Basic Repair

Repairs to furniture generally fall into one of two categories - cosmetic or structural. Cosmetic repairs involve damage to the finish and include scratches, burns and dents. Cosmetic repairs can range from something as simple as applying colored crayons to camouflage a small scratch, to more complicated repairs like using steam to raise a dent. For more information on how to repair damage to the finish of wood furniture, please refer to the Accidents heading of this section.

Structural repairs are generally loose joints that need to be re-glued, or broken parts that need to be repaired. Some repairs are as simple as tightening or replacing loose screws. For example, doors on cabinets that begin to sag probably need the screws tightened on the hinges. If that doesn't work, they may be stripped and the holes need to be redrilled or replaced with plastic or nylon inserts which expand when wood screws are driven into them to make a secure joint. Table and chair frames that become loose and begin to move may only need to have the blocks or bracing reinforced or tightened. Check bracing in the corners and tighten any loose screws or bolts. If this doesn't cure the problem, the joint may need to be re-glued.

To begin, you need to disassemble the joint properly. Use a rubber mallet and tap the joint loose. Never force the joint loose, but continue to tap with a rubber mallet and pull from right to left, never down. If the glue is extremely hard and the joint is difficult to seperate, you may try using steam to soften the glue. Place several layers of damp cloth or brown paper on the joint and touch with a warm iron. The steam should soften the glue and allow you to tap the joint loose. Scrape away the old glue using a chisel. Continue to scrape until all traces of the old glue have been removed. Apply new glue to surfaces and clamp together, making sure joints are square. Wipe excess glue away with a cloth or paper towel, and allow to dry overnight.

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