Hi-I am refinishing a small Jesus figure from a crucifix. It is carved
out of cedar and both arms have seperated from the body at the
shoulder. There are small spike type things in each arm that have held
the arms in place. I'm curious to know the best method for gluing the
arms back on to minimise the apperance of the seam at the shoulder.
This image is close to the figure I have:
The problem with re-glueing is the residue of old glue left in the
joint. Even if you can get your new glue to stick to the old glue,
your bond is still only as strong as the old-glue-to-wood bond; and
that was the one that failed in the first place.
So, your first task is to get back down to bare wood on both surfaces
yet still keep a good joint without gaps. That may be nearly
impossible given the small size of your figure. I'd try gently
scraping the surfaces with a single edge razor blade or exacto knife.
If you can get to a point where you have bare wood on both mating
surfaces, then dry clamp it with rubber bands or something to figure
out how you're going to hold it in position while the glue dries. It's
not necessary to apply a lot of pressure as long as you can keep it in
contact without moving for 30 minutes or so. I'd use a regular wood
glue such as Titebond, or Elmer's Carpenter's Glue. You can wipe away
the squeeze-out with a damp rag before the glue dries.
"A bulldog can whip a skunk, but it's probably not worth it."
Your eBay ad doesn't mention that the arms have fallen off.....
Take an arm and very carefully place it back back in the position it was in
orginaly. Look at it carefully and find any irrugularities in the joint.
remove the arm and carefully use an emory board to sand out any old glue and
irruglarlities in the joint. when you have as tight a fit as you can get
glue it back in place with a good wood glue. the tightness and fit of the
joint are what will hid the joint not the glue (I like to use Elmers white
glue for this kind of repair) be sure to clean off any glue that leaks out
of the joint while the joint is wet (at this point I usually rub in fine
sawdust from the same type of wood). Be sure to clamp carefully and tightly
(this may take some creative clamping, I have had to hold some items by hand
for an hour to get them right,not much fun.) After 24 hours sand with fine
sand paper around the joint to clean up the joint and then use med sand
paper to lightly roughen the surface and give it a mat finish which will
further soften the look of the look of the joint and help hid it.(in this
case 100 grit is med) Good luck to do this right is slow work so don't get
in a rush.
I wouldn't use a glue that requires clamping (such as white or yellow
glue) for a repair like this.
The required clamping pressure for a good bond is 150 psi. I don't
think I could generate that pressure by hand for 5 seconds, let alone
an hour. (See titebond web page: http://tinyurl.com/w4yh2 )
I'd use a quick setting epoxy. People seem to be assuming that this is
a failed repair with glue in the joint. (I didn't see a joint in the
linked image.) If that's true then you should remove the old glue.
Since the epoxy is gap filling you could carve out the inside of the
joint slightly to remove old glue without worrying about the fit of the
joint, but leave the outside edge of the joint untouched for the best
fit where it counts. Use a clear epoxy and you should be able to get
a glue line that isn't terribly obvious. You can mix the epoxy with
wood dust if you have a gap at the glue line to fill.
Titebond may "recommend" 150 psi, but that sort of pressure is rarely
seen in woodworking, and would often produce poor joints if it were.
Even on edge-to-edge joints to make a panel, you'd have to apply a
clamp every few inches to apply that much pressure, and it would likely
bow the panel. How would you ever create the ELEVEN THOUSAND POUNDS of
pressure required to glue 10 inch discs together to make a bowl blank?
Here's an experiment for you to try. Take two boards about 3/4 thick
and something over a foot long with good straight edges. Secure one
board so that the long edge is up. Spread glue on that edge and slide
the edge of the other board back and forth a few times on the glue,
then let it sit with the second board resting on top of the first. No
clamps across the joint at all, just gravity holding the joint
together. Wait 24 hours and break the joint. Then come back and tell
me yellow glue needs 150 psi to hold the arms on a wooden statue of
"We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom
that is in it - and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down
on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid
again---and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold
one anymore." - Mark Twain
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