Removing Dowels Without Damaging the Piece?

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Blog entry by Holz_und_Geschichte41 posted 05-17-2011 07:39 PM 1779 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have buddy that is looking to repair a piece of New England style furniture that was damaged during a move. It is only the top portion of a rectangular piece. The top is connected to the supporting legs by a series of dowel joints. I am searching for advice as to how to remove the top piece without damaging the supporting legs. So far all I can think of doing is cutting into the center of and removing the top chunk by chunk around the dowel joints. And then sever flush the exposed dowels to the top of the support legs. If anyone has any experience in this type of repair your advice is sorely needed and appreciated. Thank you and have a great day.

-- Ryan, Arizona

5 comments so far

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 4182 days

#1 posted 05-17-2011 07:58 PM

If this is an old or traditional piece, the makers may have used hide glue. If so, you can loosen it with heat, e.g. a hair drier or heat gun. Test carefully.

-- 温故知新

View Steven Davis's profile

Steven Davis

118 posts in 2969 days

#2 posted 05-17-2011 08:47 PM

Concur on the heat gun. Gentle wedging to separate the legs from the top until you can get to the dowels to either remove the top or cut off the dowels – you can always drill the dowels out and replace them. Patience, patience, patience!

-- Steven Davis - see me at

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3038 days

#3 posted 05-19-2011 01:30 AM

I agree with trying heat first if you suspect hide glue as the adhesive otherwise you might try using vinegar.
Hope this helps.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View a1Jim's profile


117160 posts in 3631 days

#4 posted 05-19-2011 01:36 AM

Just cut them off and drill for new dowels

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View William's profile


9950 posts in 2897 days

#5 posted 05-19-2011 02:14 AM

Ok, unrelated to the post, but did A1Jim get caught up in the recent tornados around the country? He’s upside down!!!!!!


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