I have to rebuild a table that has become loose at the joints/dowels. Not
sure what sort of glue was used previously but suspect it may have been hot
hide glue. What is the best way of treating the reassembly? Use hide glue
again? Clean up all parts and use modern glue? should I remove the dowels
that are NOT loose?
It is not a masterpiece table, and has been used for holding an overhead
projector which has been too much load for it and it has become 'wobbly. I
am going to not only reglue, but also add some reinforcing at the corners
etc. to make it better able to stand the load.
I would disassemble the table as best you can and remove all old glue
possible with something like an old hacksaw blade .dowels that are still
tight leave them alone replace loose ones . reglue with a yellow glue such
as tightbond /elmers carpenters glue underpressure with clamps and leave for
If you can clean it up and re-glue wood to wood then use yellow glue.
If the old glue is not easily removable then use epoxy.
I would remove all dowels and maybe ream the holes out to the next
larger sized dowel.
I think it was FWW magazine that had a whole article on re-gluing last
month. I could be wrong, I've read a few other rags lately too.
You will get a much better bond with epoxy if you add some micro
balloons to create a thickened mixture, say about like mayo.
A word of caution:
Microballoons turn the epoxy mixture white unless you are using VERY
expensive ($300/lb) pheonilic balloons, so don't use an excessive amount
to form a joint unless you want a miserable clean up job.
Microballoons don't really add strength; they're mostly used to create a
low-density, easy to shape/sand mixture for fairing, where strength is not
important. There are much better fillers if you're after gap filling and
Cab-O-Sil, Aer-O-Sil, etc (colloidal silica) thicken the resin, help
with the vertical hang time, and definitely make sanding a bitch when cured.
I have found they do little for me when trying to glue things together.
OTOH, micro balloons tend to form a very gooey glop of adhesive.
As far as redoing a furniture joint is concerned, a flying red horse at
1,000 ft won't be able to see the difference between either approach.
Whatever. System 3 sells wood flour for the very purpose of thickening
their epoxy. There is a detailed pamphlet that goes with their epoxy
that gives an overview of a variety of fillers. They all have their
uses according to the manufacturer. The wood flour gives it a color
about the same as hide glue. It didn't waste the epoxy when I used it,
whatever you meant by that. The things I glued with it are holding just
Not sure I understand that one.
The epoxy serves as an adhesive while the dowel serves as a structrual
member, not exactly the same thing.
Now if you want to make fiberglass dowels held in place with
epoxy.............. Naw, don't go there.
But that's an insane quantity ! They're microballoons - the whole point
is they're ultralight.
My tub of phenolic balloons (West System) cost me a "few bucks", I use
them for almost all my filled epoxy, and I'm nowhere near using the tub
up yet. For a boat with faired mouldings then maybe they're expensive,
but for thickening glue then I spent more on shoeleather going to the
shop then I did on buying them.
There is ultralight and then there is really ultralight<G>.
The phenolic balloons I referred to were the really ultra light kind
used on race boats for the Americas Cup for instance.
Those people are completely anal rentitive about weight.
I use the low cost stuff (7-1/2 lbs/ft3), but you are right, the average
woodworker won't use enough microballoons in a year to get concerned
I've used a heat-gun an a lot of wiggling to get loose by inseparable hide glue
joints apart. The remaining hide glue can be cleaned up with hot vinegar. Use
this to clean up the entire joint before re-gluing.
If the dowels are loose then a thin shaving, made with a plane, can be wrapped
and glued around the dowel to make it fit tighter.
Since its not a "masterpiece" yellow glue can be used to reassemble.
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