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Discussion Starter #1
I'm sure this topic has been covered but my search isn't finding the answer. I glued a section of my chair that I'm not happy with and now I would like to take it apart and redo it. It is glued and doweled and is fully set. I don't want to bang on it because the last time I did that I broke the chair arm and had to repair it. Is there any way I can dissolve the glue and gently pry it apart? Thanks in advance.
 

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Sorry, but once yellow glue has cured it cannot be dissolved or taken apart without breaking the joint.

The glue will soften with heat, but a LOT of heat, perhaps 200 deg F. Not good for the wood.

The fact that yellow glue is considered permanent is why many folks prefer to use hide glue on chairs since this type of glue can be more easily heated to allow disassembly.
 

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I've successfully used a heat gun, but you do have to be careful.
 

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Just be patient, it takes a while to heat the wood through enough to soften the glue. Don't hold the gun to close to the wood. Some of them throw air that reaches 1000°, if you have a low heat setting (on mine that's 700°) use it. If it's a large joint you need to move over it somewhat evenly to insure it's all gets softened at the same time. You may not need to soften it fully to separate the parts without damage.
 

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I'll try it this afternoon. Any tips? I've never used a heat gun.
I hope you have better luck than I had with a heat gun. I have an old chair with a broken stretcher. I tried a heat gun. I was not able to get the glue to soften in the joint. Part of the challenge is that wood is a good insulator so hot on the surface but not in the joint.

I ended up carefully hitting the parts with a mallet and was lucky to be able to break the glue and not the wood.

You mentioned dowels in the joint, so perhaps thicker wood in the joint than I had. Your joint may not easily come apart.

Before you begin, I would prepare a surface to place the hot heat gun close by. Something which will not burn or is sacrificial like a piece of scrap wood.
 

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Vinegar and heat will soften the yellow glue and a good whack with a dead blow hammer should easily open the joint.

I use an infrared heat lamp and keep wetting the joint with the vinegar. The heat from an infrared lamp will more easily penetrate into wood. PVA adhesive softens at 130 to 140 degrees.

In some cases I have drilled a small diameter hole into the joint and injected vinegar using a glue syringe.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well, good and bad news. I played around with the arm which was attached only at one end so far and luckily my joinery was so bad that it snapped off at the dowels. On a bad note my joinery was so bad it snapped off at the dowels ....

Now I think I should take the whole thing apart and start over. Back to my original thread...
 
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