Tuesday, December 6, 2011

That Antique Wooden Kitchen Chair Again

Remember in the last post where I said I adjusted one of the back spindles on the antique Windsor influenced kitchen chair with the broken seat?

Because it was too short I said I coped by putting a spacer in the bottom of the hole in the seat?

I lied.

I didn't do it.

But it was in a good cause.

That post was going to be too long and might have become too confusing to mention two other ways to deal with that problem at the same time. So I wrote about the easiest, lowest  tech method first.

But there are other ways.

I deployed my wood stretcher machinery and made the spindle longer using one of two possible approaches.

Take a look to the right.

The spindle is seated deep in the chair seat out of the picture to the left, and I am just finished slicing a flat spot on the side where it will do the most good.

I am doing it this way, with the chair already assembled because you can always do this trick while the chair is apart and it is even easier to do the work to make the spindle effectively longer.

But if the chair only has the one or two problems like a short spindle? Why knock the whole thing apart to make one small repair?

This trick can also work with a broken rung in an otherwise sound chair.  Merely remove the broken bits from both ends, and make a two piece rung to fit, gluing the rung together along a long diagonal cut you pre make, so the ends can be fitted properly and the sliced cut can be glued later.

Here I clean out the hole with a small chisel, and whittle a small plug to fit the hole in the hooped back.  Now do you see why I selected the side away from the place where the hoop curves down? The short spindle can still touch the hole edge on one side so the stress on the glue joint will be less in the task of keeping the spindle in place.

The plug is flat on the side that touches the spindle, and rounded to fit the hole.

It is cut from a scrap of oak. Suitable for this type of service, it glues better than maple, and is strong and shock resistant.


See how the spindle will catch the outer part of the hoop and reinforce the joint?

Now I am going to select a glue for the task of keeping these parts together. In this case, the hoop is flexible and so is the spindle so there will be a fairly frequent testing of the joint, and I do not want a strong, but brittle joint like I would get with hide glue. In this case I actually prefer a strong glue with a bit of creep possibility if the humidity of the location changes from season to season.

So, I am using a cabinetmaker quality white glue whose strength is advertised as above even that of hide glue.


With the glue spread where I want it to be, I tap the little wedge home, using technology from the Bronze Age. A lump of bronze that is conveniently heavy, fits the hand nicely, has a round surface, a flat surface, and even a leather covered surface for imparting small urges with a personal feel.

I follow this up with a small c-clamp that holds everything where it aught to be until the glue sets.                                                This glue has a rapid grab and sets to about 90% strength in about half an hour.  
Now you finally get to see the real last assembly portion of repairing this chair.

My next post will be a peek at the way I wax this piece of furniture. 

Plus as an added bonus I will show you how I operate the common random orbital sander. 

Or maybe I will do a review of mankind's oldest tool so you can see how far we have slipped from the optimum design during the last century. 









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