I'm wondering if the experts can help me with suggestion to repair a chair
which I posted for view in the following link....
As you can see, there are several repairs needed. The two cross braces under
the chair which are completely split and the main back support brace where
it attaches through the seat.
I can only think of two options available for the lower cross braces. Option
1) Repair with a good bonding agent, sand, wood fill if needed, sand and
finish or something along those lines. Option 2) make a new one with a
lathe, which I don't have, but have considered purchasing and use this
opportunity to start practicing.
The main back support brace is something I'm not sure how to approach
without needing to make another and bending, which I have no experience in
doing. As you can see where the screw is sticking out, the smaller
end/nipple is no longer there to be supported in the hole which is where I'm
stumped on how to approach.
The chair has been in my wife's family for years and I would really like to
help them keep it with good repairs.
Option 1 should work fine. Use epoxy and thicken the epoxy with something
like Cab-o-Sil or micro-balloons. Or even fine wood dust. You need to
thicken the epoxy to the point of being about like Vaseline and the reason
is to fill areas that are an imperfect match.
No need to make a new one, repair the old.
1. Drill/clean out the hole where the support was.
2. Make a short new piece to fit the hole. Make part of it round for the
hole but leave a couple of additional inches square. Shape the square part
to match the existing square part and cut a vertical half lap in it.
3.Dry fit the new part in the hole and use it to determine where to cut a
matching half lap in the existing piece.
4. Glue the new piece into the hole and glue the half laps together
- ALTERNATIVELY -
1. Clean out the hole and glue in a new piece, cutting it flush with the
2. Position the broken brace and - from the bottom - drill into it through
the new piece. Make the hole about 1/2 the diameter of the new piece and
drill into the broken piece about an inch.
3. Glue in an appropriately sized dowel.
Note: Spindles such as those in your chair get a lot of pressure. The glue
in the holes gets old. The combination of the two is what gets them loose
or broken. Screws going lengthwise into the spindle don't do much good
because they are going into the end grain of the spindle. A better way to
fasten them is to use a horizontal pin drilling through them from the back
of the seat. That pin can be a piece of brass rod - 1/8" is plenty - a wood
dowel or even a nail.
Wow someone has really inflicted some violence on this chair.
Careful dissasembly as needed.
Use dowels and system 3 T88 epoxy. At each broken joint drill holes
into either side use a dowel to rejoin. Epoxy can be used to fill some
gaps. Wood putty can do the rest later. For places like the seat,
first epoxy in a new plug. Then drill in a dowel to the seat and post.
If they don't care too much about original finish, scuff the whole
thing, paint with black milk paint. Then sand lots of edges to show
through to under coat and to wood in some places. Then over coat with
shellac or satin wiping poly. Then wax and buff.
You could to Option 2, but only if you 1)have the patience of Job and/or
2)are willing to accept something less than "sterling." This being a
herloom piece, I don't think this is an option. Reparing the stretchers is
really very straight forward, especially with a high quality glue (such as
There are multiple problems here. Someone, (Who, you should never try to
find out as you will never look at them the same way again) tried to fix a
loose through tenon with a sheet metal screw. This person was definitely
NOT a woodworker. Here is what I would do:
Since the back is now loose from the seat, you have a "leg up" on the
project, as you do not have to remove it. Have a friend turn a piece to fit
the through hole in the seat and leave the top square, as DadOH suggested.,
But instead of a half lap joint, I would use a bridle joint, with the joint
running across rather than toward the front, that way you get support from
the joint rather than the glue having to hold all the weight of the person
leaning against the back. I would also put a "kerf cut" on the tenon and
drive a wedge up into it to secure it firmly in place. If you have a ream,
you could taper the hole a bit to the bottom to give the wedge more room to
work (that would also remove the old glue in the hole and give you a firmer
surface to glue to).
Also, when you put the back together, make sure you clean all the glue off
the mating surfaces and use a glue that has extremely good gap fill
qualities. Because when you remove the glue, you are going to loosen the
spindles in the holes. If those joints ever start to flex, the back will be
Bottom line, it is not going to be an extremely difficult project, but you
will want to take your time and do your research before you make any cuts.
I love this line, its what seperates you from the "Individual" who put the
sheet metal screws in the tenons.
All the best.
Before you start, understand the fact that since you had to ask means
you do not have the skills to do the job properly, and I see nothing in
the advice thus far that will magically overcome that.
AAMOF, looking back over the thread everything I see as a fix is, IMO,
either going to get you in trouble and/or put you back in worse shape
the next time there is a problem, and probably sooner rather than later.
Is the chair valuable enough to the family that you don't want to
practice on it?
If the answer is "Yes", take it to someone who knows what they are doing
with this particular type of chair and have them give you an estimate
before you begin your chair restoration career with this beautiful chair.
There is nothing that I see that should be extraordinarily expensive to
fix for someone with the expertise, in fact, almost all the fixes are
very simple and straight forward it you have the experience and tools.
If the answer is "No", have at it, but think as hard as you can about
coming up with fixes that use nothing but hide glue if you want the
chair to be fixable again in the future.
I thought about that (i.e., lack of skill) but with all the other stuff I
was tossing his way, thought it might be seen as condesension. But you are
absolutely right. If Justing does not feel his skills are up to the task,
get someone else to do it. Better than than a muffed job.
Asking for differing approaches/suggestions doesn't hinder my ability to
accomplish those suggestions. I simply don't always think of varying methods
to resolve an issue. Therefore, I can assure you, from experience, I am very
confident in my abilities to comprehend and apply solutions within many
categories of life's projects. I have a vast resume' of successful repairs
within my past and with many, I had basic ideas how to approach but better
suggestions were made or I simply dived into the project and learned as I
went. But thanks for the concern.
With all the "successful repairs within your past", and despite the fact
that you ask for help, in a newsgroup where you can't tell an expert
from a troll, we'll definitely be waiting to hear back on your own "vast
resume' of solutions for this chair.
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