Tips for Regluing Shaker Chairs
Follow the following steps to reglue a Shaker chair.
- Disassemble the loose joints. A rubber mallet is helpful here.
- Lightly sand the tenons (on slats and rungs) to remove dried glue residue.
- Remove dried glue from the bottom of the holes that the tenons fit into. Use a small chisel. Wear eye protection – glue chips can fly out.
- Dip the tenons into warm water. This raises the grain, opens the pores of the wood, and swells the tenon slightly to help ensure a good glue bond when reassembling.
- Use a Q-Tip (cotton swab) to wet the walls of the holes with warm water. For same reason as step 4.
- Let the tenons and holes dry completely.
- Reglue the chair. When regluing the chair, apply an even coat of wood glue (Franklin Titebond or Elmer’s Carpenter’s glues are recommended) to the walls of the holes using a small dowel or small brush. Do not apply glue to the tenons because they may swell and make reassembly more difficult. Do not apply too much glue, because it will pool in the bottom of the hole and may prevent the tenon from going all the way in.
- If the tenons are very loose in the holes, you will have to use a glue with good gap filling properties to make a lasting repair. In this case use an epoxy glue to reglue the chair.
- If a joint is loose, but cannot be taken completely apart without danger of breaking the parts, sometimes a product such as “Chair-Loc” can be worked into the joint more easily than glue. These products swell the wood to lock the joint, and can often be useful in chair repair. They are available at most hardware stores in the glue section.
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