Advice on taking apart wooden chair that is stapled - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 35 Old 08-11-2013, 01:42 AM Thread Starter
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Advice on taking apart wooden chair that is stapled

As the title states - I have a wooden chair that I am going to refinish. I originally thought everything was held by screws, but have come to find out that the main frame is jointed and stapled. From the pieces I was able to get off so far the staples are about an inch or more (kind of like a nail without the head).

Is there an easier way than a rubber mallet? I have the arms, foot rest, and the seat assembly out. I am left with legs, 4 backs, and 4 side pieces (the main frame).

I suppose I could leave this part untouched, however, it would make sanding a lot tougher. Any ideas?
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post #2 of 35 Old 08-11-2013, 08:33 AM
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Are they staples or brads. A brad has one leg and a staple has two legs. Makes a difference.

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post #3 of 35 Old 08-11-2013, 08:48 AM
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Actually a rubber mallet is pretty effective. So is a "spreader", which is like a clamp, but works in reverse. The two thoughts are that a quick smack can just pop the parts apart. A slow steady outward pressure can pull them apart. In both cases, the possibility exists that there may be tearout from the disassembly.

If the joint is glued, try a heat gun. That should loosen the bond.






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post #4 of 35 Old 08-11-2013, 10:40 AM
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When I reglue chairs I use a rubber mallet to take them apart. Sometimes though you can do more damage trying to get one apart then you would be helping it by reglueing it. If a joint is solid and won't loosen with a few hits with the mallet I leave it alone. If the joint is loose held only by a nail and it appears like it's going to damage the chair getting it apart I will work super glue into the joint and leave it alone. I would much prefer to get the chair completely apart and clean as much of the old glue out as possible and reglue the chair with two part epoxy.
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post #5 of 35 Old 08-11-2013, 10:41 AM
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I would think the staples (or brads - nails without heads) were used for a glue-up. Chairs get a lot of pressure during normal use and if the staples were the only holding agent, they would have fallen apart from normal use. If I'm right, they will be very difficult to pull apart and heat may be the only way.

Its' never hot or cold in New Hampshire... its' always seasonal.
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post #6 of 35 Old 08-11-2013, 10:59 AM
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A caveat about removing pieces from a glued joint is that they may come apart cleanly, or not. If the joint has to be reused, cleaning up the pieces will change the fit. In any case, glued surfaces become poor candidates for yellow or white glues to be re-used. A two part epoxy would be a better choice.






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post #7 of 35 Old 08-11-2013, 01:28 PM Thread Starter
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They are brads.

Thanks for the advice guys. I will try the mallet and spreader today and see what happens.

I guess this is called a spectator chair. It was from a local pool hall that I would go to 3+ times a week which closed. It is over 25 years old. Refinishing this nicely is very important to me. I will be asking more advice as I go.

Right now I just want to get these pieces apart if I can and start the sanding process.

Have a good sunday!

Last edited by morrow95; 08-11-2013 at 01:36 PM.
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post #8 of 35 Old 08-11-2013, 05:30 PM Thread Starter
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Rubber mallet and spreader are not doing anything for these. Rock solid. Rather than try the heat gun I am just going to leave this section together as is. Will just take longer on the sanding.

Will check back in when it is staining time and recommended process for that.
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post #9 of 35 Old 08-12-2013, 12:39 AM
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Sounds like those are glued - and like others have advised, if the joint is still strong, leave it alone.

Sanding finished wood to re-stain is a tough job. Lots of folks like to use chemical stain removers and although I'm not a big fan of these chemical stain removers (haven't used them in 25 years), I think the new versions of these are probably better then the ones I used long ago.

