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superpickles

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Reply with quote  #1 
So my project machine was stored in an outbuilding or garage (likely for some decades - the newest artifact in the drawers was a plastic stamp-roll holder of the kind my parents owned in the 80s) and the extension piece has had some plank migration. I believe the machine head was set on top and the pivot point for the VS armature pressed on the seam. My objective is to soften the glue so I can press the pieces back together without splitting them since they are actually in solid shape, just in the wrong place. Any help would be very much appreciated!

Bonus pictures of the (weird for New Home) under mechanism, and of the obvious reason someone might set the head on the table instead of folding it away.





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Rodney

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Reply with quote  #2 
I would try heat and moisture to loosen the old glue.  Hopefully Skipper will see this and respond.  He knows more about wood and antique restoration than I ever will.
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Zorba

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Reply with quote  #3 
If its hot hide glue, you usually can just knock things apart (carefully!). Which is yet another reason to use hot hide glue to start with - its reversible and repairable.
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superpickles

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Reply with quote  #4 
I had read that steam is used in violin repair, with hide glue. My worry is that this wood is thick and might warp out of control or absorb too much water before it even affected the glue, and since I have never repaired any kind of wood before I want to make sure I start on the right foot.
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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #5 
Well that certainly is interesting. I don't have it in front of me so it's a little difficult.

Picture one shows the lengthwise separation which I can only imagine occurred because the wood dried out. As you suggested it could have been a lack of a controlled environment. You have the cabinet indoors now which should stabilize the materials. Picture three is interesting because it alludes to... but again, I don't have it in hand... that there may be more than one layer, and those layers may be of different wood products.    

Typically (but not always) the top, or lid, or extension, etc... began life as several 2 inch to 3 inch wide boards about a half an inch thick. Often these were tongue and grove and the boards were tapped together to form a rectangle. Then, four 'frame' pieces with interlocking corners (akin to tongue and groove) would surround the body of the lid-to-be.

Glue would be added only to the four corners allowing the interior pieces to 'float' so that they could 'breathe' (expand and contract ever-so-slightly according to temperature and humidity). Once this rectangle had been constructed and the frame around it glued and allowed to dry, a thin sheet of wood would be glued to the 'top' and 'bottom' surfaces. This piece was often of another type of wood and had characteristics that were favorable for the veneer to be applied. So now, you have three layers awaiting a top and bottom veneer layer. That's five total!

From picture number three I can 'see' what appears to be two (or three) layers. The inner tongue & groove and the top layer of veneer and backing. It's difficult for me to identify the sewing surface layers from that angle but from the photos I still think there are five layers total. The veneer and baking layers are almost invisible if done correctly and create 'look' of only one layer, so only three layers seem easily identifiable.

I would not expose the piece to any steam at all.  I would first: using straight pins and wood glue... I'd insert a thin layer of new wood glue into both sides of the long separation and using two or three wood clamps I'd draw the panel back together from back to front, and let it cure. Then, after is has cured I'd look to do something similar in the corner where it appears as if the flat layers (veneer and backing) have begun to lift slightly (would take two smaller clamps). I'd bet that the long crack runs in direct relation to the hidden tongue and groove strips inside. That would make sense.

If you get the glue right, and the clamps tight, there may yet be a 'hint' of the split... and there may not. It really could go together in such a manner that the split becomes very difficult to notice. It's a question that can only be answered by doing it. Often a hairline that you can barely notice can be filled with a poly coat, or a good wax coat, so it shouldn't be glaring. 

*Before I'd start any project with characteristics like this... I'd be very tempted to go over the entire piece several times with Linseed oil allowing the Linseed to creep into that split. I want whatever I can get to put good (by good I mean: not water) moisture back into the fibers of the interior panels before I seal it up again. This might take a few days after applying to wait for the surfaces to be dry.

Again, this is what it 'looks' like to me. The quickest, and perhaps best answer to this is to remove the piece from it's hinges and swing by the local wood shop. Ask for an opinion. Chances are they'd tell you an appropriate fix for free, esp if you ask: "Can I glue and clamp this back together easily by myself?"  (They might also verify that there are more than one layer of wood involved).

-Jim (who's known to have been wrong at times...)

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superpickles

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Reply with quote  #6 
With your post in hand, I went and had a good look. The extension appears to be 3 planks side by side with your tongue-and-groove joins, then one thin piece inset across each end of them (hinge side and swing side). I can't see any veneer if it is there, the grain of the wood seems to continue along each side even along the bevel. I think it was simply coated with something. Red color in the photos is an artifact of my camera flash.

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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #7 
I might have to agree, although underlayment with way-thin veneer layers have fooled me before. That does appear to be three, not five. I'd still keep the steam away. Clean what you can out of the separation with whatever you can. Old bicycle spoke, crochet hook, thin knitting needle, big sewing needle, etc. You'll never get all the glue out without formally taking it all apart - and that's something I'd try to avoid. It may just be me, but things like that always seem to look better if I don't take them completely apart. It's probably just me...

