You can make small running repairs to your furniture, but furniture of any value should be repaired by an expert. Many manufacturers will take furniture back for repair: ask at the shop where you bought the furniture, or write to the manufacturer direct.
Loose joints, legs etc. Sometimes these can be rectified simply by tightening up existing screws or nuts on bolts, so examine the furniture carefully to see how it is made. If screws have worked loose because their holes are now too big, take out the screws , fill ‘the 165 hole with a fibre plug or pack out with matchsticks and woodglue, and rcscrew. Alternatively, you can sometimes use a thicker screw to solve this problem. Or you can use metal repair plates, available from hardware shops in a wide variety of shapes, to pull together a loose joint. These can also be used to mend a break in, for example, a leg. On a more ambitious scale, you may want to take the furniture apart completely, scrape out the old glue, and then reglue with pva woodworking adhesive. Use clamps or string to hold the wood in place while the glue sets.
Castors that squeak are often cured with a few drops of oil, but do wipe carefully afterwards, or you will stain your carpet or flooring. Sometimes the screws which fix the castors to the furniture legs work loose; try unscrewing the castors, and turning them round a little, so that you can rescrew into fresh wood. If wood at leg ends has become damaged you may be able to replace plate castors with a cup type that fits around the bottom of the leg and is screwed in from the sides; or, if this would not lower the chair height too dramatically^ you could shorten all four legs by exactly equal amounts to give fresh wood for the castor fixing. Castor holes that have become enlarged can be packed out with matchsticks and woodworking glue before replacing the screw.
Hinges. Where hinge holes have become enlarged, pack them out with matchsticks and glue, as for castors, above. A few drops of oil will usually cure squeaking hinges. If hinges have been set too deeply use a thin piece of card to pack out the recess into which they fit. First fit card behind the hinge on the cabinet side: if problem continues, pack out the hinge on the door side as well.
Handles that have worked loose may simply need screws or nuts tightening up. But if there is a screw holding the handle that has worked loose, pack out the hole with matchsticks and pva woodworking glue. Alternatively, wind cotton thread around the thread of the screw attaching the handle, then dip in glue or gloss paint, and re-insert into the furniture.
Sticking drawers may be jammed because something is sticking up inside, in which case, open the drawer a little way if possible and dislodge obstruction with a piece of hooked wire. Or you may be able to get to one drawer by taking out the drawer above or below.
Sometimes drawers jam because the wood has swollen: try drying the furniture out with a fan heater placed about 90 cm in front for an hour or two, but do not attempt this method with antique furniture. When drawers stick during opening and closing, it sometimes helps to swop their order around. Or try rubbing their runners with soap or a candle but do not use oil or grease.
Usually you have to patch from the front. Find a fabric to match as near as possible. Sometimes it is possible to cut a small piece from an out of sight place. To patch a small tear, snip off any loose threads, and cut fabric just slightly longer than the tear. Litt up the edges of the tear and slide in the patch, easing it flat with the blade of a knife. Then use the knife to smear latex adhesive underneath fabric edges to hold patch in place: wait until adhesive is nearly dry, then press edges together and hold down for a few minutes. Carefully wipe off any excess adhesive before it sets.
A hole can be patched in the same manner – cut the patch a little larger than the neatened hole all round and use pvc adhesive.