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Digital Subscriptions > Cottage Life > Aug/Sept 2019 > JOB JAR RESTORE A VINTAGE CHAIR


Whose cottage doesn’t have an old chair with wobbly joints? Let’s look at a simple strategy for restoring structural stability. Until the mid-20th century, animal-based glue was widely used for woodworking. Unfortunately, it breaks down over time, becoming powdery and losing grip. With the advent of synthetic glues, this is no longer a problem; now it’s just poor construction and abuse that weakens chairs.—S.L.

To fix a rickety chair, assess which components are loose by gripping the chair sides and twisting it to and fro. You can also pull on each part to see what’s loose. If a joint is loose but won’t separate by hand, try tapping it apart with a soft mallet. It’s okay if some of the joints only partially separate.

Apply carpenter's glue to dowels or spindle ends with a small brush and in holes with a cotton swab, making sure to coat just the surface and not fill the hole. For joints that only partially separate or those that can't be taken apart, Lee Valley sells Chair Doctor, a low-viscosity glue you apply with a syringe. It will wick into the joint, swelling the wood and conferring structural integrity.

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About Cottage Life

Dive into this special vintage edition of Cottage Life for a look at the cottage then and now. In this issue we’ll show you the highs, lows, wins, losses, and questionable cottage fashion of days gone by. Want to know what your cottage junk is worth? We explored dusty cupboards and sheds to find out. You’ll meet cottagers who have been going to (and DIYing in) the Thousand Islands for 100 years. We’ll share tips for buying, hauling, storing, and using propane, the super-useful fuel that does more than barbecue your dinner. Do you know a disaffected cottage teen? Or were you one? Take a peek into the mind of a teenager who had to leave the cottage to find it again. We found a cooler that can keep ice frozen for three weeks (but it’s not cheap). You’ll find answers to reader questions about ticks, asbestos shingles, and pressure-treated lumber, and we’ll deliver the fine print on using fireworks at the lake, plans for building a classic wooden marble game, and an easy way to scribe deck boards. Plus, don’t miss fun and delicious updates to your favourite summertime meals, from burgers to s’mores. Get the Aug/Sept 2019 issue of Cottage Life today for a taste of summer at its best!