Rocking Chair Repair - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 Old 10-19-2016, 08:30 AM Thread Starter
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Question Rocking Chair Repair

A friend has a rocking chair that is about 40 or so years old. It is a beast of a chair but the rockers need to be repaired or replaced. The original rockers appear to have been cut from glued up blanks. they have now separated strictly along those original joints. The wood looks to be very clean with no apparent glue residue and no splintering. My question is, should I attempt to glue them back together with TB or TBII or should I just use them as a pattern and make new rockers?

If I make new rockers, I would cut them from a solid plank rather than gluing up a blank. This leads me to my next question. Would maple be a good choice of wood and is there a certain way to position the layout in relation to the grain?
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post #2 of 11 Old 10-19-2016, 08:55 AM
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Unless you can completely separate the wood at the joint and machine the glue off each piece you won't be able to re-glue them. It just won't stay together and creates a danger if it suddenly comes apart with someone using it. The rockers will need to be replaced. Maple would certainly be suitable for the rockers however what is the rocking chair made out of? I would stick with the wood used. After all the problem was with a failed glue joint not the wood it was made from.
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post #3 of 11 Old 10-19-2016, 09:19 AM
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There's a lot of weight, and weight distribution stresses, put on rockers. This is one of those places where a good laminate will fair better and longer then a single piece of wood.


Rebuild the rockers, and I'd recommend building them up with strips glued together, like the originals. They lasted nearly 40 years ... that's a pretty good history, I think.
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post #4 of 11 Old 10-19-2016, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
Unless you can completely separate the wood at the joint and machine the glue off each piece you won't be able to re-glue them. It just won't stay together and creates a danger if it suddenly comes apart with someone using it. The rockers will need to be replaced. Maple would certainly be suitable for the rockers however what is the rocking chair made out of? I would stick with the wood used. After all the problem was with a failed glue joint not the wood it was made from.
Well said.

GMC
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post #5 of 11 Old 10-19-2016, 10:16 AM
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a question

How are the pieces glued? Are they glued such that the glue lines run parallel to the floor? Or are they glued and stacked vertically?

New glue doesn't adhere well to old glue, so Steve is correct in suggesting splitting them all apart, cleaning off the old glue by scraping or planing, and regluing them. This will take some effort to get it all off and down to the original wood surface. You can use an epoxy which will all but eliminate the old to new glue issue, but you will want clean and even surfaces.

I would like to see a photo of exactly where the splits are and to what extent before giving more advice. A repair may work rather than a complete tear down... I donno? If the splits are just visual rather than structural, a repair may work OK.

Making new rockers may be easier than a teardown and reglue iof the the existing ones, but that depends on how bad the splits are in my opinion, and whether you can clamp them securely.

Another issue is the age of the chair. The original glue may be hide glue which can be softened with hot water or steam and it's easier to repair.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #6 of 11 Old 10-19-2016, 10:39 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
How are the pieces glued? Are they glued such that the glue lines run parallel to the floor? Or are they glued and stacked vertically?

New glue doesn't adhere well to old glue, so Steve is correct in suggesting splitting them all apart, cleaning off the old glue by scraping or planing, and regluing them. This will take some effort to get it all off and down to the original wood surface. You can use an epoxy which will all but eliminate the old to new glue issue, but you will want clean and even surfaces.

I would like to see a photo of exactly where the splits are and to what extent before giving more advice. A repair may work rather than a complete tear down... I donno? If the splits are just visual rather than structural, a repair may work OK.

Making new rockers may be easier than a teardown and reglue iof the the existing ones, but that depends on how bad the splits are in my opinion, and whether you can clamp them securely.

Another issue is the age of the chair. The original glue may be hide glue which can be softened with hot water or steam and it's easier to repair.
The glue lines run parallel to the floor. It looks as if 3 pieces of 5/4 stock 2" wide were glued together edge to edge and then the rockers were cut from that blank. I will try to get a better picture this evening. I don't know if you can tell from this picture but it is a perfectly clean break over the entire length and width of the joint. There is no visible glue residue anywhere.

Thanks!
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post #7 of 11 Old 10-19-2016, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
Maple would certainly be suitable for the rockers however what is the rocking chair made out of? I would stick with the wood used. After all the problem was with a failed glue joint not the wood it was made from.
I'm not certain what the original wood is. It is a very light color with a really close grain but not overly hard. I can dent it with reasonable pressure from a fingernail.
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post #8 of 11 Old 10-19-2016, 10:57 AM
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That looks like a break along the grain. Those aren't "laminated" rockers, even if those are glued together from several pieces. You can see the reason why cut out "one piece" rockers fail.

Make new laminated rockers and everyone will be happier.
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post #9 of 11 Old 10-19-2016, 10:58 AM
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The way that is broken if you have access to a short jointer you could machine off 1/32" off each piece and reglue it. It needs wood glue to make a strong joint and the wood is sealed with the old glue so it wouldn't adhere without machining. Once machined you could glue it and put a small brad at each end of the joint to hold the parts in place and clamp the rockers together. Once dry it should be good as new.

Epoxy is a good adhesive for a reglue in a lot of cases but not for rockers. There is so much stress on the wood it just won't stay.

I think the color it is you could also fabricate new rockers out of maple alright.
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post #10 of 11 Old 10-19-2016, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Old Noob View Post
The glue lines run parallel to the floor. It looks as if 3 pieces of 5/4 stock 2" wide were glued together edge to edge and then the rockers were cut from that blank. I will try to get a better picture this evening. I don't know if you can tell from this picture but it is a perfectly clean break over the entire length and width of the joint. There is no visible glue residue anywhere.

Thanks!
That is a very bad design for a rocker. Throw out the old ones and make new rockers.

George
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post #11 of 11 Old 10-19-2016, 02:19 PM
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That is a very bad design for a rocker. Throw out the old ones and make new rockers.

George
George, I hate to tell you but most rockers are made in this manor. The companies glue up a wide panel and cut multiple rockers out of the panel. In this case it might just be old or was a bad glue up and it failed.
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