Picture B, that shows what looks like a missing quarter to half inch of wood on the inner layer. As long as there isn't a corresponding quarter to half inch sticking out on the opposite side... then it's just plain missing. This happens a lot on those end pieces. They get dry and brittle and next thing you know some little piece has left. It's a weak area in that it's so close to the outside air, and it's thin, and the grain of the wood is running in a direction which facilitates a crack. Nothing you can do about but fill it. The extension may live another hundred years without it but, if it's too annoying, shape a new piece to fit. You'll need to stain it in something close, but just on the end that will show - you'll want the bare wood to accept the wood glue on the hidden sides when you place and clamp it. It's really very common to see a little piece leave in that sort of assembly.

Other than those observations I'll stick with what I said before. Pehaps wash it all down with Murphey's oil soap, let it dry, a few rub downs with Linseed, allow that to soak in while cleaning out both sides of the separation. Carefully apply new glue to the inside of the break, and turn the clamps tight to draw it back together and allow to dry. I'd do all that before any sanding or surface refinishing.

Anyone else's take here would be great. More the merrier. =)

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My adventures with VSM's: http://steelsewing.blogspot.com
*QuiltnNan and asshat may be synonymous...
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laurainalameda

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Reply with quote  #8 
i would second what Jim said. oil the wood. bring it indoors. i have used a heating pad, on low for a number of days to loosen up old hide glue. you'll know its working if it starts to stink! gentle, progressive weighting and clamping may bring everything back into position. glue is always an experimental process, but hide is my favorite because it is reversible. laura
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Zorba

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Reply with quote  #9 
And then use hot hide glue when you put it all back together!
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superpickles

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Reply with quote  #10 
I haven't had time yet to do more than rub it down with oil and wash with Murphy's, dang it. The wood is looking much happier and smoother however. And my daughter plays violin so I do have a head start on finding hide glue!
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Kitcarlson

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Reply with quote  #11 
I see something different. I see three solid oak boards with long sides glued together, with end slats in grooves. The slats serve to keep boards flat and together. Over time, many wet, dry cycles, migrated joints.

In the past year I restored a very old child school desk top, of same construction. I tried to dampen with duration, and clamp, but unable to completely shut the crack. End slats were removed. Long boards had dovetail joints. Joints were cleaned of old glue and crud. They fit together nicely. Glue and clamping done on long boards prior to making and replacing end slats. The original end slats were brittle, and shrunk. I used a table saw to cut new oak slats, a bit of sanding for fit.

When clamping long boards, it is important to use clamps with backing boards to squeeze boards together, and a base and top board with clamps. The surface clamping avoids buckling resulting from side squeeze.

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laurainalameda

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Reply with quote  #12 
there is a cold hide glue, tite bond is the brand i believe. i have used it with success. of course, everyone needs to decide for themselves. it does take longer than hot hide to set, and it does not set in high humidity. i run a dehumidifier in the shop when i use it. once its set, it seems just as solid. laura, in Alameda, CA
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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #13 
Laura, have you tried to "unglue" the cold stuff?  I have done it with regular hide glue and was wondering if this formula does that.
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jrwhalley

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Reply with quote  #14 
Titebond claims that their "Genuine Hide" liquid hide glue has reversible bonds, but Your Mileage May Vary, as they say. Many years ago, when I did a little musical instrument repair, there were many animal collagen based glues available... Fish, cattle (generic 'hide'), and some made from rabbit, fowl, or whatever would give them a different color, working time, grab etc. Mostly creative marketing, but there were some differences between them in yield strength and gap filling ability. I used to use powdered hide glues and even bought an electric hot pot to keep them at usable temperature on the bench, but an old, sacrificial double boiler or even a cleaned cat food can in an aluminum pie plate works in a pinch. Used to use an old steam iron and a hot air gun to take things apart, and even put pieces that would fit in the oven at 250 or so degrees to try to extend the positioning time before the glue set up.
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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #15 
great tips, thanks!
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pgf

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Reply with quote  #16 
You might want to experiment with the oven thing in your old kitchen, before you move to the new house...    just sayin'.
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laurainalameda

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Reply with quote  #17 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pgf
You might want to experiment with the oven thing in your old kitchen, before you move to the new house...    just sayin'.


For sure! i use a tiny crock pot thing from good will for my hide glue. i think it was meant for cheese, as it has a picture of cheese on it.

I would never use Titebond cold hide glue on a rare antique or a musical instrument. if you are doing luthiers work, thats a whole nother level.

But, on one of the many Singers ive dragged out of the rain and re- glued, or on site repairs, or minor repairs, well, it has worked for me. i highly reccomend gluing up some scrap. wood, labeling it, and playing with it to see what reversing and strength and whatnot . Whats the point of a good hobby if you cat obsess? 🤣 laura
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laurainalameda

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Reply with quote  #18 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveH-VSS
Laura, have you tried to "unglue" the cold stuff?  I have done it with regular hide glue and was wondering if this formula does that.


I have, and had success, but I only owned the piece for a few months. i have some scraps on my bench im going to try after a year or so.

I deal with machines of a much more pedestrian provenance than you, Steve, and so if i were you, id get a little hide glue from Japan woodworker ( online) and a tiny crock pot from the goodwill. They also sell flake shellac in a variety of colors, for french polishing. Laura
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laurainalameda

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Reply with quote  #19 
Japan Woodworker has been bought, but their stock still seems similar
https://www.woodcraft.com/pages/japan-woodworker
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