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Can This Chair Be Saved?

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  • Can This Chair Be Saved?

    A friend of mine has this old chair. The back of it is just an oval shaped hoop of wood with the padded back slung in the middle.  There is no other structural members to the back other than the wooden hoop itself. That hoop has broken clear in half, about 3/4 of the way up.  The breaks are completely through, the only thing holding this back together is the padding.  The back side of one of the breaks is not very clean at all.  In fact, it's more like the wood shattered.  

    My friend asked me to take a look at it and see if it could be repaired.  It's not a sentimental chair, and they really don't want to put a bunch of money into it.  This would be more like a quick repair as a favour for a friend. 

    Looking at it, I don't think it can be saved.  Even if I could find a way to clamp the pieces back together tight (which so far I can't figure out how I'd clamp it - the angles are just all off), I just don't think even a good glue bond would be enough.  It would be an end grain glue joint, and one of those end grains is all shattered as well!  

    So I'm thinking I should give my friend the bad news, but before I did I thought I would check here and see if anyone had any great ideas.

    So what do you say: can it be saved?

    Thanks!

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  • #2

    Re: Can This Chair Be Saved?

    I think you know the answer Run away.

    If they want this fixed it is a time consuming hence expensive repair.  There is no way around or cheat for this.   
    Darrell likes this.
    Mark
    www.masterfinishing.ca

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    • #3

      Re: Can This Chair Be Saved?

      Get some glue in the break and. Use a couple of screws to hold it together.
      Wood Grower likes this.
      Egon
      from
      The South Shore, Nova Scotia

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      • #4

        Re: Can This Chair Be Saved?

        If you are repairing it to make a profit I would agree with Mark, if you are doing a favor for a friend with the understanding that you will do the best you can and can't guarantee the results and your up for a challenge I'd say go for it. If your not familiar with Thomas Johnson Antique Furniture Restoration, you should check out his videos on Youtube. Agree, clamping will be a challenge, he has a video on clamping techniques which might help. He often uses band clamps, temporary blocks glued on to facilitate clamping etc. If you can get it glued together and are concerned about the strength of the joint he often uses a jig to route a slot in the joint after glue up and then glue in a reinforcement spline or tenon. https://www.youtube.com/c/ThomasJohn...oration/videos

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        • #5

          Re: Can This Chair Be Saved?

          Use a hand grinder to grind a groove in the back of the hoop across the break, about 3" on either side of the break. Jigsaw out a piece of wood to go in the groove. Take it apart, fill all the breaks and groove and the filler piece with construction adhesive (LePages PL Premium) and then clamp it until it's cured. Sand it off and if a few screws thru' the infill piece into the hoop is possible, then do that too. Not pretty but it will work.

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          • #6

            Re: Can This Chair Be Saved?

            it looks like it's been glued at least once already. If you want to repair it I would take the upostry off take the top off clean down to bare wood and reglue with a dowel and use a band clamp
            Les Groeller likes this.
            Jerome
            Canada's South Coast

            Port Colborne On.
            CARPENTER noun. (car-pun-ter)
            ) A person who solves problems you can't.
            2) One who does precision guesswork based on unreliable data, provided by those of questionable knowledge. see also: wizard, magician.

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            • #7

              Re: Can This Chair Be Saved?

              Originally posted by Jerome View Post
              it looks like it's been glued at least once already. If you want to repair it I would take the upostry off take the top off clean down to bare wood and reglue with a dowel and use a band clamp
              Last edited by Mark in Burlington; 09-08-2020, 11:26 PM.
              sigpicToday's mighty oak is just yesterday's nut, that held its ground.

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              • #8

                Re: Can This Chair Be Saved?

                Originally posted by callee View Post
                It's not a sentimental chair, and they really don't want to put a bunch of money into it.
                I think it is this sentence that illustrates why most of the replies are for patches and are not concerned a whole lot with appearance. The chair owner doesn't care about it enough to pay for it.

                 
                stotto, WoodBob and KenL like this.

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                • #9

                  Re: Can This Chair Be Saved?

                  Thanks for the replies, guys.  I think it does confirm what I was thinking.  The only possible repair would be quite involved - more than a few billable hours in any case.  I don't think that's in the budget here.   It's not that the owner doesn't care, I should explain though - it's not personal, it's business! . The owner is a photographer and this is just one of the props they use.  Investing a few hundred dollars in a prop whose occasional use could never produce enough revenue to justify that expense.... Well, that's just not sound business.  

                  If there was a repair method that would be safe and effective but only take an hour or two, then I would have happily done it and just written off the time as a favour for a friend. But writing off more hours than that is not sound business for me either.  

                  So I suspect this chair has taken its last picture. 

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                  • #10

                    Re: Can This Chair Be Saved?

                    As a prop it does not need to look good from the back and that changes everything from a quick and dirty repair perspective. A steel plate screwed across the break would not be visible and it becomes a matter of colour matching the filler in front.
                    Les Groeller, and like this.

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                    • #11

                      Re: Can This Chair Be Saved?

                      They could probably find a Louis XVI style chair at an antique or repro store for under $200. 

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                      • #12

                        Re: Can This Chair Be Saved?

                        Originally posted by iamtooler View Post
                        As a prop it does not need to look good from the back and that changes everything from a quick and dirty repair perspective. A steel plate screwed across the break would not be visible and it becomes a matter of colour matching the filler in front.
                        That's a good point, I'll check on that.  Though she is a uncovenentional photographer, so I'm not sure the chair would always be used facing forwards, but definitely worth checking.

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                        • #13

                          Re: Can This Chair Be Saved?

                          I've done a similar repair on a chair leg using dowels. I'd give it a try if it's a "have nothing to lose" situation (ie: the chair gets otherwise scrapped). The dowel would need to go at least an inch and a half into undamaged wood on either side. Getting the dowel holes to align would be a challenge, even with a dowelling jig.
                          Happiness is a new blade!

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                          • #14

                            Re: Can This Chair Be Saved?

                            I did a repair to a circular mirror, effectively a big hoop frame. I joined the face of the frame as best I could and then routed out a groove in the back and used a steel rod sunk in epoxy, once the epoxy dried I laid in a wood insert in the back that was stained and colored to match the rest of the frame. I know a mirror will not take the same stress as a chair but I think the repair would be strong enough to support whatever is required (as a prop) and it was not all that time consuming.

                            Vince

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                            • #15

                              Re: Can This Chair Be Saved?

                              Another method may be to use a vibrating tool with saw blade to cut a slot through both pieces and then insert a 16 gauge or so strip of metal. Use some screws to hold it all together.
                              Egon
                              from
                              The South Shore, Nova Scotia

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