Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Rocking Chair Repair
Here's another old furniture repair post, and also a lesson on the importance of grain direction.
This old rocker had a broken runner:
A closer look revealed how the sawn runner split down the grain. If the runners had been bent, with continuous grain, this couldn't have happened.
I didn't need to disassemble the chair; it was easy enough to loosen the screws and rotate the broken parts to get at the surfaces needing glue. The brown fuzzy strip is adhesive backed felt to protect the bamboo floor.
Here's the clamp swarm holding things put after glueing:
The glue probably would have been enough, but just to be sure I removed some of the felt and drove two finish screws across the joint. To insure that the screws pulled everything tight, I bored two different size pilot holes. First I drilled a small pilot hole (the size of the screw's shank) the full depth of the screw, and then bored a larger hole (the size of the threads) just as deep as the break. This way, the clamping effect was between the threads of the lower part and the head of the screw.
To replace the felt, I squished the new felt with clamps until it was the same thickness as the older felt. Although I am confident this repair will hold, I didn't want to tempt fate by putting a lump right under it. Confident is confident, but safer is better.
Oh, and although I already pointed out that bent runners would not have failed this way, I also concede the point that these sawn runners lasted almost 100 years. So there you go...