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Chair Repair Advice (Update)

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Forum topic by ChuckV posted 07-16-2018 03:36 PM 602 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ChuckV

3177 posts in 3725 days


07-16-2018 03:36 PM

I’ve taken on the task of repairing an old chair from my wife’s aunt’s house. The aunt is in her 80s and she remembers the chair at her grandfather’s house, so it is old.

This chair sat for many years right next to a hot soapstone wood stove and had a LOT of use and abuse. It is amazing that it is holding together at all. Every joint was loose. At one time, someone added some metal L-brackets, some of which are broken from constant bending.

I was able to separate all the parts. There were screws, wood dowels and mortise and tenon joints. I also marked joints and pieces to be sure I can get it back together. Here are the pieces:

I have never made a chair, and I have a question about the joinery. Should all the joints he glued, at least all the ones that are not held with screws? Mostly I wonder about the back slats. The tenons on the tops are very shallow, like this:

I think that I see remnants of old dried glue here, but I want to be sure.

My overall plan is to remove old glue and enlarge the loose tenons with veneer to get a snug fit before reassembling with glue and the screws.

Any other suggestions would be appreciated!

Update:
Despite a few nerve-wracking gluing moments, I have the chair back together. I am very happy with the results. It is now, as they used to say, solid as Sears.

I enlarged quite a few of the tenons with veneer and then refit them. Some of the screw holes needed to be repaired. I drilled them out and glued in some dowels.

I like how it looks in our living room. I just might “forget” for a while to let my wife’s aunt know that it is completed.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters


8 replies so far

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PPK

1197 posts in 1007 days


#1 posted 07-16-2018 03:56 PM

That’s a really good looking chair, from what the picture shows! I’m no expert, but way back when, they used hide glue, which is water based, so you may just try hot water to get off some of the old glue. I like the idea of using veneer to get the joints fitting better. Good luck whatever method you do!

-- Pete

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HerbC

1790 posts in 3057 days


#2 posted 07-16-2018 04:02 PM

Also recommend you use hot hide glue to reassemble the joints…

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!" http://lumberjocks.com/HerbC/blog/17090

View Porchfish's profile

Porchfish

847 posts in 2730 days


#3 posted 07-16-2018 08:18 PM

Franklin Tite-bond 3 has been the choice for restoration of antiques since its inception. After thoroughly cleaning old joints. Lose the screws ! Good luck my friend. I have a young friend who restores antiques for a living and will not reassemble a joint of any kind without thoroughly cleaning old glur with mineral spirits then liberally applying a penetrating oil (like watco natural) and giving the oil a minimum of 30 days to stabilize the old dried wood….then proceed with the re-gluing. However you approach the task. Take your time and good luck…nice looking chair ….Mahogany ?

-- The pig caught under the fence is always the one doing all the squealing !

View ChuckV's profile

ChuckV

3177 posts in 3725 days


#4 posted 07-16-2018 09:16 PM

Thanks for the ideas.

There is a piece that makes me wonder. This attaches to the front underside of the seat and the front legs. On the top surface, where it contacts the underside of the seat, it looks like it may have had glue.

This piece is 19” long. It seems like there would be an awful lot of expansions and contraction of the seat along the length of this piece.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

8162 posts in 2995 days


#5 posted 07-17-2018 01:36 AM

If you re-glue with hot hide glue there is no need to remove old glue. In fact if you do and it removes wood as well you reduce the size and compromise the fit. Antiques of value lose some of it if restored with anachronistic glues.
Unless the joints are really loose the swelling from the hot glue may solve the fit problem. Try one to see. If they are in fact loose the veneer sounds pretty good.
Good luck, nice chair.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese! http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10320 posts in 4250 days


#6 posted 07-17-2018 05:21 AM

Looks like a COOL chair…

Very interesting… :)

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View ChuckV's profile

ChuckV

3177 posts in 3725 days


#7 posted 07-22-2018 09:07 PM

Despite a few nerve-wracking gluing moments, I have the chair back together. I am very happy with the results. It is now, as they used to say, solid as Sears.

I enlarged quite a few of the tenons with veneer and then refit them. Some of the screw holes needed to be repaired. I drilled them out and glued in some dowels.

I like how it looks in our living room. I just might “forget” for a while to let my wife’s aunt know that it is completed.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View Rich's profile

Rich

3871 posts in 787 days


#8 posted 07-22-2018 09:13 PM

That’s a really nice chair. You’re lucky to have it (for a while, at least). You did a beautiful job repairing it.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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