I have a set of solid cherry spindle back chairs that were given to
me. After stripping them, I noticed that three of the seats, which
are made of 5 jointed pieces, are showing signs of glue failure at the
ends of the joints. I applied a few Besseys to see if the joint could
be closed before attempting to apply glue - the gap didn't budge.
Short of disassembling the entire chair and re-jointing the boards
that comprise the seat, is there anything I can do to prevent further
spreading of the joint, and cosmetically repair the gap.
The problem you outline isn't unusual. If you can't bring the components
back together with cramps for reglueing and you can't live with the gaps
then you'll have to fill them. If they're big gaps, then you might consider
cleaning them out , or even extending them a little and glueing in a
wedge-shaped fillet of the same wood, clouoring and finishing to match.
For smaller gaps, you could use shellac stick, which comes in various
colours which you can mix to obtain a good colour match. It's exactly the
same as sealing wax - you can chip bits off and mix them in a teaspoon over
a flame to get the colour you need, then pour it into the gap, or you can
use the stick with a soldering iron to fill the gap directly. Both methods
work well. You then use a sharp chisel to level down the repair and finish
off with fine wet-and-dry wrapped round a block to bring it flush.
Depending on the grit you use, you can match the finish on the repair with
that of the workpiece very closely, so you might not have to do any further
finishing over it, which is useful if you don't need to refinish the whole
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