Drilling out the end of a broken spindle
Repairing the broken spindle with a dowel
Scraping finish with a razor blade
Gluing the undercarriage to a flat board to ensure it is also flat
The seat glue back together, finish applied. Tape went over the dowel holes to avoid ruining the glue surface.
The stamp on the bottom of the seat.
Glue Up and clamping
Spindles in place
In my basement is a chair that was originally part of a dining set my wife inherited from her grandparents. The dining set is nothing to write home about — the table is the sort of mid-century laminate crap sold that Sears probably sold in bulk and which everybody of a certain age has hiding in their basement.
Ironically, while the table was basically an MDF core with a laminate top, the chairs were solid of honest-to-goodness wood. The chair in question today is obviously not in our dining room, but in the basement — like I already said — and I use it when I fold laundry. Fun fact: in addition to building things out of wood, and making things out of leather, and being an attorney in my day job, I also do the dishes at my house, and fold the laundry. To be fair, my wife does the lion’s share of the cooking, and that’s the way we’ve divided our labor.
But I digress.
Despite the chair being better built than the table, it’s old, exposed in general to the damp — we live in an old house and while I keep the chair out of water, and keep dehumidifiers going, damp finds a way. Which means one of the glue joints on the seat failed.
Naturally, when I disassembled the chair to glue the seat back together, one of the legs de-laminated, coming apart vertically right up the middle at the glue joint. Then, another glue joint in the seat failed. Though a bit annoying to have a repair job actually seem to cause more damage — in a sense — it was perfect timing for things to come apart, that way I could fix it all.
You could call what I did a half-repair/half-restoration. Which means I only did what was necessary to put it back together, and refinish the most important part — the seat.
I started by pulling the chair completely apart, labeling the pieces as I did so it’d go back together the way it was meant to. Next, I cleaned the glue joints, and sanded the finish off the seat — the finish had basically failed anyway, so this had to be done and really didn’t take much time.
After that, I glued the seat back together, pre-applied finish, glued the leg back together, and reassembled the chair — all with Titebond III, for moisture resistance. One note about refinishing the seat is that, because the old finish was tinted, when I sanded it away I found a blonde wood underneath, and thought it looked better, so kept it.
Either way, the chair is now as solid as it was new, and if I’m luck might last several more decades before needing further attention. Which is a satisfying thing to say, even for a piece of furniture that is only every used in the basement for folding laundry,