old loose joints

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Forum topic by PatRI posted 03-29-2013 12:54 AM 860 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View PatRI's profile


11 posts in 2382 days

03-29-2013 12:54 AM

Hello I am starting the process of restoring six dining chairs that we bought used a couple years ago and over the last year just about all of the joints have come loose. I have taken one of the chairs apart and am scraping and sanding the old stain and finish off now. My question is what is my best option for repairing the loose fitting M+t joints. Is there a glue that will expand to fill a loose joint or do I have to somehow wedge the tenons till they fit snug. I don’t know if it makes a difference but I think the chairs are made of maple and I don’t know how old they are. Thank you for any suggestions and advice you guys can offer.

3 replies so far

View Nicky's profile


695 posts in 4327 days

#1 posted 03-29-2013 01:17 AM

Wrap the tenon with a layer of paper if they are fitting loosely. I’ve used old paper bags, glue under and over the paper.

Epoxy glue would also work as it has gap filling properties.

-- Nicky

View Oldtool's profile


2747 posts in 2426 days

#2 posted 03-29-2013 01:47 AM

I’ve managed to create loose M & T joints from scratch, and they way I fixed them was to glue thin shavings made with a hand plane, on the tenon. If the void is too large for Titebond gluing shavings, another method I used was to glue and clamp a small piece of wood to the tenon, then shave this new thicker tenon while fitting to the mortise, until I got a good fit.
Either way works, just depends how loose a tenon you’re starting with. It’s easier than you think. Good luck.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 3086 days

#3 posted 03-29-2013 01:55 AM

I do a fair amount of this sort of thing and I’ve gone to epoxy as Nicky also suggests.

I use good stuff, not HF. Long cure. I tape off as much area as I can around the joint and make sure there is enough glue to fill the joint and squeeze out a bit. I clean up with Acetone.

Clamping requires attention and care. Too much uneven pressure (esp. with loosey goosey joints) and you can rack the thing silly. In any event, when you’re done gluing and curing, make sure the chair sits with all four feet flat. If you don’t do that, you’re just hastening the day when you’ll have to take it apart again.

Sometimes, when it is a round tenon, I’ll cut some notches in it to add a little mechanical bond.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

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