Thread: Mid-century lounge repair
11th Nov 2019, 07:41 PM #1New Member
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- Oct 2016
Mid-century lounge repair
A few months ago I bought a really nice old 3-piece lounge setting off gumtree to restore. The seller had purchased it at a garage sale from a mid-century house some years ago and mentioned that the owner had commissioned a lot of the furniture for the house to fit the style, so I belive this was built way back by a local furnituremaker.
I'm not sure what species of wood this is - it's got an open grain structure and doesn't seem to be particularly dense, as it's not a very heavy piece of furniture. Judging by the colour and location (SE QLD) I thought perhaps it may be blackbean?
At any rate, one of the legs on the largest couch (3-seater) has split. While pulling it apart, I noticed there are a few cracks and nails from previous repairs. The grain direction is running in the same direction as the force from the chair, so there is little surprise that this joint has failed multiple times:
On the presentation side of the joint there are some thin strips that were glued and nailed on - I am guessing after the chair started to crack and fall apart to try and add some rigidity to the joint
I'm looking for a more permanent solution for this, I am thinking of drilling a few holes perpendicular to the grain and driving a hardwood dowel through the joint to help support the load across to where the grain runs the full length before clamping and gluing the joint back together, but I would need to be absolutely bang on either side for the joint to close back up properly. Was wondering if anybody had any suggestions or tips on how I might approach repairing this?
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11th Nov 2019, 10:27 PM #2
Take it apart . Clean and wash out any Hide glue . It looks like Hide glue in the original joints . Check whats in the repairs . wash or scrape it off if it wont wash off with hot water and care . Dry it all off and let it sit in a sunny spot a few days . Carefully glue it all back with two pack . I use Techniglue . Don't add a dowel , It just makes things worse. It doesn't look like a great design for strength . You need a good strong glue and accurate clamping technique.
11th Nov 2019, 11:07 PM #3
You're right about why it failed. Without a substantial tenon going across grain, that is prone to fracture like you have here. Just gluing the pieces back together will not solve that problem without other mechanical reinforcement, particularly as it is now compromised.
I respectfully disagree with Rob. Dowels across grain would -- in my opinion -- help to reinforce it. Just to further clarify what I mean by that. I am not talking about the softwood dowels used in typical cabinet construction. I am talking about a substantial hardwood dowel. I have used this technique on a number of occasions to reinforce a short grain section.
A better option would be to use a slot mortiser to cut a long slot in both pieces and place a hardwood floating tenon across the break across the grain. By cutting the slot a little longer and referencing the cut from the same face, it is quite a bit more forgiving than dowels.
Slot mortisers are not a common tool however, but I have one. If you are in Brisbane or nearby, I could cut that joint for you then leave you with the rest of the restoration.
Send me a private message if I can assist you.
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