I'm a big fan of cabinet scrapers which are old time tool used before the invention of sand paper. A good scraper will leave wood surfaces at the equivalent of 220 grit sandpaper but are so much more efficient and aggressive then sandpaper. The only draw back to cabinet scrapers is the sharpening process. There are several conflicting methods and all are correct. You simply need to find which method works best for you. Her is a link to Rockler's set of cabinet scrapers... http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?p...8&site=ROCKLER

Besides the scrapers, you will need to purchase a burnishing tool at about $20 - $30. This tool will be used for sharpening your scrapers. Some folks skip the burnishing tool and use a flat head screw driver to curl the burr on the scrapers.

Other folks may chime in on their preferred method of stripping and they will refute what I have just told you. Consider their advise. My method is not for everyone but it sure suits me fine.

Its' never hot or cold in New Hampshire... its' always seasonal.
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post #10 of 35 Old 08-12-2013, 12:34 PM
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I would strongly suggest you consider using a chemical paint stripper containing methylene chloride to remove the existing finish. Sanding does a poor job. It will not effectively remove the finish that has been partially absorbed into the surface of the wood. If you do not get all the existing finish off, the residual finish will prevent even absorption of the new coloring leading to uneven coloring.

Consider also what adhesive you are going to use to reassemble the chair. PVA (yellow glue) like Titebond requires that all the old adhesive be completely removed. Leaving any existing adhesive will prevent a tight long lasting joint. This can be very dangerous with chairs. Lots of folks are injured when chairs fail.
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Any chair built or repaired in my shop was re-glued using slow set, two part epoxy. Epoxy is gap filling so the joint does not need to be tight nor do you need to completely remove all the prior adhesive.

Howie..........
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post #11 of 35 Old 08-18-2013, 02:23 AM Thread Starter
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Bought some Kleen Strip tonight from Home Depot which contains methylene chloride. I tried it on a few pieces earlier and then checked about 30 minutes later as per the instructions. It really did not do a whole lot.

I have both a plastic scraper and wire brush. While I could tell some was coming off it really did not come off as much as I expected. I have another coat on the same pieces as we speak and will report back tomorrow if there was any improvement.

The Kleen Strip says it is for wood among other things and will remove varnish, paint, and stain.
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post #12 of 35 Old 08-18-2013, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morrow95 View Post
Bought some Kleen Strip tonight from Home Depot which contains methylene chloride. I tried it on a few pieces earlier and then checked about 30 minutes later as per the instructions. It really did not do a whole lot.

I have both a plastic scraper and wire brush. While I could tell some was coming off it really did not come off as much as I expected. I have another coat on the same pieces as we speak and will report back tomorrow if there was any improvement.

The Kleen Strip says it is for wood among other things and will remove varnish, paint, and stain.
I use Kleen Strip a lot and if you left it for 30 minutes it's the wrong stripper for your job. Kleen Strip isn't suitable for lacquer finishes for one thing. You might try some lacquer thinner on the finish and see if it tries to dissolve. If so then Strypeeze remover would work a lot better for you. If the lacquer thinner does little also you will probably need an aircraft remover. If you do use the Strypeeze do an overkill on rinsing the residue off. It's much harder to clean then Kleen Strip and the residue will affect your new finish.
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post #13 of 35 Old 08-18-2013, 08:41 PM Thread Starter
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Here is an example of what I am talking about... granted these are still somewhat wet, but you get the idea - they are really not lightening up at all if you compare to the picture on my original post.

A few pieces I managed to get fairly light on certain sides, but that was probably 3 applications and lots of wire brush usage after the scraper. You can also sort of see the original wood color from where it was not stained in certain areas from assembly.

I have yet to try anything with the actual base frame which I am keeping assembled. Ideas?
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post #14 of 35 Old 08-18-2013, 10:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morrow95 View Post
Here is an example of what I am talking about... granted these are still somewhat wet, but you get the idea - they are really not lightening up at all if you compare to the picture on my original post.

A few pieces I managed to get fairly light on certain sides, but that was probably 3 applications and lots of wire brush usage after the scraper. You can also sort of see the original wood color from where it was not stained in certain areas from assembly.

