I have a bit of a dilemma. We have an oak dining chair with a broken
hard-carved front leg. It is an antique and we would like to repair it
so we can continue using it. The problem is the grain runs diagonally
to the floor where the leg broke which will make clamping it a bit
tough. Does anyone have any reccomendations for glue/epoxy to hold the
leg together? What about using a pin or dowel in both faces of the
break to help hold the joint together?
Thanks in advance.
On 20 Apr 2004 13:38:27 -0700, email@example.com (LarryB) wrote:
We have my wife's grandmother's dining chairs. I've done a fair bit
of building and fixing, but these have special value. I don't want to
tell you what we paid to have them done professionally, but will tell
you it was worth every penny. Depending on how much you value the
chair, I'd take a penny's worth of advice and go to the people who do
it all the time, and do it well. We see no flaws, restained even, and
solid as a rock. I'm building stuff I can do well to pay for the
I'd second Danny Boy's observations. If the piece is valuable to you, then
don't use it to practice your restoration techniques. Give it to a pro.
If you don't value it that much, then keep in mind the principle that you
shouldn't do anything which can't be undone by an expert at a later date -
ie don't use epoxy etc.
And you shouldn't use techniques which are inappropriate - ie stuff like
biscuits, angle plates etc.
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If you have two pieces that aren't still attached at all, so that you
could rub them into a proper fit. I'd recommend hide glue.
Not liquid hide glue, but the old timey stuff from rabbit skin and
blood. It cures to about 50% in about a minute.
What that means is you can glue with no clamping other than your
Understand though that hide glue is NOT a good gap filler. It needs
a tight fit. So if your pieces are in such condition that you can
nestle them tightly back together with out lots of slop... it'll work
The glue is mixed with water and heated to thickish consistently then
applied lightly to both pieces... hot. When you settle the pieces
into place, apply hand pressure for as long as you can stand it. But a
minute is enough.
Then put the piece out of harms way for about 24 hrs. When you break
a hide glued joint, it always pulls wood from both sides, so hide
glue is as strong or stronger than the wood.
I definitely recommend you read up on hide glue use first and
practice at least twice on similar wood. Its really not hard to mix
and use though. Needs to be about 140 F. when applied.
It can be obtained at woodcraft.com on line, or Garrett Wade.
Probably lots of other supply houses... Make sure you get the dry
granular kind. A more modern variety called `liquid hide glue' lacks
the quick partial cure property.
Once you've gotten on to how it works, you'll be using it for lots of
If the break is not like iscarf joint then you will need some long pin to
provide inner strength. A dowel is not long enough. Threaded metal rod is
good. Use a gap filling glue like SystemThree T-88 and you will be OK.
Someone suggested animal hide glue for a break like this. That is the wrong
adhesive for repairs of this type. It is the right adhesive for assembly, not
for repairing broken wood. Pin the legparts just the way that a bone doctor
would pin your broken bones.
The grain you are describing is called "short grain".
The following webpage will give you an overview of the kind of reapir you
want to perform:
My suggestion, as the grain runs diagonally you are probably worried that
lateral clamping will cause the joint to slip longitudinally. To prevent
this apply a clamp end to end ,clean the break thoroughly, glue with
titebond or the equivalent and clamp laterally .
As these glues are as strong as the the parent wood if you get a good joint
everything should be fine and no dowels or the like will be
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