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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The chair in the picture is rickety.

The joints where the arrows point are loose, but not loose enough to get it apart without risking breaking it.

Note that there are no stretchers either so that the top joints bear all the load when someone is pulling the chair up to the table.

To make matters better, it’s teak, so it doesn’t glue.

Any ideas for how to strengthen these joints?

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where's my table saw?
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When I "repaired" some spindle back chairs for a friend, I was leery about removing all the spindles (about 12) sanding the and wire brushing out all those holes like I had done on another of his chairs. So, I thought I could drill a few1/16" holes around the spindles which would allow "Crazy Glue" cyanoacrylate, to seep down into the loose joints. It seemed to work just fine and the joints became strong again. That process may work in a situation like this where you are reluctant to take the joints apart?
 

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If the joints are loose, then you should be able to separate the joints to some good extent. Are there corner braces on the inside of the seat frame? If so, remove them to facilitate separating the joints. The more you can separate the joints, the better to facilitate a repair. I would suspect the seat is attached to corner braces, rather than to the seat frame, itself. I would use an epoxy adhesive... along with pinning, as mentioned.

Hopefully the loose joints haven't been previously "repaired" with small finishing nails somewhere in the mix.

Sonny
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I must have hit send before putting the word “well” after the word glue. I meant to say teak doesn’t glue well.

I like the idea of wicking in the CA. I have some low viscosity epoxy that I might be able to inject into a small hole. Any opinions on Epoxy vs CA if I don’t disassemble?

I don’t think a previous repair has been attempted and so I don’t want to be “that guy” who makes a future repair that much harder.

Also, the legs are not very large, so the tenons and the mortises aren’t very long.

These chairs came from one of those Scandinavian furniture stores that were all the rage a while back. I’d bet they were expensive, but they don’t seem to very well made. They seem “delicate” You know, made for skinny people!! :)
 

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CA is not an appropriate glue for a chair leg. Spindle maybe but not a leg. It will not withstand torque or stress.

If it’s already loose do it right and take apart, clean out old glue, re glue and pin.
 

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CA is not an appropriate glue for a chair leg. Spindle maybe but not a leg. It will not withstand torque or stress.

If it’s already loose do it right and take apart, clean out old glue, re glue and pin.
I don't necessarily disagree, but if the CA bonds to the existing glue rather than gap filing or raw wood it may have greater strength?
I don't know how we could "test" it other than on a mockup or a chair that doesn't matter. It would be a slick trick if it does indeed work!
Anyone who has taken apart a spindle back chair and the legs and arm rests knows what a pain it is and gluing back together is another level of stress.
 

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Just about every joint on a chair is heavily stressed when chair is in use.
I would take apart the chair as much as possible, meaning everything that is not a tight as it was when it was built. Sometimes on some stubborn pieces that are loose but you cant get apart, you can inject hot vinegar into the joints with a hypodermic needle and work them loose.
I would not repair any chair that I cant make every joint as strong as new. Chair repairs are not simple. Everything that can be disassembled should be.
When it is all apart, joints cleaned and ready for glue-up. your best clamping system is surgical tubing. Surgical tubing does not require knots - just wrap-overs. Not cheap, but as far as I'm concerned, it is your only option. The glue or epoxy is not going to wait on you.
Teak is very glueable. As stated earlier, wipe down with lacquer thinner or acetone immediately before glue-up. in a chair, In a chair like that, I doubt that they used old growth teak so internal oils are not to be feared, just conquered.
If something is loose and wonh come apart, look closely for pin nails - that may be the problem

I have repaired hundreds of chairs, if not a thousand or so and I certainly did not want any of them coming back to me. It is not technically difficult, just a PITA.
 

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..........
I like the idea of wicking in the CA. I have some low viscosity epoxy that I might be able to inject into a small hole. Any opinions on Epoxy vs CA if I don’t disassemble?.....! :)
I would pick epoxy over CA glue anytime. If you make this repair with epoxy, which is a permanent repair if done properly, just hope you never have to repair this chair again.
 
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You would be surprised how easy to get loose joints apart with a rubber mallet. Unless the joint is completely solid I take a chair completely apart when they are loose. A solid joint you are more likely to break one of the parts trying to beat it apart. Then I sand or scrape the parts as clean as possible to remove the old glue and re-assemble the chair with a slow set two part epoxy. Epoxy is best for a reglue because wood glue works by soaking into the wood fibers and turns to a plastic. On a reglue the wood is sealed with the old glue so an adhesive meant for non-porous surfaces is best.
 

