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Notes On Repairing Vintage Pressback Dining Chairs

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Blog series by Lee Barker updated 11-28-2011 10:23 PM 3 parts 3026 reads 1 comment total

Part 1: Assessment

11-28-2011 09:34 PM by Lee Barker | 0 comments »

All four ash-seat chairs were loose in every joint (that’s 22) between spindle and seat and spindle and crest. The side spindles were screwed in from the side, wedged from the bottom. This seemed like a pretty straightforward repair: Remove the back, clean the joints, reassemble and clamp. Whoa. Those little screw heads? Not at all! They were a cheap trick: 6 penny box nails filed with a screw-like slot!In order to get them out I had to dig. I rebored a 3/8” hole ...

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Part 2: Clamping Stuff

11-28-2011 09:41 PM by Lee Barker | 1 comment »

1. I have a drawer marked “Bumpers, Feet and Grommets.” In it one would find crutch tips, various. I slipped them on the side spindles and the pipe clamp feet stayed put for downward pressure. Easy! 2. I built a little gizmo to insure the backs would all be at the same angle. It’s 3/4 ply. One to clamp to the seat, one to clamp to the back, and two angle pieces to guarantee consistency and rigidity.

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Part 3: On Glue

11-28-2011 10:23 PM by Lee Barker | 0 comments »

Most of the adhesive work involved polyurethane glue. I like Franklin’s recipe. Glue in the holes, water on the spindles. There is a sweet spot in the cure for cleanup time, but I don’t have it down quite yet. I also discovered that, even though the lower section was rigid, there were a few spindles loose. With these I upended the chair and bored a 7/64 hole into the tenon part of the rung, angled so it would hit the void. The hole is just big enough to insert the nozzle of...

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