Furniture Restoration: Recommendations for Glue Disassembly

The other day, I trashpicked two dishware cabinets with a lot of nice features-- intact glass doors, nice finish, mahogany, curved doors, and lots of other things. While I _currently_ plan to simply clean them up and use them for now, I'm considering a full-scale restoration project in the future.
Now, I've done some restoration in the past (see http://www.briansiano.com for a Chest of Drawers refinishing project). But this may require some serious disassembly and veneer replacement. So I'd like to ask for some information.
The big question is the loosening of glues. I'd like to be able to remove veneers without damaging them, and there may be some mortise-and-tenon joints that need disassembly. Can someone point me to a good web site with information on how to do this?
Thanks in advance.
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Hi, Brian. Nice looking work on the website.
I have been doing finishing/refinishing for some time and have found no products that will remove veneer without damage. I have removed veneer unintentionally, but never on purpose. It isn't made to come off, and the veneer was no doubt installed over a subpar surface.
Even veneer repair is an art. Small repairs are a challenge, but big repairs simply don't work. And taking off a flitch that is probably about 3/32" to 1/16" on most pieces if too much to be able to do successfully. On small place where the glue sticks and you are toast. A splintered or cracked edge in veneer will cause untold repair problems in matching grains, finsihes, coloration, etc.
I have HEARD (not SEEN) that there have been successes in taking dovetailed drawers apart by using a heat gun and carefully heating the joint over a period of time, then tapping the drawers apart. If the drawers are solid though, I don't know why you would do this.
BUT.... if you find any information on how any of these techniques you ask of can be successfully employed, I hope you post some info.
Robert
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Sorry, the phone rang and I finished later. You asked about M&T, not dovetailed drawers.
NO M&T joint should come apart, ever, unless it is broken.
Robert
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Oddly enough, one dovetailed drawer is coming apart, but that won't be hard to fix.
As for M&T joints... well, chances are, I won't have to disassemble any. But it's sad that it means I won't be able to remove and repair/replace a panel in a frame. I have a few doors in my house whose panels could use some repair.
Still, if I _had_ to disassemble an M&T joint, I could probably cut through the tenon and reassemble with a floating tenon.
Thanks for the word on removing veneer-- before I tried to do it, that is. (Again, it's a disappointment, as I just acquired a dining room table top with marvelous veneer, and it would've been a great source for replacement veneer for other projects. Oh, well: live and learn.)
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If the veneer is that good, why not use the top as a source for ready built panels. Thick, I suppose, but might be worth it.
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Brian Siano wrote:

Oh, and one OTHER question: recommendations for books on restoration.
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I have a lot of books on refinishing and restoration and they go from easy to understand and use, to just plain silly in detail and work, unusable because they are just impractical. The latter are rarely touched.
If I were you, I would look at your local half priced or used book store for books. I have found that I have a lot of books and while I have read them all, after a point you are doing well if you pick up more than a pointer or two from some of them.
That being said, a refinishing/restoring book is a good thing to have as it covers everything from wood refinishing and stain removal, to actual structure repair (like a chair or broken cabinet face) and painting. But like I said, no one book seems to cover everything.
Here's a couple of pretty good books that are nicely done and cover a lot of wide territory, but I don't know if they are in publication - I got mine at the used book store.
"The Furniture Guys Book" - Joe L'Erario and Ed Feldman
"The Weekend Refinisher" Bruce Johnson
After your project is stripped, you are now down to finishing. A must in the library, an oldie but goodie, the one that started me thinking outside of the box of thinking I was doing something special by learning how to thin varnish:
"The Woodfinishing Book" - Michael Dresdner (this book can be found cheap - it came out '92 and was so popular it had something like three printings)
It has been followed by
"The NEW Wood Finishing Book" by the same author. Another great book
Another great book:
More Finishes and Finishing Techniques" from the Best of Fine Woodworking Magazine. This book has discussions on dying, staining, applying lacquer, application techniques, making your own finishes, etc. With all the pictures in it, it makes the concepts easy to understand, and I would put this in my must have finishing book list.
Another book that is odd, but really great is "Finishing, Methods of Work". The editors of FWW let Jim Richey (credited as the author) sift through 25 years of tips sent in by readers of all skill levels. Some of the tips are absolutely ingenious. When you don't train someone on how to think about doing something, they will come up with their own solutions. Some tips are just one sentence, and others are three or four pages. You will marvel at the useful, easy ways folks have come up with to solve difficult problems. This book covers everything from lighting in a finishing room to using an eyebrow pencil for color matching when refinishing.
Hopefully a few denizens of this group will chime in with their favorites books as well.
It takes practice to refinish well, but it can be really fascinating. It seems to be going out of vogue again, but all that means is the used book stores should have a bunch of books from time to time.
Hope you stay with it and let us know how you are doing.
Robert
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These guys had a show on PBS that ran on Saturday just before NYW.
They guys approached finishing/refinishing/upholstery much like Norm approaches his work, straight forward and simple.
Often thought they should have been brought in to do the finishes for Norm.
Lew
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I watched their show, but they got a little too silly for me on occasion. That was sad because their book reflects how talented they really are. But I bought mine at Half Priced Books for less than $10 at the publisher's discount table.

I like Norm, I really do. It would be harder to find anyone that has his breadth of knowledge and expertise.
But his weak point has always seemed to me to be his finishing and woodturning. With his finishing, he could actually put on better finishes in an easier fashion if he wanted. His finishing has always been a head scratcher to me, my only conclusion has been that he really belongs to another school of finishing than I do.
Robert
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

One aspect to the silly. One of my old traditions was to see Stanley Kubrick's movies, first day, first show. When I went to see _Eyes Wide Shut_, the Furniture Guys-- whose TV sketches showed a deep appreciation for Kubrick's movies-- were sitting a few rows ahead of me.
They didn't like the movie.
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On Thu, 19 Jun 2008 15:22:13 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@aol.com"

The public library isn't a bad bet either.
--------------------------------------------- ** http://www.bburke.com/woodworking.html ** ---------------------------------------------
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Question is, How old is this pece of furniture. If it is old and they used hide glue to asseble the joint. Then a heat gun blow dyer will loosen the glue and it will come apart.. If it is newer then it will be harder to take apart.
Randy http://nokeswoodworks.com
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