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Thread: Glue Chairs

  1. #1
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    Glue Chairs

    We’re gluing old chairs that have come a little loose. Any tips on how to get Titebond in a small crack? Will thinning make it useless? Thank you.

  2. #2
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    This is what I use: https://www.leevalley.com/en-us/shop...wio0TaedqTvPp0

    Note the needle tips to get it in there. For all I know, it might be thinned PVA glue, but it's the delivery system that makes it work.
    < insert spurious quote here >

  3. #3
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    The only fix I've ever done that works long term is to pull them apart, clean up the mortises and tenons and re-glue, adding back material with a thin piece of veneer as needed, or in more extreme cases drill the hole out large, insert a hardwood plug and re-drill the correct size hole for the tenon. Using hide glue for the reassembly makes the job much easier for the next guy in 50 years. For a shorter term fix on chairs I don't care that much about I've used a gap-filling epoxy to put them back together. The next guy won't be happy about that, so I only do it on chairs I think are unlikely to get serious repair work in the future.

  4. #4
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    I was happy to see "Tight Chairs" back on the shelf at our Ace Hardware. I remember it working well. It is time to try it again.

    Screen Shot 2024-05-07 at 9.25.43 AM.png

  5. #5
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    My approach is almost the same to Roger's. I have used Chair Doctor and it works but doesn't seem to be a good method for long term repairs, possibly because you are doing a repair blindly. I think it is just thinned PVA and my issue, rightly or wrongly, is that PVA wants to adhere to wood not an old dry PVA surface which is why I sanded and shimmed. I now use epoxy on our chairs, I don't see why I'd want to take them apart later anyway - no Louis XIV stuff here.

  6. #6
    I have to do my 30 year old kitchen chairs and I have Chair Doctor but I saw a YouTube show where the guy, 1. clamped the joints, 2. saturated them with super glue and 3. used accelerator. Then he proceeded to test the joints. I was quite impressed with his results and am considering that approach.
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  7. #7
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    I disassemble as much as possible, clean out the joints and tenons. For reassembly I make some long shavings out of oak. I apply glue to the tenon and then tightly wrap the tenon with the oak shaving insuring that all wraps are glued to the preceding one. When the tenon appears a bit larger than the socket it goes into, I cut the shaving and then wrap the glued shaving with multiple stretched and twisted rubber bands to apply clamping pressure. Once the glue sets up hard, remove the rubber bands and sand the applied shaving to fit snugly (toward the tight side). Then I glue the chair back together insuring the feet all make contact with the floor. I use webbed straps to apply pressure to the joints.

    I usually get at least ten years of service from chairs repaired this way, mostly more.
    Lee Schierer
    USNA '71
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  8. #8
    The only glue that will strike through old glue is hide. If PVA was originally used, injecting it into a partially closed joint isn't going to do much in the long run. It might seem a little tighter, but only because it swelled the joint. Little gluing has likely taken place. PVA over hide -- total waste of time. Have to disassemble, clean, maybe make a fox-wedge, and reglue. You can pack the joint out with shavings as Lee has pointed out in his post.

  9. #9
    Thinning PVA glue with water works really well. I do it all of the time for various reasons. Sometimes, to get it through the needle of a syringe. Part of the trick with thinned PVA is it absorbs quicker and there's less glue. So you usually need to apply some, let it absorb, and then apply some more before the old glue has a chance to dry.

    That being said, wet PVA won't stick to old dry glue. So if you're trying to strengthen an old glue joint that's come lose, then you need to disassemble the glue joint, clean off all of the old glue, and reglue it like a new joint. If you're just going to try to fill in new glue on top of the old glue, I'd use a 2-part epoxy or cyanoacrylate glue instead. Neither would be as good a disassembling the joint and resetting it, but both would be much better than mixing old and new PVA glue.

    I've found that if an old joint is loose, it can usually be worked free with a bit of wiggling. You may need to apply heat from a heat gun, or acetone (not at the same time as acetone is flammable) to get the old glue to let go. Be careful with those, as they'll both ruin the old finish.

  10. #10
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    The best tip I ever got about gluing loose tenons in chairs was from a professional furniture repairman. He took an 1/8" drill bit and drilled from the bottom of the rung and aimed for the bottom of the mortise. He used epoxy in a tapered end plastic syringe and wedged it tight in the hole. Then slowly pushed in the epoxy until he saw some appear around the mortise. The epoxy didn't mind the old adhesive in the hole and that was critical. Putting white glue on top of white glue just won't hold.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Coers View Post
    The best tip I ever got about gluing loose tenons in chairs was from a professional furniture repairman. He took an 1/8" drill bit and drilled from the bottom of the rung and aimed for the bottom of the mortise. He used epoxy in a tapered end plastic syringe and wedged it tight in the hole. Then slowly pushed in the epoxy until he saw some appear around the mortise. The epoxy didn't mind the old adhesive in the hole and that was critical. Putting white glue on top of white glue just won't hold.
    Using epoxy is kind of like doing a liver transplant and forgetting to put in the new liver. It's fatal, almost guaranteed to result in a broken part. You want the joint to fail, not an entire component. A glue joint that failed, with no split or broken parts, is doing exactly what the maker intended. And if they used hide glue they've done successive generations a huge favor.
    Last edited by Charles Edward; 05-08-2024 at 1:00 PM.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Edward View Post
    Using epoxy is kind of like doing a liver transplant and forgetting to put in the new liver. It's fatal, almost guaranteed to result in a broken part. You want the joint to fail, not an entire component. A glue joint that failed, with no split or broken parts, is doing exactly what the maker intended. And if they used hide glue they've done successive generations a huge favor.
    Quite true. But it all depends on the situation. I'm not a rich man, so a lot of the furniture I've owned wasn't worth holding onto forever. But since I'm not a rich man, it also wasn't worth throwing away and buying a new one, when you could fix it and get another ten years out of it. Sometimes you're not trying to save a chair, but just putting off having to buy a new chair for a little bit longer.

  13. #13
    How about PU glue? Might that work? It will, reputedly, glue together almost anything ... although it might be difficult to work with and I have no idea about its longevity.

    Genuine question. I have an unopened bottle of Gorilla glue on the shelf but no experience of actually using it.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Storer View Post
    Genuine question. I have an unopened bottle of Gorilla glue on the shelf but no experience of actually using it.
    Well, It is a pretty strong water proof glue. Some people (Norm Abrams included) advocate wetting the joint before applying the glue to activate the glue. I've found that wetting the joint causes excess foaming. There is sufficient moisture even in kiln dried lumber and the atmosphere to activate the glue. You get stronger joints with far less foaming if you just apply the glue, spread it where needed, assemble and clamp the joint. In about 30 minutes to an hour you can remove most of the squeeze out that does foam with a sharp putty knife.

    Do not make sloppy joints expecting the foam to fill the gaps. It will fill, but the foam ads no strength.
    Lee Schierer
    USNA '71
    Go Navy!

    My advice, comments and suggestions are free, but it costs money to run the site. If you found something of value here please give a little something back by becoming a contributor! Please Contribute

  15. Quote Originally Posted by David Storer View Post
    How about PU glue? Might that work? It will, reputedly, glue together almost anything ... although it might be difficult to work with and I have no idea about its longevity.

    Genuine question. I have an unopened bottle of Gorilla glue on the shelf but no experience of actually using it.
    You're essentially asking about different kinds of permanent glues. If you're going to reglue with a more or less permanent adhesive then use a high quality boat builder's epoxy and be done with it. I don't advise it, but you don't seem to be swayed by other courses of action.

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