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100+ Year Old Rocker Joinery Question

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Forum topic by HorizontalMike posted 08-17-2021 06:52 PM 362 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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HorizontalMike

7933 posts in 4197 days


08-17-2021 06:52 PM

Topic tags/keywords: hide glue joinery

This old rocker has been in the family since new. Best I know, or can conjecture, it dates roughly to 1900-1920. My mother remembered being rocked in it as a child. That said, much of the joinery has failed or is failing.

A bit of history:

  • I refinished this rocker ~50yr ago.
  • My mother had it “dipped” as a stripping procedure.
  • NONE of the slats, armrests, legs were taken apart at the time.

QUESTION: I am guessing that this is probably hide glue, due to the age of the rocker?
How best to remove the dowel remnants without having/being forced to refinish the entire rocker?

It looks like dowel on both joined pieces, that I can replace once I have clean holes on both pieces… If I can cleanly remove those, that will give me the properly angled holes for the dowels… ;-)
Ideas?

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."


7 replies so far

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Don W

20241 posts in 3851 days


#1 posted 08-17-2021 07:02 PM

Hide glue breaks down with moisture. If nobody comes up with a better idea, I’d drill a hole in the center of the dowel as big as you feel safely drilling and fill it with water.

-- http://timetestedtools.net - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

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HorizontalMike

7933 posts in 4197 days


#2 posted 08-17-2021 10:31 PM



Hide glue breaks down with moisture. If nobody comes up with a better idea, I d drill a hole in the center of the dowel as big as you feel safely drilling and fill it with water.
- Don W

Sounds like an idea… I planned on drilling similarly, yet did not think about using H2O a a solvent (thinking HEAT). I guess the fortunate thing is that it is indeed a dowel. Should make fixes much easier. Just hope toe get both holes as clear as I can, to preserve the angles… BTW, I hate having to drill compound angles so I will see how this goes…

GEEZ! I guess this shows that I have been spending way too much time in the ‘ol geezer’s rocker, if ya’ knowz what I mean… ;-)
Michael Howell

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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jdh122

1269 posts in 4101 days


#3 posted 08-18-2021 10:38 AM

I’d try heat first, in the form of a paint stripping gun set on low, 30 seconds at a time then pull with vice-grips. If that doesn’t work I’d drill out the middle of the dowel with a very small bit, then successively larger bits. Try to drill on what seems like the right angle and watch carefully for when the bit exposes part of the hole rather than the dowel.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

7933 posts in 4197 days


#4 posted 08-18-2021 11:23 AM

A couple more images. In the top image on the right, you can see the wedge that was driven to splay the dowel during original construction. I have some hide glue and a hot pad, and this will give me the best opportunity/project to use it appropriately. 8-)


.
. V below image V you can just make out this rocker bottom left for reference.
.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Robert's profile

Robert

4783 posts in 2764 days


#5 posted 08-18-2021 11:40 AM

I think they are round tenons, not dowels.

They can be cut off flush and drilled for a dowel. I would use a smaller dowel to reduce risk of a catastrophic blowout. The remnants of the tenons can be drilled out.

A lot of chairs were built with through tenons and wedges. I know it lasted 120 years, but this is what I would do.

Great project, I love ones with provenance like this!

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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shipwright

8760 posts in 4081 days


#6 posted 08-18-2021 01:46 PM

Use heat and moisture together. Hot water will reverse the glue and you can go right ahead and re-glue with hide glue and you’ll be good for another 100 years. No need to go overboard removing any old glue. If you decide to renew any other joints that still seem okay you should be able to get them apart by wrapping them with cloths soaked in hot water.

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

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

7933 posts in 4197 days


#7 posted 08-18-2021 04:13 PM



I think they are round tenons, not dowels.
They can be cut off flush and drilled for a dowel. I would use a smaller dowel to reduce risk of a catastrophic blowout. The remnants of the tenons can be drilled out.

A lot of chairs were built with through tenons and wedges. I know it lasted 120 years, but this is what I would do.
Great project, I love ones with provenance like this!
- Robert

Robert,
I managed to dislodge one of these arm pieces without any damage, nice and clean. Looking at it with my 10x loupe, I could see where the open pores line up so they do appear to be true tenons. But I surely can’t figure out how they managed to turn these things at such an odd angle. The ends do not match any parallel on the other. Maybe, when I can pull the other arm apart, I might have a better reference to determine how these were done…

Can’t get to this right away, as I have another sizable project I am doing, and that is upgrading my 1993 Toyota 4×4 pickup. I have been eligible to put “Antique” plates on this for over four years but hesitate. Geez… I bought this thing NEW! If my truck is qualified as an antique, what the heck does that mean about Me?!...? I thought I was still just a youngin’...

BTW, I think I am going to follow Shipwright’s methodology as that looks straight forward. I just want to really try and NOT mess up the current finish in the process.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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