Full Chisel Blog

December 3, 2012

High School Wood Shop Project ca 1941-1944 – Restoration

A small restoration project came through a referral from a friend.  The table was built by the clients father in High School sometime between 1941 and 1944, it is built from birch, stained walnut, hide glue, iron screws and a shellac finish.

One of the tripod legs had come loose and one of the dowels broke, I first drilled out the broken dowel parts using a gimblet bit, a small carving gouge and a duck bill spoon bit.  The gimblet bit drills roughly down the center, then with the carving gouge remove most of the remaining wood, then using the spoon bit to clean out and prepare the hole for a new dowel.  The replacement dowel is also made of birch.

I will replace this label with one on acid free paper with all of the information.

I used a couple of hook scrapers I made from saw blade fragments from making cabinet scrapers.  I heated them up in order to get a sharp bend then heated and quenched to harden it again.  Sharpened to a 45 degree angle with no burr.

I also roughened the surfaces prior to re-gluing the leg and new dowel in place.  I used a knife to cross hatch score the glue surfaces.

I used hot hide glue, 1 teaspoon glue : 2 teaspoons distilled water in my small glue pot, turned on the heat and 10 minutes later glued the leg into place.  I held the leg against the post for about 5 minutes, then applied blue painters tape to hold in place.

I will treat it with Moses T’s Reviver tomorrow, after I wash off any glue residue.  The surface has some alligator texture, which I will leave as part of its history.  This table is not an antique but it is older than me.



  1. Totally off topic. Although I do want to see this when you are done.

    Awhile back you posted a blog about the correct way to install the nut for a wooden screw vice. I am getting ready to do two of these. i am seeing. Lot of photos where these have been mortised into the back of. Leg, or some other structural member. I saw the guy who is making new wood screws at WIA and he had all his mortised tight?

    If you have a second, talk me through this again.


    Ron. Who gets to volunteer at the Conner Prairie shop next season.,

    Comment by Ron Harper — December 3, 2012 @ 5:41 pm

  2. Ron,
    The nut is allowed to float, even in a notch in the back of the leg, which is unnecessary and I have not seen it on old benches. Check out this blog post:http://www.fullchisel.com/blog/?p=2793


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — December 4, 2012 @ 9:50 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress