Removing Difficult Brads and Staples - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 16 Old 05-15-2012, 01:48 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Removing Difficult Brads and Staples

I'm doing chair and table repairs for a friend's restaurant. I'm pretty good with broken table tops and cracked legs and seats. But some of the chairs and baby chairs are all wood (Oak, Pine, Ash are typical) with glued slot and tenon joinery. SMALL brads or staples were shot at every corner or intersection to set the tenon. Boneheaded, drunk and clumsy customers take a toll and we're getting many more "sprung" joints and seams as the chairs age. So far it's cheaper for me to fix 'em, but man am I hating brads and staples.

Typically an "event" occurs and the glue is first popped at the joints. The tenon is then held only by the brads or staple. Soon the joint is very loose from rocking or upsets that "parallelogram" the frames. These small wire staples (3/16 or 1/4 wide X ~1-1/4" deep) were set OEM about 1/8" or more below the surface and the damage pulls them in even further. The brads (~20-28 gauge X ~1-1/4") tend to be closer to the surface but are often headless. Both get bent way down in the wood by the working stress on the tenon. The tenons are cut on all 4 sides so I can't get a blade or nips in the slot to cut the wire. The brads are so wirey, they won't drive out the other side. My best hope is the wire fatigues and breaks. But most often I have to wait for the brads to get so loose they will almost fall out. Staples are impossible to remove they sit so deep, so either way I await a real break and hope the wire comes out cleanly.

Since it's impossible to dig the metal out without (a lot of) further damage, I'm about to try drilling to the head of the metal, gouging out around it so a needlenose can hopefully grip, then replacing with a small screw after re-gluing and clamping the joint. I'd have to finish with a plug over the big hole. However.... each stool has at least EIGHT staples. All baby chairs have 2 brads X 12 joints. Oy-vey! Is there a better way???

I enclose a pic of most of the tools I have for removal of objects in small places. I also have a small drill press, vice, sabersaw, sanders, hand drills, carpenters glue and plenty of older (but non-reversible) clamps. The boss's wood chisels are all too big. Also see our 2 most common staple and brad joints (the one on the stool so loose you can see the space on the tenon shoulder).
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post #2 of 16 Old 05-15-2012, 07:03 AM
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You can dig around the nail to expose it but needle nose pliers won't pull the nail. It would be necessary to use diagonal pliers to pull the nail. I think the hole you dig to do this is too much damage. What I normally do is beat the joint apart with a rubber mallet. Most of the time the nail will bend and just let the tennon slide out. Sometimes it will tear the stile but I find that easier to fix than digging holes to get the nails out.
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post #3 of 16 Old 05-15-2012, 08:54 AM
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Rather than a disassembly, some joints that can be separated slightly can be re-glued (by forcing the glue in), and clamped up tight. TB II or III can be used for close fitting parts. For ones with gaps, a two part epoxy works well. The more that's done to once glued joints, the more their fit becomes compromised.









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post #4 of 16 Old 05-28-2012, 06:40 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for responses. Slight correction: the furniture uses mortise and tenon joints.

I have TB 2/3 and Ace has epoxy, so will try this on a couple places. I have rubber mallet for knocking things apart. Would prefer the newer reversible bar clamps to more gently force-spread the joint apart, if I can get bossman to spring for a pair.

I just a thought... it's likely that wood filler paste would work better at the resulting irregular holes after a dig-out. Wouldn't have to take out as much material trying to make it nice and round with a drill.

And another... concerning gluing: Have any of you ever drilled a small hole into the back of the mortise and used that to get glue where it couldn't go before? The hole would be an easy fill or plug after clamping. Maybe even use the hole for a strengthening screw if I site it right.

Last edited by jopower; 05-28-2012 at 07:08 AM.
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post #5 of 16 Old 06-05-2012, 05:51 PM
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When you reglue something it's different than a first time glue. Once a piece of furniture has been glued together the glue seals the wood so when you reglue you are adhering glue to glue. It can't soak into the wood anymore so the only way to properly glue something together is to take it completely apart and use 2 part epoxy to re-assemble it. At one time in my antique repair business I attempted to work glue into the joints or worse to use super glue and the furniture always came back as warranty work. Then I had to dissemble the furniture often breaking pieces to properly glue them together at my expense. It didn't take long doing that to find out I needed to do it right or not at all. Trying to drill a hole on the back side of the mortise you can only hope to get glue behind the tennon. The glue needs to be between the tennon and the side of the mortise.
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post #6 of 16 Old 06-05-2012, 06:48 PM
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I agree, a re- gluing attempt would be a waste if time. That's just one of the pitfalls of mortise and tenon joints. Often made with wood too green and when the mortise gets larger and the tenon smaller from drying this is often the end result.

Have you considered pulling the tenon shoulders back tight with pocket screws if the tenon isn't very long.

