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Refurbishing a Child's Rocker - Repair Questions

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Forum topic by chrisstef posted 08-06-2012 05:38 PM 1050 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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chrisstef

11142 posts in 1697 days


08-06-2012 05:38 PM

Im off on my latest project … refurbishing a child size rocking chair. It was originally my Uncle’s and he has held on to it for 60 years, needless to say its in rough shape but he would love to see my little boy rocking away in it.

Last night i started to remove the old finish and got to thinkin about making repairs. Its missing one of the four back spindles, another spindle is cracked along the side, and some of the joints are loose.

The four main spindles (one at each corner of the chair) appear to be wedged through tenons, the others simply mortised in place. I think im going to have to take most of it apart to make the proper fixes. My question to you folks is what type of glule do you think was used? Hide glue? No glue at all?

At the missing spindle i cant see any glue residue in the bottom of the mortise.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty


7 replies so far

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mtenterprises

830 posts in 1384 days


#1 posted 08-06-2012 09:59 PM

Hmmmm, 60 + year old glue, don’t have any idea what kind it is but I know from expierance it will be hard and brittle. I have honestly repaired 100s of spindle turned chairs rockers and stools. Just knock it apart clean the glue joints and reglue with the best glue made today. Just don’t use a soft glue like Elmer’s white, it’ll rock apart again. The joints that don’t knock apart just leave them they will be good untill you are gone from this life. As far as I’m concerned this type of chair was made to be repaired even if you have broken pieces it gives you the oppertunity to practice new skills and maybe even buy some new tools.
MIKE

-- See pictures on Flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/44216106@N07/ And visit my Facebook page - facebook.com/MTEnterprises

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chrisstef

11142 posts in 1697 days


#2 posted 08-06-2012 10:36 PM

Exactly what i was lookin for mike. I appreciate your expertise. Im off to the shop for some more scraping and sanding.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

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Viktor

448 posts in 2109 days


#3 posted 08-06-2012 10:37 PM

My guess is hide glue. Could also be casein. Although polyvinyl acetate (PVA) was discovered about 100 years ago I don’t think it was used as wood glue back then. It would probably be safe to also rule out epoxy or formaldehydes. Polyurethanes (ex. Gorilla glue) are also relatively recent.

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mtenterprises

830 posts in 1384 days


#4 posted 08-06-2012 11:05 PM

I could also be a resoursanol glue but I doubt it since the rocker was most likely factory built and resoursanol is a 2 part and would take too long to use in a production shop. My GUESS would be casein at about that age.
MIKE

-- See pictures on Flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/44216106@N07/ And visit my Facebook page - facebook.com/MTEnterprises

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chrisstef

11142 posts in 1697 days


#5 posted 08-07-2012 03:24 PM

I got most of the chair dismantled, well at least all the parts with loose joints. There is a little bit of rock hard glue residue on the bottoms of the spindles, hard to say what type it is. Im going to try a hot towel wrapped around the spindles leading to the headrest so that i can replace a missing spindle there. Is there a way to replace that spindle without taking it all apart? Id imagine there would need to be some sort of joint in the middle of the spindle if i couldnt get it apart?

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

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Moron

4666 posts in 2584 days


#6 posted 08-07-2012 03:42 PM

Good old fashioned white glue has been around for a long time. Regardless it doesnt matter what glue was used, only what you WILL use to repair it.

Personally, if it were mine and a family heirloom (or at least it could be) I would knock the whole thing apart. Strip the finish off everything and re-assemble it.

Watch for nails through the dowels/spindles. Getting the joints damp/wet will help release the bond and its easy to dry the spindles out with a heat lamp. By cutting a space for a wedge in the ends, then applying a wedge so that when the spindle is inserted the wedge expands the joint. Also, by putting the spindles under a heat lamp taking the moisture down to almost zero, then when glued back together the joint expands and when dry is about 12% leaving a tight joint.

Doing a half assed job will only mean doing another half assed job down the road : ))

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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chrisstef

11142 posts in 1697 days


#7 posted 08-07-2012 03:50 PM

Good info Moron …. im not into half assed jobs any more. If its worth doin, its worth doin right.

So far no indication of any nails through the dowels but ill keep my eye out for those guys. Ive got the most of it stripped of the finish. Thankfully it was water based and sat on top of the wood. Im still tryin to determine the species but im leaning toward a soft hardwood maybe poplar.

I would call it an heirloom but i know it would make my uncle awfully happy to see his newest nephew giving that chair hell like he once did.

Ill have to throw some pics up tonight.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

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