I have an old rocking chair (1920s, I think) that the seat split down the middle (amongst other things that went south on this chair). Someone had glued it back together poorly in the past 10 years. I have cleaned off all the signs of that yellowish glue (probably Carpenter's Wood Glue), but the wood has warped a bit over the years, and I can't get a nice tight glue joint. I had planned on a nice tight joint and using the original hot Hide glue, but there's enough of a gap (varies a bit, but not over 1/32" I think) to not allow that. Is there a glue out there that one would recommend that could cross this gap. I do plan on adding some cross braces underneath, as I know my brother's family will overload the chair again.
I realize I could cut a little bit on both sides, put in a filler strip of wood the size of both cuts, but I really didn't want to modify it that much & don't think I can match to wood type either.
Then there's the issue of the broken off tendons--thought I would glue them back together, then drill the centers and put in new doweling. (Ah grasshopper, practicing ancient art of Dow Ling!)
Advice appreciate. Cat calls tolerated!
I'm beginning to wish I'd never promised my sister-in-law that I'd fix this thing--she has no concept of what it takes--and I guess I didn't either! It has been in the family over 70 years. .
Gorilla Glue. Expands 4 times. Is strong and you can scrap off easy the excess glue that bubbled out. It is good for leaching into the woods pores. You may also have to wrap mechanic wire around the join to support the joint. Good luck.
Hard heart here:
Add it to the pyre for the next in your family to go. Antique rockers have almost no resale value. We have 3 in our house, which is two too many. The local antique shop won't even take them on consignment.
Gorilla Glue. It expands to fill minor gaps and is very strong. It expands as it cures so I try to remove the excess as it cures. Try some on scrap to get experiance. It normally cures to a light tan but I think there is a clear version now.
Oh yes. Be sure to clamp glued joints well.
It's used to glue wood aircraft structures together.
Takes 24 hrs to cure so it soaks into the wood to get a good hold on the wood fibers.
1/32" gap no problem.
Aircraft Spruce has it.
You might use some dowels to add strength to the joint.
You could also put a weight limit sign on the chair
So Dennis, your recommendation is a sign that reads, "Caution - Max. 150 Pounds!". Cool.
I'd like to be there when then in-laws come visiting....
CAUTION!!! If you use Gorilla Glue, wear gloves!!
This is neither an endorsement or a non-endorsement of Gorilla Glue. I'll leave that for others.
But, if you get it on your hands, they will be dyed a very dark brown until it wears off, which is usually about a week.
Chairs may be designed to sit on, but they are really a device to test the strength of the joint maker. No matter how good the glue, the strength comes from a tight joint. Dowels are great for alignment, not so great as a structural member. They help a little, but I've had too many joint failures to count on them for much strength. I use Gorilla glue on some of my projects, it's strong and fills gaps well, and won't come apart in high humidity environment. But the stress in rocking in a chair will eventually cause gorilla glue to fail, (voice of experience). For a slab seat, I'd reglue with gorilla glue, and if possible reinforce under the seat out of sight. But make sure you account for wood movement. A solid wood chair seat will expand and contract across the grain, often over 1/8th of an inch in total movement. I've repaired several antique rocking chairs, and rebuilding tenons to be tight and pinning with wooden pegs (home made smooth dowels) has worked the best for me. Having said all that, I have two antique chairs that are for collecting dust, I wouldn't trust them to sit in. Your mileage may vary.
I use Titebond wood glue for wood and have for many years, since I was a professional woodworker and trim carpenter in a former lifetime. It is now Titebond II which is water-resistant. Titebond will make a joint stronger than the wood itself. You can't ask for more than that. Smear some glue on both parts, clamp them tight, and wipe off the excess with wet rags. Let it sit for a few hours, and you're done.
Gorilla Glue will work for a poor joint. If you have access to a "bisquit joiner" it does a great job of making a tight joint.
Elmer's type glues are only good on fresh unglued wood. If there is any previous glue residue you will not get a good bond. Polyurethane glues like Gorilla Glue do foam as they set, and will fill gaps, but the foam has no structural integrity, it still need to be a tight joint to be strong. I would go with an epoxy, and use a mechanical joiner like dowels if possible. However you will need an accurate placement of the dowels, like a doweling jig if it will fit. Like someone else suggested, is it worth the effort, especially if you are always wondering if and when it might let go?
