Best Adhesive And Filler For Fixing Old Dovetails?

I need to repair a couple of drawers that have dried out dovetail joints. 2 drawers, maybe 16 pins.
I don't need anything like a full West Systems kit of epoxy and filler, but I need something other than straight wood glue to fill in the gaps.
I could try wood glue and sawdust, but I'm wondering if there is something better/neater.
Thanks.
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On Saturday, February 23, 2019 at 9:27:21 PM UTC-6, DerbyDad03 wrote:

If it were me, I, like you, would not go the West System, because you have to buy way more than you need I would use a quality epoxy (almost any quality brand) as its the best at both adhesion and gap filling.
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On Sunday, February 24, 2019 at 6:28:55 AM UTC-5, Dr. Deb wrote:

The "way more" is exactly what I'm trying to avoid. ;-)
Back in my Soap Box Derby days I was buying the stuff by the gallon. I had pumps, mixers, rollers, different kinds of filler, etc. Just don't need it anymore.
I thought I kept some filler when I tossed all the old liquids, but I can't find it. I just need a little bit.
There's lots of West Systems products built into this bad boy.
https://i.imgur.com/xn31rqn.jpg
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On Saturday, February 23, 2019 at 7:27:21 PM UTC-8, DerbyDad03 wrote:

Hide glue, when old, turns to dust; the deterioration is the result of (according to lore) a slow-acting fungus.
That doesn't loosen the wood, though; disassemble, brush away the dust, rinse with boiling water, and reapply hide glue. It'll stick fine, even if the old glue doesn't completely come off.
Oher similar joints in that piece are also liable to need work.
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On Sunday, February 24, 2019 at 6:36:45 AM UTC-5, whit3rd wrote:

Something did:
https://i.imgur.com/6qk7GxW.jpg

Will hide glues fill those gaps?

Just some split grooves along some rails and one glue joint that opened up. Already repaired. See my other thread about this piece, entitled:
"Back Panels On Desk - Cutting Error, Modification or Design Feature?"
More pictures there.
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On 2/23/2019 9:27 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

Make shims for the pins to fill if they've shrunk, don't just try to fill. Pictures would help...
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On Sunday, February 24, 2019 at 8:48:11 AM UTC-5, dpb wrote:

This is the worst of the 2 drawers. The other one can probably be fixed with just glue.
https://i.imgur.com/6qk7GxW.jpg
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On 2/24/2019 10:01 AM, DerbyDad03 wrote: ...

That's basically the way those fit from new; you'll do more damage messing with them than you'll fix. Leave 'em alone.
$0.20, imo, ymmv, etc., etc, etc., ...
If the drawer sides will disassemble easily, then just reglue and go on. That one on the LHS was miscut initially by tracking wrong side of the line w/ the sawcut.
As another noted, if this is pretty old and you can tell, reuse hide glue so don't do anything irreversible.
--




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On Sunday, February 24, 2019 at 11:08:16 AM UTC-5, dpb wrote:

Unfortunately, I can't leave them alone. The previous image was when I was squeezing the joint tight to show the gaps. This shows that it's completely unglued.
https://i.imgur.com/A0Mkzv5.jpg
As far as disassembly, that may be the best I can/want to do. The joints on the back of the drawer are solid. I might be able to loosen up the other side and get the whole front off, but they somehow attached the track on the bottom (that rides along the center rail) to the drawer bottom and front. The track may be glued into a groove on the drawer front.
Further investigation is required.

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On 2/24/2019 10:24 AM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

...
Far better picture for the purpose...that shows the end of the tail on RH is split from the drawer side and stuck in the front.
The gum being pretty soft has compressed some; the dovetail angles weren't sharp-enough for the softer wood. Can't do much about those problems now unless going to completely recut both.
This does show there is room for some shim material to refit the tails to their sockets; the way one does this is to glue a piece of veneer or the like to the tail then re-machine back down to the needed size--basically it's _verysharp_ chisel/handwork time.
Ideally you could retrieve the broken tail piece from where it is and reglue it before reassembling rather than just try to glue the break in situ.
Whatever you do, don't just start dribbling epoxy or the like all over everywhere.
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On 2/24/2019 10:49 AM, dpb wrote: ...

...
The LH side of the RH pin is almost dead-straight, almost no angle at all...if I could get it apart, I'd be strongly tempted to recut that socket to have an angle matching the RH (broken) side and add the stock to the pin to match.
The second-from-left is also almost perfectly straight with what is left of the pin--looks like there may be some missing material there as well. That socket is pretty good in dimension, making a new pin to fit if very will would be a goal.
Can't tell for sure about the leftmost one, there's the glueline of the side material right at the point where the pin is cut; it looks again like there's some missing material there that split off either orignally, even, maybe or has since broken and looks to be gone. There's that little triangular broken piece on the drawer front; back where it began if there's enough to reglue it and would have a decent socket angle there.
The middle just needs a little extra material to fill in the space...
It's tedious work at best, unfortunately. I did something similar to drawers on the work clothes dresser in the basement a few years ago...they were in far worse shape and ended up ripping down the side of the drawer and replacing the bottom 1" or so with new pins cut to match.
They had had nails and other hardware inserted over the years that had really split and sundered pieces--you at least have (mostly) intact starting point. The soft gum with the shallow angle is the major issue of why they failed.
--


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On 2/24/2019 11:07 AM, dpb wrote: ...

