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post #1 of 15 Old 05-07-2014, 10:39 PM Thread Starter
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Tip for chair repair

Greetings,

I'm posting a couple pics of a chair of mine that is broken. It's broken on two of the rungs on the back. I have no clue how these broke. They are arced/bent dowels (it looks like). Not sure if just gluing and clamping will work, or if something else would be involved. Could I glue, clamp, and shoot a pin or brad nail? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
Bob

(hope I scaled the pics correctly...) and sorry for butchering any proper nomenclature... :)
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Last edited by mrbc; 05-07-2014 at 10:42 PM.
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post #2 of 15 Old 05-07-2014, 11:50 PM
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I would try gluing them back together but I wouldn't put any kind of fasteners in them. Any nails would further weaken the wood. They look like they broke from just the stress of being bent. If that is the case then there is a good chance they will break right next to where you glue it. It might be necessary to re-make the parts if it doesn't hold but that would be difficult to get apart without doing more damage. If you do re-make the parts I would bandsaw the radius and round the rungs instead of bending them.
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post #3 of 15 Old 05-08-2014, 12:01 AM
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If I had to guess, the dowels were never bent properly prior to assembly and / or the mortises for the dowels are too shallow.

It appears that the dowels are painted and it would be impossible to raise their moisture content.

The only thing that I can think of is to use an "Extensible" glue. TiteBond in the white bottle with black letters is one that I know of. This has a long open time.

Get some mason's string of the synthetic variety. (Cotton is not strong enough.) Make a loop with the string. Double and triple it before putting it around the dowel. The loop needs to be big enough to loosely slip a screwdriver in the loop. (Philips is best.)

The loop is around the dowel. Put a good amount of glue on the broken surfaces of the dowel. Position the broken surfaces together and slide the loop and screwdriver up to about the center of the break. Twist the screwdriver to tighten the loop. When you get a good squeeze out of glue, tie the handle of the screwdriver so that the loop can't unwind. Wait at least 24 hours so that the glue completely cures.

You will have to cut the loop off of the dowel and sand the dowel.

Do one dowel at a time and start with the one with the least bend.

Use the right tool for the job.

Rich (Tilting right)
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Remember that when we have the "BIG ONE" everything east of the Rockies falls into the ocean.
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post #4 of 15 Old 05-08-2014, 12:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rrich
If I had to guess, the dowels were never bent properly prior to assembly and / or the mortises for the dowels are too shallow.

It appears that the dowels are painted and it would be impossible to raise their moisture content.

The only thing that I can think of is to use an "Extensible" glue. TiteBond in the white bottle with black letters is one that I know of. This has a long open time.

Get some mason's string of the synthetic variety. (Cotton is not strong enough.) Make a loop with the string. Double and triple it before putting it around the dowel. The loop needs to be big enough to loosely slip a screwdriver in the loop. (Philips is best.)

The loop is around the dowel. Put a good amount of glue on the broken surfaces of the dowel. Position the broken surfaces together and slide the loop and screwdriver up to about the center of the break. Twist the screwdriver to tighten the loop. When you get a good squeeze out of glue, tie the handle of the screwdriver so that the loop can't unwind. Wait at least 24 hours so that the glue completely cures.

You will have to cut the loop off of the dowel and sand the dowel.

Do one dowel at a time and start with the one with the least bend.
This seems like a good idea. I would add. Try the whole process without glue first. If it goes together without any gap. It may work. If you can't get the pieces together with this method you will be able to try another due to doing a dry run first.

Al

Nails only hold themselves.


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post #5 of 15 Old 05-08-2014, 05:40 AM
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you might also try some steam

AS stated above, the dowels were not properly bent/steamed before they were inserted. The ones on the right side/broken have straighten out considerably from those on the left side. They are under a lot of stress and should be steamed back into shape or as stated above, they may just fracture again close to the repaired joint.

This is an advanced repair project, but based on the advice and your willingness to tackle it, you may do just fine. Depending on the chairs value you may want to have it repaired professionally OR just tackle it yourself. Best of luck on it!

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)

Last edited by woodnthings; 05-08-2014 at 08:34 AM.
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post #6 of 15 Old 05-08-2014, 07:49 AM
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I think I would start with the second dowel in, and heat the top joint with a heat gun to loosen it a bit. I'd check the dry fit, and if it's a good mate, use TBIII (if any gaps a two part epoxy), and tie the joint by wrapping with a small cord like a masons line or twine. I would just wrap the joint wound tight and tie off the ends. After a day, do the same to the end dowel. The cord would have to be cut off the dowel as already stated, and the dowel then can be sanded and repainted. The breaks represent a basic scarf joint, which offers good gluing surface, and it should make for a predictable fix.






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post #7 of 15 Old 05-08-2014, 09:27 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice. I actually think it got knocked over and had something fall on the back (like one of the kids). My kids had a penchant for pushing the chairs around the kitchen and there's a raised end cap at the threshold between the wood in the kitchen and carpet in the living room. Those rascals love to try and "drive" things from room to room. We've mostly got them to quit doing that, or at least with actual toys, and those with wheels... we need a darn fence in the back yard so they can run wild and not get into the street.... :/

I have a ton of masons twine from my days doing archaeology, and I'm pretty sure its synthetic. So would I be twisting the wrapping like a tourniquet? I can squeeze the break together with my fingers and mate the faces with no gap that I can see.

Would an epoxy provide a stronger bond? Meaning, if I started with the TB3 and it failed, would cleaning up the joint to then try the epoxy create a more difficult joint surface to bond than just starting clean with the epoxy? And any recommendations as to a good epoxy product?

