Our most common repair is the regluing of chair bases. When one joint becomes loose, the stress placed on the other joints increases, and soon all of the joints are loose, or worse yet, something breaks. The best bet is to reglue the base before this occurs.
Chairs with wooden seats normally have legs that attach directly to the seat, with stretchers between each of the legs. When these legs get loose they compress the end of the leg inside the seat, and open up the dowel holes they go into. If glue is simply injected into the hole surrounding the leg, the repair will last only a short time. A process called blind wedging must be used to resize the leg in the hole.
Chairs with fabric seats generally have aprons that the legs are doweled into. Again, as the leg moves, the dowels become deformed and weak. The only solution is to replace all the dowels with oversize dowels, flat sand the aprons where they meet the legs, and realign the glue blocks.
While we still use hide glues in our Mpls./St. Paul and Chicago shops, in Denver the increased elasticity of aliphatic resin glues is needed. Although not quite as strong as the hide glues, these newer glues are able to cope with the wood movement caused by our Denver climate.
Almost every repair is followed by some degree of touch up to hide the repair. In the case of laminations, where new wood is grafted into old, the touch up can be more time consuming than the repair itself. In a few instances, the best route is to refinish the repaired section or the entire piece complete.