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Old 05-04-2009, 05:17 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Up hieah
Posts: 2,850
Help! My casters are immobilized in my hair!

Fortunately the hair in question's not attached to me anymore. But I'm at a loss about how to free the wheels up again.

I have a chair kind of like this, with casters very much like this. The "tire" of the wheel is a sphere of some hard rubber-like stuff. The metal hood is attached to the axis of the tire using some kind of tool-proof fastener: flush and button-like on one side, as shown in the caster close-up, with a perfectly round indentation on the other side, like a rivet. Nothing for a screwdriver or Allen wrench, or even a pliers really, to bite.

The wheels don't go 'round anymore because there's too much of my own shed hair (and probably cat fur too) wound tightly around the axis between the hood and the tire. I've tried tweezing; pulling with needle-nose pliers; cutting with tiny sharp embroidery scissors and fresh X-Acto knife blades. I didn't get much accomplished.

Is there a secret way to take these casters apart for cleaning, or a secret technique for getting the hair off in situ? Or should I give up and replace the damn things? I have read advice to use Nair, but... well, Nair stinks. I'd rather find a physical, rather than chemical, solution.
Old 05-04-2009, 05:34 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 22,536
Nair wouldn't work anyway, because it doesn't work by dissolving the hair, it loosens the follicle so the hair falls out. A strong hydrogen peroxide solution, such as used for hair bleaching, will do the trick and it's odorless. Sit each caster in turn in a shallow glass or ceramic container and fill just high enough to cover the hair-bound axle and give it a few hours.
Old 05-04-2009, 05:44 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Up hieah
Posts: 2,850
Huh. I did not know that about Nair, and I even used to use the crap, back in the day.

Any idea whether peroxide is potentially a danger to the rubbery stuff of the sphere-wheels?
Old 05-05-2009, 06:44 AM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 30
My first thought was to soak it in drano. If it can conquer the hair in my drain, certainly it can conquer the hair in your chair.
Old 05-05-2009, 09:50 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 22,536
Originally Posted by emmaliminal View Post
Any idea whether peroxide is potentially a danger to the rubbery stuff of the sphere-wheels?
I shouldn't think so, but it may cause some surface oxidation of any metal parts it contacts. Probably a wise idea to run a spot test first, however, just to be sure. I wouldn't use Drano since its principle ingredient is lye--sodium hydroxide--and is highly caustic and corrosive. Liquid bleach would also work, but it's somewhat more corrosive than peroxide.
Old 05-05-2009, 09:54 AM
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Over by dere
Posts: 27,023
A Bic lighter will do the trick. I use this approach when I get hair wrapped around a necklace chain. You might want to drag it outside so you don't stink up the house.

Last edited by Kalhoun; 05-05-2009 at 09:54 AM.
Old 05-05-2009, 10:22 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posts: 17,521
The Wizard's Guild will not be happy.
Old 05-05-2009, 12:18 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: ATX
Posts: 6,029
You could just go to Home Depot and get some new casters.
Old 05-05-2009, 01:45 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: 0730bama
Posts: 382
I used X-Acto knife, tweezers, needlenose pliers, and an hour or so of elbow grease to get this out of my chair's casters:
Satisfying! And no stinky smells.
Old 05-05-2009, 03:07 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: St. Louis, MO 50mi. West
Posts: 4,453
If appearance is not critical, you could remove the rivet and replace it with an appropriately sized bolt. Of as already suggested, get new casters. $6 bucks a pair at Lowes

Last edited by GaryM; 05-05-2009 at 03:09 PM. Reason: Change quantity per price

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