Mike Walker has laid down some excellent advice. Tight Bond and tight clamp. Biscuits would help a lot. If you've got access to run each side across a jointer, that'd be great. Hand held planes and power planers are neat but take a little experience to get good square surfaces. I base this on several years of furniture manufacture and restoration. If you have to glue it back together without truing up the two pieces and you're forced to deal with a gap, then Gorilla Glue might be your deal.
Thanks for all the suggestions. I usually avoid Gorrilla glue like the plague, as it expands and remains "fluid"--that is, it allows creep. I have to return this chair in 7 days, so not enough time to mail-order that epoxy, would store-bought epoxy work, and could I add matching sawdust to the surface glue to hide it?
The only way I could get a tight joint on this wood would be to resaw the joint--or run it over a joiner, if I had one. Hmm, I do have access to one, maybe that would help and only take a little bit off the join??
Yes, value is probably nil--but we are dealing with my sister-in-law's emotions, and I have to return this chair in one piece! Yes, I will add bracing underneath!! But, I do like the "maximum load" sign idea!
David, the typical store-bought epoxies aren't much better than ordinary wood glue. The good stuff isn't the "5 minute" variety.
Do you know a local model airplane builder or home built airplane builder ? Or maybe a wooden boat guy ? You only need a little bit of epoxy and most of those people (like me) have a quart kit sitting half used that will probably go bad before it's used up.
If you have a hobby shop in your area you might check to see if they have a kit of "West Epoxy" That brand isn't cheap, but it's really good.
Epoxy has exceptional gap filling properties while still retaining strength. In addition, you can put sawdust or other fillers in it without significantly hurting the strength.
Hmm, yeah West system stuff--might be some at the boat shop, though most boats 'round here are plastic. Hobby shop??? Do they still exist???
Starting to lean towards running the two sides through Lloyd's joiner, and just living with losing about 1/4" of the seat--might clean up at 1/8"
I'll do a little looking around, but I have to finish this thing by the 5th! (I'll take the Fifth! -- W. C. Fields)
A + Plus on the West system. Make sure to mix it with micro balloons. Many boats built with no
fasteners what so ever all done with the west system.
If you have a router and a 1/4" grooving bit (cuts a groove 1/4 wide and 1/2 deep perpendicular to the shaft, parallel to the base) cut a groove in mating surfaces about in the middle. Make some spline material from a hard wood and cut it into little pieces 7/8 of an inch long in the direction of the grain. the width doesn't matter. They will form a spline with grain perpendicular to the joint and will be very strong whether the joint mates well or not. Start and stop your cuts a little short of the ends and the spline won't show. Run the router on the top side of the seat if it is flat and the alignment of the parts will be perfect if you tap the ends into position before clamping. Any wood glue will work fine. If you have a crack after this repair is complete, set your table saw on a very slight angle and rip a thin wedge from similar wood, put a little glue on both sides and tap it gently into the crack--leave it proud. When it dries, trim it flush with a sharp chisel paying attention to the grain (you want to climb the grain, not go down into it). Now a little touch up with stain or a touch up marker and you are done. Wasn't that easy? I don't recommend antique seat pieces to anyone--most aren't safe with the size people are these days. Made a sorry living fixing furniture for many years and chairs were the most troublesome jobs.
I like Mike Walkers advice. I've used a lot of different glues in woodworking projects, mostly antique furniture restoration, and I no longer use Gorilla Glue. Its just too darn hard to estimate how much glue to use considering the expansion. Invariably you use too much and it travels outside the joint and makes a mess. Once dried, you have to scrape it off and damage the patina underneath.
Well, change in question--after reading all this, and looking at my options based on what is available in this area, I have used a joiner, and taken off about 1/16" on both edges, ending up with a nice tight joint. I don't think the little dimension change will prevent me from re-assembling the chair.
NOW, I am leaning towards the original hot hide glue for the repair, as I have it on hand. My friend insists that Tightbond 3 is a better glue. Any opinions before I proceed?
My advice is not to use the glue you have just because you have it, use the best glue for the job. A bottle of Titebond is only a few bucks and is available at a store wherever you are.