Last edited by SeniorSitizen; 06-05-2012 at 06:54 PM.
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post #7 of 16 Old 06-18-2012, 09:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
When you reglue something it's different than a first time glue. Once a piece of furniture has been glued together the glue seals the wood so when you reglue you are adhering glue to glue. It can't soak into the wood anymore so the only way to properly glue something together is to take it completely apart and use 2 part epoxy to re-assemble it. At one time in my antique repair business I attempted to work glue into the joints or worse to use super glue and the furniture always came back as warranty work. Then I had to dissemble the furniture often breaking pieces to properly glue them together at my expense. It didn't take long doing that to find out I needed to do it right or not at all. Trying to drill a hole on the back side of the mortise you can only hope to get glue behind the tennon. The glue needs to be between the tennon and the side of the mortise.
I agree but I have had luck speading the joint a little and using the original Gorilla glue as it expands like a foam (a little) and then after I clamp it, I drill through and peg it with a wood 1/4" dowel. After sanding it blends (even gives it a little style if you position the pegs in the right spot lol)
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post #8 of 16 Old 07-03-2012, 06:13 AM Thread Starter
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Hmmm... some good ideas all round. This is a restaurant chair, so simple gluing is out, as you suggest. Forcing the joint apart before getting anywhere is looking like the only way AND I'll likely peg the tenons.... unless this works:

Recently discovered the guys at Westsystem.com (their Epoxyworks mag is a good read). The regard for their products is high and the test joints I saw at their site seem to show that my joints will be permanently repaired. Didn't know you could make joints stronger than the wood!!

Thanks guys!

Last edited by jopower; 07-03-2012 at 06:16 AM.
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post #9 of 16 Old 07-06-2012, 07:20 PM
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Fulcrum it apart

One can use the force from a fulcrum to force apart chair legs etc. I'm trying to remember the picture I saw somewhere.
2 hardwood pieces with a crosspiece between them. Fit one of the open ends of the fulcrum between the legs and using a pipe clamp exert a 'closing' force on the other end causing the legs to spread apart.
Hope that made sense.

Just realized this is an old thread!

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post #10 of 16 Old 07-06-2012, 09:18 PM
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Drilling a hole of the right size to snugly-fit a large hypodeemic nerdle, like one used on cows and horses, will allow you to shoot glue into the joint until it squeezes out around the shoulders.
This obviates disassembly of a piece which may not deserve the time.
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post #11 of 16 Old 07-07-2012, 02:51 AM
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I like other posters here think that adding glue to old glue surfaces is a waste of time.
I would drill a shallow hole, dig out the staple, clamp the chair and drill an appropiate size hole through where the staple went. Then take your hardwood dowel and glue it in place leaving it slightly proud. Trim it flush when you have finished repairing the chair.
Your not repairing an antique.
Or you could just clamp the chair parts tight and drill dowel holes as above. Then fill in the holes where the staples are.

Last edited by woodbutcher360; 07-07-2012 at 02:53 AM.
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post #12 of 16 Old 07-15-2012, 02:24 PM
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Are the tenons long enough to clamp the piece together then drill a 1/4 or 5/16" hole into the inner part of the joint then drive dowels in with glue? This would create a new glue joint as well as the cross-grain of the dowel would provide a new element to the joint. You'd want to drill through the tenon, stopping just short of exiting out the other side.
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post #13 of 16 Old 07-15-2012, 05:28 PM
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Lee Valley has chair doctor glue. It is designed to swell the tenon and then harden to retigten the joint.

I tried it on a dining room set my sister has that is about fifty years old. That was three years ago. Things are still holding up really well.

So, I recommend it highly.

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post #14 of 16 Old 07-16-2012, 01:11 PM
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I have injected glue in many-an-unworthy chair.
While it is true, glue-on-glue is not the best or permanent, it works, until it doesn't.

I have used a piece of automobile brake-line about 1½" long, file little saw-teeth on one end, chuck it in a drill-motor, and drill out broken screws and nails. A ¼" dowel or other suitable peg will plug the hole after glue-up.
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post #15 of 16 Old 08-15-2012, 02:54 AM Thread Starter
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OK, I didn't mess with pulling staples or brads on one bar chair tester. I went for the "pull the loose legs out of the bottom of the seat, clean up the holes and leg ends and glue them back in, box clamp all 4 legs, move down to the ugly cross pieces, drill 1/4" holes past the other side of the tenon, unclamp the legs, glue it all sloppy with TB3 though the 1/4" holes, move the joints to spread the glue, repeat a few times, box clamp the 4 legs again, drive in a gluey wood dowel in the 1/4" holes, final clamp the seat down on the legs while it's all some kinda wet, wait 48 hours and hope it works" method. Decided any screws would just split something eventually. Man, 8 clamps worth of traction. Maybe I should go to medical school after all. :D

It's been a couple weeks and still tight. I'm not taking out long term survival insurance with the beer fests coming but the boss is happy. We'll give it a month and see if that's good enough for the rest. Alot of work for $105 chairs but it's the schooling that counts. Now, oh, them baby chairs....

Last edited by jopower; 08-15-2012 at 03:01 AM.
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post #16 of 16 Old 09-17-2012, 12:59 PM
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Get the hollow drill bit that is used for broken screw extraction. Drill out the brad/screw and replace the drilled area with a dowel after you've done the needed repair.
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