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Epoxy is almost always required on older chairs for the reason mentioned by @Steve Neul and also the tenons may have shrunk due to age and wear and tear on the loosely fitting joint by movement while loose. Some of the newer chairs are a nightmare to repair when a part is broken and all the other parts are solidly in place and you cant spread the legs apart to insert a new stretcher.
This what happened on the attached photos. I made the new stretcher and couldnt spread the legs apart enough to get it on place. I generally never take photos in the shop so a critical photo is missing - on purpose.
I made the new stretcher. I sprayed it with lacquer. Then I used the band saw to slice the new piece along the length about 6 - 8 " long.- I think. similar to the broken piece. The standard for this splice is a 12:1 ratio IIRC. I put black stained epoxy on both ends and along the new splice, inserted the ends and lined up the splice as best as I could. I used I think it was Visquene strips to hold it together with tape on the outside. Then when set, i just removed the Visquene and gently cut and sanded the spliced joint. and touched it up again with black lacquer.

These photos were posted on my old website which no longer exists.
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remove the seat and give us a pic of whats left, from underneath.

i agreee with the disassembly/epoxy crowd. when trying to pursuade the pieces apart, i use the quick clamps, with the jaws turned aound in the "spreader" position. i apply pressure as i tap with a rubber mallet (rag wrapped around the head). they typically pull right apart.
 

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Glue or not, pin the tenons from the inside.

Teak can’t be glued? I would say if you can get it completely apart, wipe the tenon down with lacquer thinner or acetone and immediately glue back with epoxy. Even with glue I would still pin it.
I would take DrRobert's suggestion with pinning all chair tenons from the inside. Use 1/4" dowels -- 2 for each tenon and taper 1 end with a sander. I'd also drill each dowel hole at a slight angle, to add extra security. Apply Titebond 2 in each dowel hole and hammer away. I've done this many times with vintage tables & chairs and it works great. It also saves alot of time and prevents accidental damage.
 

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Glad we agree on that as noted in Post #8 where I said "Teak is very glueable. As stated earlier, wipe down with lacquer thinner or acetone immediately before glue-up."
Great minds think alike.
 

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Agree with the Scandinavian slender look, with weak joints- my guess is dowels rather than mortise/tenon. Try loosening glue (PVA) by dripping DNA into the loose joint, or gentle heat, then rubber mallet persuasion.
 

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Just about every joint on a chair is heavily stressed when chair is in use.
I would take apart the chair as much as possible, meaning everything that is not a tight as it was when it was built. Sometimes on some stubborn pieces that are loose but you cant get apart, you can inject hot vinegar into the joints with a hypodermic needle and work them loose.
I would not repair any chair that I cant make every joint as strong as new. Chair repairs are not simple. Everything that can be disassembled should be.
When it is all apart, joints cleaned and ready for glue-up. your best clamping system is surgical tubing. Surgical tubing does not require knots - just wrap-overs. Not cheap, but as far as I'm concerned, it is your only option. The glue or epoxy is not going to wait on you.
Teak is very glueable. As stated earlier, wipe down with lacquer thinner or acetone immediately before glue-up. in a chair, In a chair like that, I doubt that they used old growth teak so internal oils are not to be feared, just conquered.
If something is loose and wonh come apart, look closely for pin nails - that may be the problem

I have repaired hundreds of chairs, if not a thousand or so and I certainly did not want any of them coming back to me. It is not technically difficult, just a PITA.
Ding Ding..Winner!
If the chair has never been taken apart enough you may or may not know what type of joint is in it..It's probably T&M or it could be doweled joints. It's probably well worth the time to go ahead and take them apart and find out. I've used both for chairs and HA! run into the same problems later on.. Everything (almost) is fixable..Pinned joints are a big PITA, but not impossible to remove.. There's always the option of nice, teak firewood, but i don't recommend it..
 

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Glad we agree on that as noted in Post #8 where I said "Teak is very glueable. As stated earlier, wipe down with lacquer thinner or acetone immediately before glue-up."
Great minds think alike.
No they don't Tony.. Great minds think for themselves. Sheep, birds and fish think alike.. Now you know why I have pissed off a lot of people who say GMTA.. ;)
 
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