The hide glue would be authentic, but not visible anyway. It dries hard and brittle, as you probably know, and it will break over time. Your friend is correct; the Titebond is a better glue and will hold longer without failing.
For a really tight joint you can cut a slit in the tenon end of the piece and after you glue it and insert it into the mortise, drive a wedge into the slit to spread the two halves of the tenon like you see when attaching a new handle to a hammer head. I have several antique colonial chairs as well as several shaker chairs that were done this way before the advent of modern day glues and they have held up well in the 200+ years since they were manufactured. Jim Patrick
Hmm, I should have said I was leaning towards the hot hide glue, as it has held up for decades AND I have it on hand--I also have Tightbond-2 on hand too, but no Tightbond-3, although it's readily available.
Jim, the through tenon joints on this chair were done as you mention and I will do that too when I put them back together--first is to get this seat in one SOLID piece.
So, any other opinions before I glue this together tonight?? I REALLY appreciate all the advice!!
David. If "Resorcinol" 2 part marine wood glue was still on the market, that would be my first recommendation, but since it was discontinued years ago by some government regulation, my second choice would be "Tite-Bond II" yellow wood glue. Jim Patrick
Thanks. Yep Resorcinal was gooood stuff. Hmm, wonder if I have any around still--ah, it's been 10 years at least, probably has gone bad, even if I did find mine.
So you prefer 2 to 3 also? For some reason (I probably had a good one when I made the decision) so do I. Hmmm, Any idea why??
I also have chair problems and went looking for biscuits.
Will these work?
Depends on what you smear them with! Also, if they were baked by Eva Gabor, then yes, they're probably stronger than the wood (joke from Green Acres TV show).
This article is the reason I continue to use Titebond
I once asked a tech rep at a woodworking supply company "what was "Resorcinol" replaced with..." and he told me that, "while there is nothing yet as good as "Resorcinol", the closest thing to to it is "Tite Bond III", which is waterproof and approved for outdoor use".
Brian -- Thanks for that link. For many years (during a former lifetime) I subscribed to Fine Woodworking magazine and read every issue cover-to-cover. Articles such as this one are the reason why.
I have never used Gorilla glue, and now I'm pretty sure I won't ever. I'm surprised that it came in last in the FW test, since so many folks rave about how good it is. (Not just in this thread; I've heard lots of folks recommend it.)
I'm with Mike & Brian. I use Titebond all the time. The only reason that chair was put together with hot hide glue was because that was just about all they had back in the day.
Now if it were George Washington's chair, then for the sake of authentic restoration I would endorse use of traditional bonding agents but I'd also assume the most weight George's chair would be supporting today would be a sign saying "George Washington sat here". <grin> If this chair is going to be put through its paces use the Titebond products, either one.
Three years ago, I bought a reproduction antique clock shelf with a curved burl walnut veneer across the front that perfectly matched the curvature of my Ansonia mirrorside clock. When I received the shelf, I was disappointed that the curved walnut veneer around the sides and across the drawer front was badly bubbled. I asked the former owner, if he knew what was used to glue the veneer to the curved front and he told me Gorilla Glue. In an effort to repair the unsightly veneer job and with a desire to salvage and re-use the delicate and otherwise beautiful burl walnut veneer pieces, I soaked the shelf in lacquer thinner until the 3 veneer pieces came off and then wet the veneer and clamped them in a wood clamp for a week until the bubbles were pressed out and the veneers were flat and dry. I then successfully re-glued them to the curved sides and drawer front with Titebond II glue and refinished the shelf. Since then, swore I would never use Gorilla Glue on any wood project of mine. The attached photos show the clock sitting on the shelf I repaired using Titebond II. Jim Patrick
Gorilla glue is absolutely the wrong product for this job. Tite Bond or epoxy is your best bet. Be sure to clean the joint first.
I will not have a Gorilla Glue product in my shop!!
But then, I'm one of those who still uses Hot Hide Glue.. .
Main reason is that in Player Piano work, the glue process can be easily reversed, so the next guy replacing the bellows cloth has a chance to get the action apart again!
By the time I got the responses recommending the Tight bond, I'd already done the deed, so we'll see how it goes. I am adding cross bracing to the bottom of the chair, so it will, I hope, have a chance. When it's all back together, I'll post a pic of it. Right now I'm still repairing the tendons.