Sunday, July 17, 2011

Amateur wooden couch repair

NOTE: This article has nothing to do with upholstery. This was a woodworking project.

When our neighbor sold his property, he gave us some old furniture. One of the pieces was a pine couch, made sometime in the first half of the 20th century. It was painted, of course, and the paint was old, chipped, and ugly. So the first thing we did was send it to the dip tank, where they dissolve the paint using lye. 

Unfortunately, the lye solution caused severe deformation of one of the boards in one of the side pieces. The panels in the sides are captured in a dado. It was obvious that the damaged board had to go, so I drilled some holes and sawed it out:
Vyříznutí poškozeného prkna

Vyříznutí poškozeného prkna

Here's what's left of the damaged board - just one long edge ("stile"), which can't be removed because it's glued into the dado.
Po vyříznutí zbylá část prkna, nutno dlátem vyhladit
So I pared it down to the level of the frame.
Vysekáno a vyhlazeno, co dál?
Since I didn't know what to do next, I asked the more experienced woodworkers at (highly recommended). They told me to chisel one of the dados deeper. This will allow the replacement board to be inserted into the frame.

So here I am chiseling out the upper dado - a bit of a challenge because there was very little room to work in.

I found a really natty old board of about the right size. After one pass on the jointer it started to look pretty close in color to the surrounding boards, at least on one side. I planed the other side down to the 1/2" thickness I needed, resulting in a much lighter color, but that's OK because it will be up against a wall.

Fitting the replacement board was challenging, but went OK. Here's the board in place:

Since I had made the board slightly too thick, once I had it inserted in the upper dado the friction fit was so tight that it didn't want to budge. I needed to move it downward (upward in this picture) to get the lower end of the board into the lower dado. Since the back side of this side panel will be up against the wall, I drilled a couple holes, inserted a dowel and tapped on it. In this way, I succeeded in moving the board into place. Obviously, this isn't an ideal solution, because if the couch is ever moved the replacement board will become an eyesore:

After that it was just a matter of sanding, applying a coat of "antique wax", and assembling. Of course, that took several hours. Here's the completed piece, once again:

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