Are you changing offices, moving to a new location or needing to repair a chair? You may need to disassemble some of your furniture to help things fit in the moving space you have. You may need to fix a chair if you find the office chair base hits the ground or the office chair cylinder is stuck in the base, for example. An office chair might seem complicated, but it can be easy to disassemble as long as you’re careful and pay attention.

Parts of an Office Chair

The office chair consists of three major areas: the chair, the arms and the base. The chair portion consists of the headrest, the chair back and the seat of the chair plus any lumbar support the chair might provide.

The arms have their base, the padding and any controls related to their adjustment. The base may seem like the most complicated component. While all chairs are different, most of them have the same basic parts in their bases.

How Office Chairs Are Constructed

The seat of the chair sits on the base cylinder, which is the rod that supports the seat. The base cylinder consists of a pneumatic cylinder (the piece that allows you to raise and lower the seat gently) covered by a plastic cylinder cover. This spindle then fits into the base, which usually consists of a number of arms with casters (the wheels) at the ends.

Accompanying the chair should be plastic handles that allow the user to control the height of the chair and the angle of the tilt of the chair back. Sometimes, armrests and headrests will also have adjustable controls.

Removing an Office Chair Base

Removing the base from the chair allows you to replace parts that may have succumbed to wear and tear and also allows you to break down the chair into smaller pieces in case it needs to be moved. The exact process will vary from chair to chair, so consult the manual for your model to see what you’ll have to do. However, the process is generally the same for all desk chairs.

First, you’ll want to tip over the chair so that the back is resting on the floor. Consider spreading out newspaper or a towel underneath the chair. The pneumatic cylinder can have oil on it and that could get on the floor, carpets or your clothing.

Office Chair Base Removal

If you are proceeding with a repair or office chair base replacement, first rest the chair on its back and inspect the base. How is it connected to the cylinder? You may need a screwdriver, Allen wrench or a special hex key to remove any bolts or screws that are fastening the central cylinder from the base. Again, check the manual for your specific model to detach the base and set it aside.

Office Chair Lift Mechanism/Pneumatic Cylinder

Normally, the seat of the chair can be removed from the cylinder by tugging them apart or by gently applying force with a hammer until they pull apart and separate. This will leave the column, which contains the pneumatic cylinder, or the office chair lift mechanism. In some models, this part of the central column will remain attached to the bottom of the seat. In other models, the portion of the column with the pneumatic cylinder will separate with the rest of the support column.

Either way, if you want to remove or replace the pneumatic cylinder, use proper tools like a pipe wrench (or another tool with a grip) to separate the cylinder from the plastic cover. It’s likely that there will be some oil on the base, the cylinder or the joining parts, which helps the chair smoothly lift up or sink down.

To further disassemble it, you can remove the casters from the base if needed, following the directions in the owner’s manual for your model. Once your move or repair is done, you should be able to reassemble the chair the same way you deconstructed it. If anything isn’t working correctly, consult the manual for troubleshooting tips.