Thursday, October 27, 2016

Borrowing Tools ( again )

Oh sure; I’ve got a couple,

I am neither a carpenter nor a furniture maker, this is not a how-to. But … several years ago Ellie and Loretta bought, for a song, an old, cute, wooden rocking chair at one of those discount places. It is a nice rocker. The arms are held up by 5 spindles, four equally spaced from the back of the chair, and a larger one more foreword.

Problem: the seat was cracked along the spindles holding up the right arm, from the edge of the seat near the back to in front of the larger front spindle. The right arm felt wiggly. With enough time and attention, the piece would have very likely broken off the seat entirely.

Though not a carpenter, I have glued wood. I even own some wood glue. And some C-clamps. I know wood should be clamped tightly when being glued and this application meant clamping across the width of the seat. This was not a job for my tool-set.

“Oh, come on,” Ellie said from Loretta’s. “You can use the C-clamps to clamp the seat. The gluing needs to be done and I’d like you to do it. Today.”

As said previously, I have learned it’s unwise to distrust Ellie’s instincts. I packed my glue, my clamps, and left.

I got out my tools. “I don’t see … ,” I began.

“Well, no you don’t,” she said. “You push the crack together … ( some magic happens ) … and viola! It’s clamped in place.”

I don’t remember exactly what she said, but her idea had not occurred to me. She suggested pushing the two pieces together, keeping the pieces pushed together with the inside edge of the C-clamp, and clamping the seat, on the other side of the crack, with the C-clamp.

View of Rocker Seat from front, showing the Crack

View of Rocker Seat from front, showing the Crack pushed together by the C-Clamp

Well … if I could push hard enough, and clamp tight enough, this might just work. I tried and it did. “See?” Ellie asked politely.

We used the chair. I was always a little more careful of the right arm than I might have been with any other chair in the world, but I did not treat it daintily. The chair survived.

Flash forward. Ellie’s been home six months and the chair, again needing gluing, has as well. It has been sitting in our not-overly-large dining room since Ellie returned. I had always believed that proper clamping would have garnered more permanent results than the job I had done.

“Are you planning on doing anything with the rocker?”

I thought of my neighbor and his chain saw … not to murder this chair but as a possible source of large clamps. He is very generous.

“Do you have any pipe clamps I could borrow?” I asked as our card game broke up. “I need to glue a chair seat.”

“Oh sure; I’ve got a couple,” he said and ran downstairs. He returned with two.

This happened weeks ago. I finally did the work. It took less time than I was afraid of ( it seems that all my projects take longer than anticipated … including writing a story for my blog ).
Chair, Clamped
An Up-Close Look at the Clamp
Near the Right-Front Spindle
The glue is currently drying. The instructions say clamp for
thirty-minutes, then leave alone for twenty-four hours. I’ll leave the chair clamped for the twenty-four hour leaving alone period.

I’ll let you know how this turns out.
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