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Forum topic by Dez posted 04-24-2012 09:04 PM 1412 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Dez's profile


1166 posts in 4041 days

04-24-2012 09:04 PM

Topic tags/keywords: refurbishing question

Why would any mfg of chairs etc. do something like this?

You can see the tenon in the frame of this chair seat, and the two holes/gap/voids – whatever you want to call them.
On the right the void is caused by the difference between the tenon length and the depth of the mortise, on the left by the screw they installed to help hold the seat to the back apron – right in line with the shoulder of the tennon, effectively cutting the tennon off!
Why would they do that???? The screws are original to the chair, not a “fix” by an uninformed owner.
Otherwise the chair is fairly well made and only came apart from extreme abuse – breaking most of the round tenons.

To repair the damage to the chair I cut off all the broken tenons, drilled them out and replaced them with dowels. To repair the damage from the improperly placed screws I am thinking that I should rout out the damaged portion, extending the “dado” to the left, basically installing a floating tenon. (At the front of the chair it is a true mortise and tenon, fully hidden and at the back I guess you would properly call it a tongue and groove joint?)

All comments are welcome!

-- Folly ever comes cloaked in opportunity!

7 replies so far

View MrRon's profile


4710 posts in 3207 days

#1 posted 04-24-2012 09:20 PM

Obviously it is not “fairly well made”. From the look of it, it appears it was not factory made. Is this just one chair or are there more like it? If more, compare them and that will tell you where whether it was made in a factory or by an inexperienced woodworker.

View Dez's profile


1166 posts in 4041 days

#2 posted 04-24-2012 10:23 PM

There is a full set of 8 chairs that match the table, two of which are “captains” style chairs with arm rests.
Other than the two improperly placed screws I do feel it is well made for a factory chair – factory made indicated (to me) by the round tenons rather than square tenons used in most older furniture. Solid brass slotted screws, hide glue and a shellac finish are also indicators of the age.
All the chairs have the same screws from the apron into the seat.
The table and chairs were made sometime in the early to mid 1900’s based on the information from the current/second owner.
This is the only damaged chair and it received the damage when the load shifted during transport.
All the other chairs are solid and in good shape excepting the normal wear on the rungs from where people will rest their feet while seated.

-- Folly ever comes cloaked in opportunity!

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3072 days

#3 posted 04-24-2012 11:14 PM

Is it possible that the chair might have went through some environmental damage? Water or arid conditions on the chair, in the area that the damage exists? That could cause some intense changes on the broken tenon that would explain the gaps around it.

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Loren's profile


10252 posts in 3612 days

#4 posted 04-24-2012 11:45 PM

Mortises are normally made deeper than the tenon. Chances
are good that your chair’s mortise was cut with a chain mortiser
which does not make a flat-bottom mortise.

Most chair manufacturers are not building chairs to last 100 years.
100 years ago the market may not have existed as styles
do change and also the heirloom market is today and has
always been the domain of the wealthy and of connoisseurs.

The notions of “quality” promoted by today’s woodworking
literature allow the hobbiest to build heirloom quality furniture
in an environment isolated from the time costs of the furniture
market. In the sale of most chairs finish, style and trends
are the big appeals. Only a handful of chair manufacturers
today have enough high-end market cache to make using
the highest quality joinery profitable. Thos. Moser is an

View Dez's profile


1166 posts in 4041 days

#5 posted 04-25-2012 06:03 AM

While the chair isn’t the best made I’ve seen, built or repaired, it isn’t bad at all.
I don’t know of any environmental damage either water or arid (Pacific NW most of the time since they were made).
I realize that you need a little difference it is more than I would allow and the mortise walls in the seat frame look smooth as if done with a chisel or mortiser.
What really floored me was the screw right where it would do the most damage to the joint!

-- Folly ever comes cloaked in opportunity!

View Dez's profile


1166 posts in 4041 days

#6 posted 05-01-2012 03:02 AM

Here is what I did to repair it and why!
Repaired the broken round tenons, made 1 new stretcher and reinforced the areas in the seat broken out by poorly placed screws and abuse by chiseling out a stopped dado and will be inserting a floating “tenon”.

-- Folly ever comes cloaked in opportunity!

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 3888 days

#7 posted 05-01-2012 03:12 AM

If these are Kinkaid Chairs they tend to do that in Post construction inspections before leaving the line. Someone was concerned about the chair pulling out or something. As far as the tenon being to long? Just Poor quality control, it happens. good fix on your part.

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