at the front of the underside of the seat. To see it, look under the front of your lazyboy here (look clear up to the bottom of the seat):

Click on picture to enlarge.



Look way up inside near the front of the seat, next to the arm and you will see a flat curved black metal arm the connects to at pin, which is held in place by a screw, as shown in this picture (look for the tip of my finger):

Click on picture to enlarge


Take the screw out of the pin, then pull the pin out (towards the middle of the chair, in the direction away from the arm. This will free that flat arm from the underside of the seat. When you have the pins of both sides taken out, you should be able to lift the front of the seat up high. Now you will be able to see the screws that hold the back of the seat to the arms. Take out those screws (bolts) and then the seat will come out of the chair. Now take those brackets off the bottom of the seat. If you have a digital camera, I would recomment that you take pictures of each piece as you take it apart. That way you can remember how to put it back together. But if you can't take pictures, perhaps we can still help you put it back together. I've  done countless lazyboys over the years.


Taking The Back Off of a Lazyboy Recliner

(note: you can click on any picture to enlarge it.)

The situation, you have a lazyboy recliner and you need to move it.  Because of their unique recliner mechanism, this proceedure will only work on newer Lazyboy recliners. (Older Lazyboys don't come apart like this.) Newer Lazyboys are built to come apart easily. Turn the recliner around so that you are at the back of the recliner.

lazyboy outside back


Get a standard flat screwdriver, and you may also need a flashlight. Look in the crack between the arms and the backrest. Using the flashlight (if needed) find the metal bracket.



The braket has a short lock lever. Put the tip of the flat screwdriver under the downward pointing end of the lock level and lift the lever all the way up so that it will be pointing upward.




After you have unlatched both sides, then you can use your screwdriver to gently pry up both sides of the backrest. After you have it pryed up a little, stand behind the chair, grab ahold under the overhang section (as shown in picture below on right) ......

  5   6






...... and lift the backrest section out of the chair. This makes the chair much easier to transport. You can carry each piece separately.