Clamping with a Bicycle Inner Tube
By Alan Noel
Professional Wood Finisher
Recently, I was working on a broken chair leg that belonged
to a pre Civil War dining room set made of mahogany and it was apparent that it
was going to be a challenge. In my usual routine I would first figure out how I was
going to piece it back together and then figure out what clamps I would use
in order to apply enough pressure to get the job done.
Sometimes, in order to get a break back together properly it's necessary to repair
the break in stages because of the nature of the break and location. Most of the time
breaks of this type occur along the grain line which makes the job
easier to deal with because usually the two pieces will "slide" perfectly back together
to the point of almost disappearing. But here in lies the problem.
I spread a small amount of glue onto the break, making sure to cover both sides of the
break and slid it back together. The glue will squeeze out along the break when it
"slides back into place." So far so good until its time to apply the pressure. For those
of you who have been up against this challenge you understand the dilemma that's about to happen.
The joint starts to slide apart just as it slid together because of the angle of the break
and pressure from the clamp and clamping blocks. What to do?
After struggling with this and being very frustrated I took apart the break
and cleaned the glue off to give me time to figure out a different way of clamping. I could
put a small nail in the break to keep it from moving but that would further damage the leg.
Maybe a clamp on both ends of the break but I would need an extra hand for this.
I called my friend Mike who was my go to guy when I first started out in the Finishing business. He ended up giving me a really good tip. He told me to go and buy a
bicycle inner tube and cut it into long strips. Then he had me wrap one end of the strip, stretching
it onto itself in the middle, then stretching and wrapping it from side to side. This way, the two
pieces couldn't slide and everything was in the proper location.
Not only did this glue the break perfectly, it did virtually no damage to the finish. The glue squeeze
out was easily wiped off with a damp cloth and the glue was able to separate and crumble from the
inner tube, making it ready for future use.
This is one of the best tricks I've learned along the way
and still rely on almost daily for all kinds of quick fixes like broken back spindles, chair stretchers,
chair legs, etc....
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Alan can be reached directly via email c/o Alan Noel Furniture Refinishing at email@example.com. You can also visit Alan's website by CLICKING HERE.
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