Shortly after we moved into our last apartment, my mom offered me a chair her office wanted to get rid of. I wanted an office chair, so I was enthusiastic to get one for free, even though my mom warned me that the chair had an "idiosyncrasy". I concluded that it was probably one of those chairs that makes fart noises whenever anyone sits on it. Alas, the idiosyncrasy wasn't nearly that entertaining.
It turned out that the problem was that the chair would no longer stay in an elevated position once anyone sat on it. This wouldn't necessarily be an inconvenience to everyone, but I'm someone who special orders pants with a 36" inseam. Raising a chair's seat contributes considerably to my comfort. Still, it was a nice chair, so we brought it back to our apartment.
It occurred to me to wonder if I could fix the chair. I did some looking on the internet, and sure enough, a solution presented itself to me. The problem was in the chair's gas cylinder, and all I needed to do was replace it.
Shortly thereafter, we learned that we would be moving again, so I postponed doing anything with the chair. After we moved into our new apartment, though, I decided to order a replacement gas cylinder and get cracking. I'm not super handy (except maybe with jewelry pliers!) but I do enjoy learning how to fix things. One thing I love about the internet--and I mean this in the most non-perverted way possible--is that you can find instructions and/or videos on how to do almost anything.
When my gas cylinder arrived yesterday, I perused some of these videos. One of them recommended unscrewing the apparatus under the seat and then using brute force with a hammer to dislodge the old gas cylinder from that and the wheeled base. Despite our rather sizeable collection of screwdrivers, I couldn't find one that would fit these particular screws. Finally, I realized that a hex key we got years ago with some Ikea furniture we put together would work! So I unscrewed the apparatus under the seat of the chair.
I then tried to dislodge the gas cylinder using the hammer. Not only did this not work, but it made quite a racket, which I felt self-conscious about since I live in an apartment building. I went back to the videos.
The next video I watched featured someone using a pipe wrench to remove the old gas cylinder. I surveyed my collection of wrenches. I tried several that may or may not have been pipe wrenches, but all they did was scrape the metal without moving the gas cylinder at all.
The last video I watched showed someone spraying WD-40 in the places where the gas cylinder connected to the chair, and then dislodging it with a rubber mallet. I had neither WD-40 nor a rubber mallet, but thought that the latter at least might be useful to have on hand. So I went to bed with my chair a collapsed mess on the floor, and then went to a hardware store this morning.
I dragged the chair onto our balcony so I could use the WD-40 in a well-ventilated area. Then, I tried very, very hard to dislodge the gas cylinder using the rubber mallet. No dice at all. Scott gave it a try, and did manage to dislodge one of the wheels, but the gas cylinder remained stubbornly in place.
Defeated, I put the chair back together. I am now the proud owner of a rubber mallet that looks like it came straight out of Looney Tunes and a new gas cylinder that I may or may not ever be able to use. Maybe the solution is to find a much shorter person whose office chair is stuck in a permanently elevated position and orchestrate a trade.