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Thread: What glue

  1. #1
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    What glue

    I have a job to do for a friend. He has an old cherry bed that belonged to his grandmother. Not sure exactly how old it is. All the glue joints have failed and needs to be took apart and re glued. What glue do you recommend for this? My concern is the old glue is still in the joints and not sure that regular wood glue would hold under theses conditions? Any other suggestions or advice would be appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by ken lutes View Post
    I have a job to do for a friend. He has an old cherry bed that belonged to his grandmother. Not sure exactly how old it is. All the glue joints have failed and needs to be took apart and re glued. What glue do you recommend for this? My concern is the old glue is still in the joints and not sure that regular wood glue would hold under theses conditions? Any other suggestions or advice would be appreciated.
    Since it's probably well over 50 years old, the glue joints are probably done with hide glue.

    One of the beauties of hide glue is that new hide glue will bond to/with old hide glue.

    I'd disassemble the joints, and remove as much of the old glue residue as you can - it'll be pretty much crystallized, and brittle, so it's fairly easy to remove. Don't worry about getting it all, though. Then, mix up a new batch of hot glue, or use Titebond of OBG liquid hide glue and reassemble. Clamp at least overnight, and you're done.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  3. #3
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    RE

    Thanks for the information. Sounds good.

  4. #4
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    Fifty years ago was only 1960. Alternative glues to hide glue have been available since about 1900 (casein was developed about then, and urea formaldehyde sometime before 1940).

    If the furniture was factory made after about 1910, it's unlikely you have hide glue. You can test it by heating the residue and see if it softens. If not, your best avenue is to remove as much of the glue residue as possible and use a modern glue.

    Mike

    [Urea formaldehyde glue will deteriorate over time and leave a surface that looks a lot like old hide glue.]
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 03-07-2010 at 04:56 AM.
    Ancora imparo
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  5. #5
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    For the most part, new glue does not stick to old glue. Do not fail to remove all of the old glue. Regluing failures occur when one assumes hide glue only to find that it is not. Second corollary: Unlike glues do not stick together. In other words, yellow glue does not stick to hide glue.

    Save yourself some embarrassment. Disassemble everything. Remove all the old glue and reglue with a modern, easily available, common wood glue. You will be happy because you only had to do the job once. You'll be happy because you did a good job. Your friend will be happy because his friend (you) did a good job.

    FWIW: Beds and chairs are the most abused pieces of furniture. They take lots of jolts in ordinary use. Use the appropriate cautions in building them and rebuilding them.

  6. #6
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    +1 on what Carol said.

    Mike
    Ancora imparo
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  7. #7
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    How is the best way to remove old glue? If you sand or scrape wont you wind up with loose fitting joints???????????

  8. #8
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    Scraping and sanding is the way to go. Likely you will get loose joints. What causes the joints to fail is wood shrinkage and compressed wood fibers due to usage.

    The fix can be multiple things. Make the holes smaller with veneers pieces or hand plan shavings is one way. Plug the hole and redrill, but that is pretty drastic. One of my favorites is to saw a thin kerf in the tenon. Then make a thin wedge and start it in the kerf. Apply glue and hammer or squeeze teh tenon home. The wedge spreads the ends of the tenon and locks the tenon into the hole. It is called a fox tail M&T. There are metal inserts sold for chair repairs. Same principle as the fox tail.

    Another way, if the style will permit it, is to drill a perpendicular hole to the mortise and a matching hole in the tenon. That hole needs to be slightly offset. drive in a dowel to drawn the tenon tight and lock the joint. That one is called a drift pin. You can use a contrasting dowel and create a design feature. If the style will not permit that, counter bore a larger hole a fraction deep, cut a face grain plug and glue in over the end of the locking dowel matching the grain as well as possible.

    There are probably more tricks to repair mortise and tenon joints, but this ought to get you started.

  9. #9
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    I can't add to the advice carol has already given just +1
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  10. #10
    I vote for Carol's recipe... As said, in the 60s White glue was all the craze and very popular in industry as well as home shops (yellow glue was just making the scene as it was more expensive) Old slow to modernize WWers were still using Hide glue but it is today's Retro WWers that think Hide is the panacia of adhesives.

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