a real woodworking question - Rocker back question

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Forum topic by Betsy posted 05-11-2009 02:06 AM 1009 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3863 days

05-11-2009 02:06 AM

I posted this in the blog section also, but I wanted to solicit some additional opinions. This is my back piece.


I’m pretty happy with the way the mortises/tenons fit together.


Now the question – Since the back slats are captured in the back rails and the back assembly is going to be captured between the side pieces, do I really need to glue the slats into the rails? I’ve got enough depth in the mortises for gluing, but I think if I glue, I’ll need to pare the tenons down a bit.

Thanks in advance.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

6 replies so far

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3735 days

#1 posted 05-11-2009 02:21 AM

you dont need to glue. but it would probably be a good idea just to give the whole assembly a little more rigidity. especially those little mortise and tenons that after a little bit of abuse could get pretty loose

View lew's profile


12019 posts in 3722 days

#2 posted 05-11-2009 02:52 AM


I agree with TWW, you probably wouldn’t need glue. The fact that the back slat tenons are not round also will prevent them from moving. I have seen chairs that the slats intentionally “float”.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3544 days

#3 posted 05-11-2009 07:48 AM

most tenons are glued in chairs. the need the extra strength.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4213 days

#4 posted 05-11-2009 02:37 PM

I have always glued my back tenons because of the stress factor. There’s more there than meets the eye.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3863 days

#5 posted 05-12-2009 02:55 AM

Thanks guys.

If I glue——Mike and Jim – I understand that with a glue joint the wood will give before the glue itself. Doesn’t this mean if the slat has a lot of stress that it will break above the joint? (This is purely a devil’s advocate comment by the way.)

Now since the slats fit so tightly in the mortise – there’s really no room for it to wiggle. Do you think that with use the slats will give back and forth and work the mortise open a bit and make the slats sloppy? Glue would probably prevent that don’t you think?

Now about the rigidity factor. Since there is such a span of material from the bottom to the top of the slat – and there is less than 2” of glue space – would glue really add that much to the strength of the chair itself?

I’d really like to see some more thoughts and opinions and reason for same to this. I know it’s a glue or not glue question – but there must be very good reasons why or why not.

I’m positively convinced that you guys can educate me more on this issue. Thanks in advance.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 3972 days

#6 posted 05-12-2009 03:38 AM

I vote just enough glue that it doesn’t squirt out and give you a hassle cleaning it off.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

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