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Old 01-18-2007, 12:52 PM
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Default Antique Furniture

ok I have a few old pieces of furniture that need a little TLC.

I am looking for a way to keep the wood 'rungs' on an old rocker pressed into the legs. Does anyone have any ideas as to how to repair with out adding nails or screws? I do not want to detract from the original look of the rocker. It is over 100years old!
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Old 01-18-2007, 01:20 PM
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Default Re: Antique Furniture

Elmer's wood glue. Sand the old glue off as best as you can, then re-glue and tie tight with twine. Make a loop around the legs and then use a dowel or some other object to twist the loop to tighten it. Let it stay overnight, and it will be as good as new. The reason to use Elmer's is that it is the same type of glue as was originally used and it will adhere to the old glue residue. Wipe off excess with a damp cloth, and then a second time with a fresh damp cloth to make sure you have all residue of the new glue off the finish. When you are done, go to the mall and buy a white shirt and have it lettered "Norm Jr.".....
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Old 01-18-2007, 01:21 PM
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Default Re: Antique Furniture

When I need to secure rungs, rails, pegs and other "Dowel" like items in furniture and such and there were no nails or screws used to secure the piece in the first place, I use a good clear epoxy. There are a variety out there to choose from. Keep in mind that it is not very forgiving (understatement).
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Old 01-18-2007, 01:31 PM
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Default Re: Antique Furniture

Last night I was watching the History Channel and they had the history of glue. In the segment about hide glues, they pointed out that Elmer's was still the choice of furniture restorers, since it is the same type as was originally used, and that different types of glues don't always work together. This is why I suggested the Elmer's. If he uses an epoxy, then he might do damage to the piece that might not be irreversible. If the original glue lasted for 100 years, why not stick with it for the next 100 years???
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Old 01-18-2007, 02:15 PM
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Default Re: Antique Furniture

I have also heard of something that can be injected into the wood and it makes it swell up.
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Old 01-18-2007, 02:34 PM
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Default Re: Antique Furniture

Quote:
Originally Posted by cj7
I have also heard of something that can be injected into the wood and it makes it swell up.
One of my dogs scratched up some woodwork in our home many years ago. I was advised to take a thick damp cloth and a hot steam iron to fix it. Put the damp cloth over the damaged wood, then heat it with the steam iron and occasionally hit the steam button. I was very cautious when I did this and it took a while but it did get the scratches to swell so they are far less noticable. I ended up not having to sand the whole area down and refinish it. You can see the damage if you look for it but it is not overtly noticable.

I should point out this was on Poplar, which is one of the softest of the "hardwoods" and I would expect that the harder the wood, the longer it would take to get the wood to swell.
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Old 01-18-2007, 03:33 PM
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Default Re: Antique Furniture

Good advice so far. I've used elmers with good success. I've used 'bar clamps' to hold the chair inplace while gluing (instead of the twine Jman mentioned). Bar clamps come in various sizes, but 1" ones are plenty versitle for me. Last I bought them (at an industrial supply store) the bar did not come with the clamps. The clamps fit over a 1" round pipe, you get the pipe seperate and can cut it to whatever lengths you need. I have various lengths of the pipe for different size jobs. You just put the clamps on whichever length of pipe you need. I've had my set of clamps for over 20 years and they've gotten plenty of use. They come in very handy.

They also make a flat bar clamp, and thinking about it, the clamps I described above might be called pipe clamps. Like I said, it's been a long time since I bought em so I'm not sure what they call them ....but they work GREAT.
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Old 01-18-2007, 03:50 PM
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Default Re: Antique Furniture

They are called pipe clamps and require 1/2" black iron pipe, threaded at one end. I have a few, but rarely use them. Twine is faster and how they did it in the old days when they were manufactured..... I remember it clearly...
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Old 01-18-2007, 04:12 PM
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Default Re: Antique Furniture

Quote:
Originally Posted by Junkman
They are called pipe clamps and require 1/2" black iron pipe, threaded at one end. I have a few, but rarely use them. Twine is faster and how they did it in the old days when they were manufactured..... I remember it clearly...
Mine do not require threading ....and they are 1" so that they fit over 1" pipe.

I worked in a used funiture store while in college and learned the clamping technique there. I've never heard of doing it with twine ....but I'm not that old!
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Old 08-09-2009, 04:31 PM
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Default Re: Antique Furniture

I have just received a family heirloom of sorts. A drop leaf Duncan Fife dining room table with 4 chairs.

The chairs have a traditional gold/yellow leather seat. I want to recover them but I don't want to damage the value of the set in doing so.

I was wondering if it is possible to recover the chair pads with more foam an an ultra swede right over the old seat covers?
Or should I save the originals in storage and remake the seats pads from scratch?
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Old 08-09-2009, 09:43 PM
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Default Re: Antique Furniture

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spence View Post
I have just received a family heirloom of sorts. A drop leaf Duncan Fife dining room table with 4 chairs.

The chairs have a traditional gold/yellow leather seat. I want to recover them but I don't want to damage the value of the set in doing so.

I was wondering if it is possible to recover the chair pads with more foam an an ultra swede right over the old seat covers?
Or should I save the originals in storage and remake the seats pads from scratch?
Lets have some photos Spence. Hard to say what to do without seeing what you have.
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Old 08-09-2009, 10:10 PM
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Default Re: Antique Furniture

if you want to maintain value, make a new set of seats and save the old ones in a safe, dry, place with no bugs or rodents.
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Old 02-03-2010, 01:42 PM
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Default Re: Antique Furniture

The Elmers will work and I've used it before but I think that the secret is to disassemble the piece and clean all the old glue of before using it. You can also use a high pressure glue injector (a big syringe) to get the glue into the joint.

I've also used a product called "Wood Swell and Lock" made by Bondex. I don't know if it is still on the market. It is a little cleaner than glue with less extrusion. I also use strap clamps to hold it together while it sets up. That way there is less likelihood of damage to the wood.
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Old 02-03-2010, 02:31 PM
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Default Re: Antique Furniture

Chair rungs work loose over time because wood shrinks as it dries. To make a long lasting repair, either the rung must be made larger or the mortise must be made smaller. The way I repair these rungs is to wrap the rung tenon with veneer, preferably of the same species as the rung, then reglue. The old glue should be removed. If the chair is an older one and has not been reglued, the glue is most probably hide glue and will dissolve in hot water. If it does not dissolve, then it is a more modern glue and must be physically removed. Be careful when doing this.
I don't think that Elmers is in anyway similar to hide glue, and, in any event, will not fill gaps. I would use hide glue, still available at good woodworking or old hardware stores. Hide glue is reversible, modern glues are not.
While this is a simple repair, if the chairs have much value, I would think about a furniture restorer doing the job.
Chair rungs take more stress than any other furniture joint, and any repair will not last unless done correctly.
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