My mother has an old rocking chair that creaks. A couple years ago I
took it apart with vinegar and reglued it with "carpenter's glue", the
yellow stuff that comes in a squeeze bottle. It was okay for a while,
but has started creaking again.
I am thinking to take it apart again and shim the joints with shavings
from a plane as the wood has shrunk, then glue it up again.
The chair is quite old, probably an antique of some sort, and I would
rather not drill and screw it.
Is there anything I should do differently? Any glue that would be
On Mon, 12 Jan 2004 09:12:52 -0500, "Mark Hopkins"
A foxed blind tenon ?
Not only is this hard to do (it's quite a crucial adjustment to get
the length and thickness right), I would _never_ do this to a chair.
Foxed tenons are impossible to dismantle without taking a crowbar to
them (the best way is to saw the tenon off cleanly, then destroy the
stub with a chisel). As any good chair will need its tenons servicing
several times in its lifetime, then this is just delaying the
inevitable. A poor chair won't last long enough to need repair, but
neither is it worth the trouble of a blind wedged tenon. A good chair
deserves a construction that will see out the century, not a bodged
repair that will probably be unrepairable.
Do whales have krillfiles ?
I tried just about all the 'cures' that have been proposed . . . yet a pair
of 'Captains' Chairs still kept pulling apart. We use them in the kitchen,
and a combination of smooth floor and my 'lead ass', seems to prove several
mechanical 'Rules'. These same 'directional forces' may be contributing to
I can understand not wanting to do anything that will be visible. However,
is the main use of the rocker as an 'heirloom/museum piece', or as something
that your mother wants to USE? What I did was to use Round Head Marine
Bronze wood screws inserted through the 'uprights' and into the ends of the
spindles, to 'back-up the glue. After a very short time, they developed a
nice patina and blended in with the original finish. If I had to, it would
be simply enough to back them out, and plug the small holes.
Regards & Good Luck,
First - do no damage as you already know. Your idea of wrapping a shaving
around the tennon is good. Remove all the old glue from the mortises and
tennons and dry fit. Use your shims as needed to get a good pressure fit.
Use Hide Glue (Franklin's) as it will remain flexible and is totally
reversible 50 years from now.
As you've already found out, the PVA glue was short-lived. Using epoxy is
not a good idea since it dries rock hard and the joint will fail eventually.
The rocker was probably designed so that when the base is put together,
every joint is under tension - as it should be. Someone sitting in the
rocker and using it, places the joints under more tension and essentially
locking them in even tighter - but wood shrinks and expands and the glue
that holds them must do the same. Hide glue is time honored, has worked for
several hundred years and was probably the original glue that the chair was
assembled with. Use it again.
A fix that is not in the fine woodworking class, but works great are thin
strips of metal that look like a rasp. They are available at hardware
stores. You put it over the tenon and then assemble. I have used them on
some old kitchen chairs and they have held up for years. You can't see
them if you trim them to the correct size.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.