Tuning up an old rocking chair -- how to tighten old M & T joints? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 17 Old 06-21-2013, 08:37 AM Thread Starter
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Tuning up an old rocking chair -- how to tighten old M & T joints?

I just picked up a used rocking chair and it has some joints that are loose. Has anyone tried the Veritas Chair Doctor or other glue systems that are meant to swell wood in joints? Is there a better option? I haven't really attempted anything like this before, so any help is appreciated.

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post #2 of 17 Old 06-21-2013, 08:59 AM
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I haven't had much luck with that stuff. If you can force a two part epoxy into the joint, that usually takes care of the problem.






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post #3 of 17 Old 06-21-2013, 09:29 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks. I was wondering how well it could possibly work, especially without getting into the joint to remove old glue residue. For the arms, I may just remove them and do a fresh epoxy glue-up. Only one of the legs is loose from the bottom of the seat, so maybe I will need to find some runnier epoxy and give that a shot. I am not in a rush...I've got another 6 months to get this chair in service .
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post #4 of 17 Old 06-21-2013, 01:23 PM
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if the M&T comes apart, you could either convert it to use a blind fox wedge, or a drawbore.

if it's loose but doesn't come completely apart, then i am out of my league.
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post #5 of 17 Old 06-21-2013, 10:25 PM
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Original glue?

If the chair has not been re-glued but has the original glue, (judging its age from the photo) it's likely to be hide glue.
Hide glue is reversible with heat & moisture, and if you decide to take the chair apart & the tenons are reasonably sound & snug, you can re-glue with hide glue without scraping out the old stuff. Just warm it to soften & add new hide glue & re-do it.
If you're not into messes, I'd use the liquid hide glue (tite-bond) not the make your own heat-it-in-a-glue pot stuff.
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post #6 of 17 Old 06-21-2013, 11:09 PM
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If it were me I would disassemble the rocker as much as it will willingly come apart and clean the joints and reassemble it with a two part epoxy.
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post #7 of 17 Old 06-22-2013, 08:30 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys! When I get a little time, I'll likely pull the loose bits apart and clean up and add epoxy. I have just gotten some Bob Smith Industries epoxy that I like a lot so far. I'll keep you posted with the results...whenever I get to it!

On a side note, This seems to be a great chair for being a $20 Craig's List find.
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post #8 of 17 Old 06-22-2013, 08:58 AM
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Thanks guys! When I get a little time, I'll likely pull the loose bits apart and clean up and add epoxy. I have just gotten some Bob Smith Industries epoxy that I like a lot so far. I'll keep you posted with the results...whenever I get to it!

On a side note, This seems to be a great chair for being a $20 Craig's List find.
One thing I forgot to note it's better to use a slow set epoxy so it will give you more open time to assemble the rocker. It takes longer than you think and if you use a quick set epoxy it starts hardening before you get the rocker together and it's best to put all of it together at once so there isn't squareness issues. From what I read the Bob Smith epoxy is a quick set epoxy so I don't believe it is a good adhesive for this application.
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post #9 of 17 Old 06-24-2013, 05:38 PM
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If possible try not to disassemble parts from the chair. If you have a loose joint, deal with it specifically. If you start taking the chair apart, you may wind up with many loose joints. The chair below, I found on a junkpile, literally in pieces. I couldn't let that much Mahogany go into the trash. When I finally got to putting it back together, I found many pieces were missing and others damaged. I would likely have been better off starting from scratch.

But, in saving it, I saved the hand carving and personalized work someone put into it however long ago. By not disassembling, you don't have to plan for the sequence of how the parts go back together, because there is a sequence with that many parts.
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post #10 of 17 Old 06-27-2013, 09:14 AM Thread Starter
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I'll post some pictures with whatever I do for this....whenever I do it. There are two mechanical fasteners on each arm rest. There is a screw from the back of the chair into the rear edge of the arm rest and a long rod that is threaded on the end that goes from the bottom of the seat up into the bottom of the arm rest. If I remove these, I am pretty confident that the three parts that make up each arm rest will lift off without incident. The only more tricky bit will be the one or two legs that are loose where they connect to the bottom of the seat. Again, I'll post pictures when this project is to the top of my project queue.
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post #11 of 17 Old 06-27-2013, 01:52 PM
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A rubber mallet works pretty good disassembling furniture. At one time I kept after the joints until I got every single joint apart when regluing furniture but I quit because if a joint was really tight you ended up breaking the parts trying to get the joint apart. Now if a joint is really tight I let it be.
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post #12 of 17 Old 06-28-2013, 07:30 AM
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I am not in a rush...I've got another 6 months to get this chair in service .
Young people just don't know that rocking chairs are supposed to squeak because the squeak puts the baby to sleep faster. Unless it's unsafe it just needs a fresh finish for the new arrival.
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post #13 of 17 Old 06-28-2013, 09:38 AM Thread Starter
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Young people just don't know that rocking chairs are supposed to squeak because the squeak puts the baby to sleep faster. Unless it's unsafe it just needs a fresh finish for the new arrival.
Ha, I really don't think the baby is going to care one way or another, but the squeaks and creaks are going to drive my wife nuts!

I really look forward to getting going on this project, but there are a few time sensitive things ahead of it that need my attention first.
With a little luck, I'll sneak some time in to work on this chair sooner than later.
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post #14 of 17 Old 07-12-2013, 09:31 AM Thread Starter
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Uninteresting news folks, my wife solved the chair problem on her own. She decided she wanted a different chair . We picked up a newer and slightly larger rocker that is tight and in good condition for $30 also from Craig's List. We still have the old one, but she wants it gone. Personally, I like the old one better. It has more character and personality--plus the carved details on the back are great.

Alas, the old one has been re-listed on Craig's List, per the boss's instructions: http://pullman.craigslist.org/fuo/3907666997.html

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post #15 of 17 Old 07-13-2013, 07:25 PM
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Nice old Carolina pressed back. No ?

Learning to fix your mistake's is very time consuming
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post #16 of 17 Old 07-19-2013, 09:14 AM Thread Starter
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Nice old Carolina pressed back. No ?
Yup. Not much in the way of markings on it to know much more. It is worn, but in a pleasant way that doesn't get in the way of function. Still no action on Craig's List--so I might have a garage rocker of my very own
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post #17 of 17 Old 07-19-2013, 03:09 PM
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Epoxy is probably your best bet. How to apply the epoxy is the real problem. Depending upon how loose is loose, Tite Bond III may work also.

First, the longer set time for the epoxy the better. You'll need the time to work the joints.

There is a product that looks like a round concertina but only an inch or two in diameter. I believe that they are available from either Woodcraft or Rockler. The product has a hollow metal tube (Think hypodermic needle with out a point.) and is intended for injecting glue into joints.

The trick to getting the epoxy into the joints is to drill a hole into the joint. Angle the drill so that the hole is between the mortise and tenon. The size of the hole is the diameter of the hollow tube. Just drill deep enough to get the epoxy into the joint.

I've done this with Tite Bond III on a rocking chair. The problem was that the joints were squeaking but not loose, loose. Then we put a bunch of encyclopedias on the chair to insure that the chair was square with the floor. You'll probably need to do the same with your rocker.

Use the right tool for the job.

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