Richard Tozer

Conservation & Restoration

Broken joint repairs

Rest assured your furniture will be in safe hands as this is an expertise I have an excellent reputation in, namely repairs to damaged antique and some modern furniture caused by daily use, rough handling and including house removal damage.

Not just simple repairs but also really involved and complex repairs to damaged or broken furniture components that look dramatic and unmendable – repairs to shattered and broken chair legs, smashed rails, split table tops, warped surfaces, dropped furniture, removing white water marks, wrenched doors, toppled longcase clocks, replacing broken cabinet glass etc to both modern and antique pieces.
Besides accidental breakage, a joined piece of furniture may fail for a number of reasons. The most common are wear and tear which produce racking stresses on the joint (like the back legs of a chair) and normal expansion/shrinkage due to seasonal changes. These two forces may operate independently or together to produce failure at the glue line. A joint may also have been improperly cut when originally constructed with one of the components either too large or small.

To properly repair a furniture joint we normally completely dismantle it and replace worn or damaged wood with wood from the same species.
The type of glue used on the original joinery is important. Prior to the mid forties, hot animal hide glue was the traditional glue used in furniture assembly. After that time, PVA glues eventually replaced hide glue. Hide glue has some annoying application characteristics but it's redemption is in the fact that it is reversible. It can be "re-activated" with water and heat and it will re-bond to itself. This means that joints originally glued with hide glue do not have to scraped to bare wood to get the new glue to stick.