I have yet to try anything with the actual base frame which I am keeping assembled. Ideas?
You shouldn't have to use that much elbow grease stripping the finish off. When you said you applied the stripper and let it sit for 30 minutes, did you just leave it or did you keep it wet with the remover for the 30 minutes. If you just applied it and let it dry in the 30 minutes the finish would have dried back on. If you kept it wet with remover the Kleen Strip is just the wrong remover for your job. Normally it only takes about 15 minutes to lift the finish.
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post #15 of 35 Old 08-18-2013, 10:16 PM
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For an off the shelf stripper, "Aircraft Stripper" is about the best I've used. I wouldn't start with anything else.






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post #16 of 35 Old 08-18-2013, 10:24 PM Thread Starter
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I put it on pretty thick in one direction with a paint brush. Sat there and made sure nothing was drying out. Then used the scraper to 'squeegee' it off. It was no longer white of course, but as you can see not much was coming off.

I guess I will try one of the other strippers and see what happens.
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post #17 of 35 Old 08-19-2013, 09:39 PM Thread Starter
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Bought some aircraft remover tonight from the local auto store. This was in an aerosol can. Sprayed it on a few pieces from the above picture and absolutely nothing happened - nothing came off at all.

The only thing that seems to work is using the Kleen Strip in multiple applications with the wire brush.
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post #18 of 35 Old 08-19-2013, 10:13 PM
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I'll still swear by my Stanly #80 scraper. It takes old finish off quick and easy and leaves a smooth finish, just as smooth as 180 sandpaper. The #80 is the easiest scraper to sharpen. I sharpen the blade at 45' and leave the bur on it. Sometimes I need to curl it back a bit more, but for the most part, I pop it back into the tool and scrape the old finish off. I could probably clean off all those pieces in less then an hr.

Its' never hot or cold in New Hampshire... its' always seasonal.
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post #19 of 35 Old 08-19-2013, 10:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morrow95 View Post
Bought some aircraft remover tonight from the local auto store. This was in an aerosol can. Sprayed it on a few pieces from the above picture and absolutely nothing happened - nothing came off at all.

The only thing that seems to work is using the Kleen Strip in multiple applications with the wire brush.
I have tried to put a commercial paint and varnish remover in a paint sprayer and even though the remover was very good it did very little spraying it. I haven't tried any remover in an aerosol can before. It may be it just dried out before it could work like the commercial remover I tried. You might hold the can closer to the wood so it goes on wetter and see if that helps. The Kleen Strip remover is a good stripper for a lot of things. You might try using a power washer to rinse the parts off after it has soaked for 30 minutes. It would either have to be a power washer that was low pressure or one that you could adjust the pressure down to about 1500 psi. Pressure that low you can almost tolerate spraying your hand with the water. Sometimes the finish will be softened enough the pressure washer will lift it off where hand rinsing with solvents will do nothing. I think most of retail removers say to rinse with mineral spirits which is completely wrong but it keeps them safer from being sued. A better solvent would be lacquer thinner. It's a much stronger solvent and you really need to wear chemical gloves handling it.

I recently refinished a kitchen that a painter started with a lacquer finish. I knew the Kleen Strip didn't work well on lacquer so I bought Strypeeze remover for the job. In a eight hour day I stripped the exterior of all the cabinets, doors and drawer fronts and rinsed them off with lacquer thinner as I went. That brand remover works better for lacquer but doesn't rinse with the power washer very well. It's better rinsed with lacquer thinner. You just have to use different products and methods for each different job.
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post #20 of 35 Old 08-20-2013, 06:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morrow95 View Post
Bought some aircraft remover tonight from the local auto store. This was in an aerosol can. Sprayed it on a few pieces from the above picture and absolutely nothing happened - nothing came off at all.

I don't know what you bought, but Aircraft Stripper that works is too thick for an aerosol can. It would come in a quart can, and be the consistency of a heavy applesauce.

Another choice to remove the finish would be to use a heat gun and a scraper. That will likely remove any finish.






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