Old Chair redo/repair

I bought a child sized chair at a yard sale the other day for five bucks. It is in pretty good shape. It looks like a regular dining room chair of the period, and has a back that is one panel cut out of a piece of what looks like birch plywood, and is in a common pattern. The seat cover is a vinyl, which I will replace with some nice cloth, and add a slightly thicker pad.
It is held together with ALL straight slot screws, which tends to make me think forties or fifties. I will do more research to date it. All there is in markings is 804 in crayon underneath.
I don't want to completely strip it, but consult with a rebuilder to see how to darken it in some areas where it looks like water got on it, and it has whitened in a spotty pattern.
Now for the question. Most all the dowels are lose in their sockets. What is the best glue to use to get a good joint? I have used some Elmer's before, and the things came loose soon after. Is there a particular brand of Elmer's, or another? I have seen Gorilla Glue, but with all the foaming and expanding, I'm not so sure of using it.
I know that I will have to clamp it until dry with the long pipe clamps, or perhaps some of the Irving slide clamps I have that will reach that far.
Help appreciated.
Steve
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SteveB wrote: ...

...
If by "dowels loose in their sockets" you mean they are loose enough to wiggle and essentially simply fall out on their own, glue alone of any type isn't the answer -- you need to first fix either the hole or the dowel to have a snug fit.
As for wood glue, any of the yellow PVA glues are fine. White glue is ok as well, but not quite as strong. Either, however, will rely on having a clean wood-to-wood contact and a tight-fitting joint to begin with. Old glue and a loose fit will guarantee a non-lasting joint.
The polyurethane glues (such as Gorilla) are not worth a flip for gap-filling, being even worse than yellow. Even in a good fitting joint it isn't as strong in almost all instances, despite the hype/advertising.
If it were mine and there were sufficient room, I'd probably drill the holes out to the next larger dowel size. Failing that, I'd clean the existing holes out well and turn new dowels to fit.
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Thank you for the great explanation. I would have just thought that gluing would be enough. Yes, on a couple, you can pull the joint apart because the dowel/hole interface has too much slop. The only thing really holding it together are the diagonal inside corner brackets. But they look like they are still pretty good, without any of the screw holes being ripped out. For those, will probably just do the toothpick glue trick to make the screws get a good bite. Am going to keep the original screws, too, and IIRC, have a couple of extra ones in my old screw/bolt bin in case these are stripped. Or I can Dremel the groove a little deeper.
Main thing is that after redoing this, the chair is used only for looks, and not for sitting. It's such a cute little chair.
Steve
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Whatever glue you end up choosing, take a look a a couple of band clamps. You'll find many uses for them over the years for irregular and large clamping. BTW, awesome for chairs too :-).
    http://www.acehardware.com/product/index.jsp?productId 90475&cp=&sr=1&origkwnd+clamps&kwnd+clamps&parentPage=search&searchId579920323
Search the Home Depot site for a pic of the same one partially opened to give you a better idea.
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I've never used it myself but I've read some good reports on Chair Doctor glue:
http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?FamilyID231
This might be helpful reading too:
http://www.woodcentral.com/bparticles/repair.shtml
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SteveB wrote:

Old glue needs to be cleaned out. Elmer's wood glue is good. One old trick is to jam in the tips of one or two toothpicks so there is a tight fit. Clamp until set.
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Norminn wrote: ...

But, unless there's a tight fit all around the dowel, the glue has no effective surface area to make a long-lasting joint and as soon as the single-points of the toothpicks mash down, back in the same boat w/ a bunch more new glue to clean out...
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804 may be nothing more than a mover's marking from some long-ago house move. We have some antique furniture from my wife's grandmother that has crayon numbers on some pieces. Some of the pieces are from Europe and have knock-down fittings, like the 6' x 9' x 3' armoire. These pieces have crayon numbers on many of the pieces and I believe they were made by the movers many years ago. The crayon numbers would probably be replaced with bar-code stickers if they were moved today. ;-)
Search ths group for a thread entitled "Glueing Chair Rungs" that was started on Oct 27, 2007. Lots of chatter on Gorilla Glue, Chair Doctor and fox wedging.
On the other hand, if you are going to consult with someone on refinishing parts of it, I'm guessing that any restorer worth their fees will know the best way to tighten up the rungs.
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As Joe said. Glue doesn't stick to glue. For decoration only, get some of the chair doctor wood swelling stuff and inject it with the needle: <http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&cat=1,110&p0261>
The only other solution is to remove the dowels, clean out the glue in the holes and on the dowel ends, perhaps even split and bottom wedge the dowels, and reassemble.
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