Thanks again! :)

Last edited by mrbc; 05-08-2014 at 09:30 AM.
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post #8 of 15 Old 05-08-2014, 09:44 AM
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If you do wrap it with cord, you can lock both ends of the wrap without having to tie them off. Watch this video on how to wrap a line guide on a fishing rod blank and you'll see the technique where you lock the starting wrap end, and then you use a loop to pull the finishing wrap end through the wraps.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjXQRTpARg4

I've built a lot of fishing rods and after you do one wrap this way, you see how simple it really is.
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post #9 of 15 Old 05-08-2014, 09:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbc View Post
Thanks for the advice. I actually think it got knocked over and had something fall on the back (like one of the kids). My kids had a penchant for pushing the chairs around the kitchen and there's a raised end cap at the threshold between the wood in the kitchen and carpet in the living room. Those rascals love to try and "drive" things from room to room. We've mostly got them to quit doing that, or at least with actual toys, and those with wheels... we need a darn fence in the back yard so they can run wild and not get into the street.... :/

I have a ton of masons twine from my days doing archaeology, and I'm pretty sure its synthetic. So would I be twisting the wrapping like a tourniquet? I can squeeze the break together with my fingers and mate the faces with no gap that I can see.

Would an epoxy provide a stronger bond? Meaning, if I started with the TB3 and it failed, would cleaning up the joint to then try the epoxy create a more difficult joint surface to bond than just starting clean with the epoxy? And any recommendations as to a good epoxy product?

Thanks again! :)
If you get a good matchup of the broken ends and TitebondIII later fails, you have bigger problems than epoxy will fix. I have yet to see a Titebond joint fail. It always breaks somewhere beyond the joint, not at the joint. This of course assumes clean bare wood, most glues fail if the surfaces are oily or have some kind of finish on them.

Alexis de Tocqueville was a very smart man.
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post #10 of 15 Old 05-08-2014, 11:36 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
This is an advanced repair project, but based on the advice and your willingness to tackle it, you may do just fine. Depending on the chairs value you may want to have it repaired professionally OR just tackle it yourself. Best of luck on it!

Thanks. I'm a firm believer that anybody can do anything if they have the right mindset: an interest and a willingness to search out information from experienced experts (and a willingness to listen to that advice...). Sometimes my wife gets mildly aggravated that I'm always into things and getting tools, or taking things apart, etc. But, since I've typically been successful in my DIY undertakings, people are always asking me to take a look at something, or bringing something to have me fix it. I enjoy the challenge of figuring how stuff works, etc. So far I've had very few parts left over...
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post #11 of 15 Old 05-08-2014, 02:24 PM
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looking at the photo

Those are very clean breaks, rather than splinters which would occur in "long grain" wood. The angle it's sheared off at indicates to me the grain is not running the correct direction for the greatest strength. It may just break again in a slighhtly different place even IF you do a perfect glue up... time will tell on that. The reason I suggested steaming them into shape rather than just using brute force is to relieve the stresses and that will make the joint a better condition.
It would be some additional work to capture some steam off a source like good tea kettle or Steam Buggy like they sold on TV years ago.

I would take a chance and try that first, as there is no point in doing it twice. JMO.

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 #12 of 15 Old 05-08-2014, 05:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al B Thayer View Post
This seems like a good idea. I would add. Try the whole process without glue first. If it goes together without any gap. It may work. If you can't get the pieces together with this method you will be able to try another due to doing a dry run first.

Al

Nails only hold themselves.
Good thinking Al.

Use the right tool for the job.

Rich (Tilting right)
Huntington Beach, California
Remember that when we have the "BIG ONE" everything east of the Rockies falls into the ocean.
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post #13 of 15 Old 05-08-2014, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by mrbc View Post
So would I be twisting the wrapping like a tourniquet?

I can squeeze the break together with my fingers and mate the faces with no gap that I can see.
Absolutely. The screwdriver will make things very tight. Three wraps around both dowel and screwdriver will make for a very tight tourniquet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbc View Post
Would an epoxy provide a stronger bond? Meaning, if I started with the TB3 and it failed, would cleaning up the joint to then try the epoxy create a more difficult joint surface to bond than just starting clean with the epoxy? And any recommendations as to a good epoxy product?
If you can align the two pieces with your fingers then TB-III is a very good choice. If the fit is not perfect, avoid TB-III as you'll never get it off and re-expose the cracked surface. If you have gaps then an epoxy which is intended to fill gaps and used on wood is a good alternative.

What Mike suggested about heating the top joint to relieve stress is a good point also. Heat guns are cheap at Harbor Freight.

I've not used epoxy in a stress type of situation so I can't advise you there. Just be sure that the epoxy is intended for use on wood.

Use the right tool for the job.

Rich (Tilting right)
Huntington Beach, California
Remember that when we have the "BIG ONE" everything east of the Rockies falls into the ocean.
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post #14 of 15 Old 05-08-2014, 05:31 PM
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I would advise against using steam. The dowel can't be captivated sufficiently for steam to be effective in softening the wood. What steam would do is change the dowels as they expand. The mating parts may not remain equal as they are, in order to get a good fit. One side of the break may get larger/smaller than the other side.






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post #15 of 15 Old 05-09-2014, 06:53 AM
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Chair repair

When I was in the furniture repair business, and faced with chair leg or any round shape to repair, used West epoxy w/filler tinted to match item. Used dental floss wrapped tightly to pull parts in shape, wiped excess epoxy w/acetone. Next day pulled floss off & finished repair! Worked on all round or irregular surfaced including rattan chairs!
Good Luck
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