Sorry picture w/ cell phone but...
<https://imgur.com/a/Rz0s6BI
The bottom you can see I replaced entirely because the soft pine had worn down so badly over the years the drawers would barely function at all...doesn't look like those are so badly worn.
The gap showing in the drawer at bottom is the groove for drawer bottom; they were cut through. You can see the material added to the bottom of the third pin.
I didn't take exquisite care here but the fit wasn't much better than yours when I started...now they are tight, no nails, no epoxy, no filler...
It's somewhat tedious hand work but really not _that_ difficult.
--



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On 2/25/2019 5:14 PM, dpb wrote: ...

But I can assure you'll have a _great_ feeling of reward/accomplishment when done! :)
--


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On 2/25/2019 5:14 PM, dpb wrote: ...

Actually, the recollection now arises (it's been 10+ yr now) that the sides had worn to the point the groove for bottom panels had morphed into a rabbet as there was so little material left the bottom edge had broken off, dropping the bottoms out of the drawers...hence my using the oak for the new pieces.
--


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On Thursday, February 28, 2019 at 9:46:29 AM UTC-5, dpb wrote:

There is virtually no wear on the drawers. Here's the drawer itself...
https://i.imgur.com/QuxSAmL.jpg
...and here's the desk:
https://i.imgur.com/ee2rtX0.jpg
Note the thumbtacks(?) that were used as glides. Original? Don't know, but I'll bet they helped keep the bottom of the drawer sides from wearing.
I also found that all of the center rails were screwed in at the front but floating at the rear - although they all had nail holes at the rear. Just as a test, I tried putting a tack at the rear of a couple of the rails, making sure I hit the original hole in the carcass of the desk, but all that did was make the drawers bind. They are back to floating and the drawers work as smooth as can be. At least they do while empty, I haven't tried them loaded.
Back to the drawers: If you look closely you'll see that the bottom of the back panel is beveled to allow for easier insertion into the carcass. That's a nice touch.
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On 2/28/2019 3:54 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

Those "buttons" were fairly common but I've not seen a source for them in years...I'd be pretty certain they are original. They're heavier than just a thumbtack head but very similar and your presumption on purpose and effect is spot on...
The angled rear reduces drag quite a bit and ensures don't hit any catches at the rear cross rail joints if the move just a little. Indeed a nice touch but not totally unique ime; I've seen similar before.
All it takes is the tiniest of movement to throw the carcase or drawer out of square or not get them _quite_ aligned and pinning the slide can easily cause the binding symptom. Need to be able to have the drawer in place and locate the neutral position for the slide and then pin it there to avoid. Leaving free if the slide fits the matching groove reasonably well and the drawer pockets are snug enough the drawer doesn't get off-kilter is the simple expedient...looks like started out pinned and somebody took them out at some point...
--




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On Thursday, February 28, 2019 at 5:22:54 PM UTC-5, dpb wrote:

While I had the back open, I played with the slides a bit and have decided to agree with whoever decided to take the pins out.
Speaking of having the back off, take a look at this thread when you have a chance. That thread is about the back panels of this piece. Another curiosity on my part.
Back Panels On Desk - Cutting Error, Modification or Design Feature?
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On Thursday, February 28, 2019 at 6:25:00 PM UTC-6, DerbyDad03 wrote:

How deep are the drawers compared to how deep the carcass cavity is? If t here is some carcass space (1"?) at the rear, maybe there were vertical boa rds along the back (side) edges, that the back panel attached to, rather th an their attaching to the sides of the carcass. I don't see any nail/scre w holes to support this idea, but maybe the vertical board attachment evide nce are somewhere unseen in your pic. https://imgur.com/0bXFzQJ
Sonny
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On 3/1/2019 6:40 AM, Sonny wrote:

What's wrong with some quarter round strips glued in the corners?
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On Friday, March 1, 2019 at 11:15:28 AM UTC-5, gray_wolf wrote:

ave

If there is some carcass space (1"?) at the rear, maybe there were vertical boards along the back (side) edges, that the back panel attached to, rathe r than their attaching to the sides of the carcass. I don't see any nail/ screw holes to support this idea, but maybe the vertical board attachment e vidence are somewhere unseen in your pic.

There's nothing wrong with that idea, assuming I needed an idea. ;-)
There's nothing that needs to be fixed re: the back panels. It was just a curiosity about the way they are attached.
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