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View Keekee's profile

Repair antique chairs

by Keekee
posted 12-04-2018 02:35 PM


4 replies so far

View Phil32's profile

Phil32

553 posts in 299 days


#1 posted 12-04-2018 07:04 PM

Repairing or rebuilding antique furniture involves at least two considerations: conservation and function. We have all heard the assessment of experts on Antique Roadshow, “It would be worth much more if you hadn’t tried to repair or refinish it!” Joints should be restored as close to their original form as possible. If the glue is entirely concealed, it may not be critical to use hide glue. It is more important that the glue penetrate the wood. Separate the joints, if possible, and scrape off old glue before re-gluing.

I recently volunteered to rework some wooden chairs for a friend. There were missing pieces that had to be replaced, dowel joints to be redone. Other plugged screw joints were easier to tighten. Some of the repairs presented special challenges for clamping. It came out well, and the friend was pleased. but the bottom line was we were working to make the chairs functional.

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

View WoodenDreams's profile

WoodenDreams

610 posts in 307 days


#2 posted 12-04-2018 07:22 PM

The chairs I’ve restored, all were assembled with hyde glue. If joints are loose – they’re easy to disassemble. A heat gun will loosen the hyde glue, careful of the heat if trying to save the old finish. I did remove or drill out all the dowel joints & clean them up and installed new dowels. I normally use hyde glue for reassembly, but I have used epoxy on a couple of the restored chairs. This rocking chair

was made in the 50’s

.

View bilyo's profile

bilyo

696 posts in 1498 days


#3 posted 12-05-2018 12:04 AM

I agree with Phil32 above and would add that it is important to determine, as best you can, what value the chairs might have as antiques. By 1900 (more than 100 years ago) machine made furniture was becoming more prevalent. If your chairs were factory made in large numbers, they might not have much antique value. That may be of some consideration on how you proceed with repairs. I think you should, in and case, strive to preserve and conserve to the extent you can. If the existing glue is hide, stick with it (no pun intended). But, if you have a serious structural problem, epoxy may be appropriate. If you do use hide glue, you may want to research hot hide glue that you mix from powder or flakes. My understanding is that there are various grades; some being stronger than others. In chairs, strength is certainly a consideration.

Regardless of what glue you use, the best way to make the repairs is to take them apart, clean them up, and re-glue. If the original glue is hide, heat and water are your friend.

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

8306 posts in 3194 days


#4 posted 12-05-2018 12:24 AM

Couple of things.
I use hide (sorry not hyde) glue all the time. If you want to preserve value, I agree you should reglue with hide glue.
Avoid dry heat as you can disturb the finish and because hide glue reverses best with heat/moisture. Hot rags work well.
There is no need to remove the old glue, in fact doing so may remove some wood and loosen the joints. Hot hide glue will reactivate the old glue and form a perfect bond.

If you use OBG (from Patrick) I would heat it to a little more than just enough to liquify it in order to better reactivate the old glue.
The second reason for using hide glue is that next time someone needs to do this (in another hundred years) they too will be able to reverse the glue.

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

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