Sunday, January 16, 2011

Back Together

Progress went well today on re-assembling the cabinet, couldn't have done it without Diane's help though. The cabinet measures 40" wide and my arms just aren't quite long enough to hold the clamps in place.  I'm sure that this piece was originally put together with hide glue because when I cleaned the joints and dowels with warm water and vinegar I could feel it redissolve and become sticky again.  My thoughts are that it can only help make a better bond.  It was tricky trying to line up a dozen or more dowels in such a long piece but all went well.  Here's what it looks like now:

It seems to me that one reason the unit failed is because there isn't any member of it going the full width, everything is left to dowels to join it together.  Essentially it is three separate pieces joined with the dowels so any unevenness in the floor would cause joint failure.  I didn't want to add any mechanical fasteners to the already brittle wood so decided to cut some glue blocks to reinforce the bottom.  I sanded first to clean the area and then made some 45 degree pieces out of alder and glued them in place.  At worst, future settling and movement may cause them to fall off but at least it won't cause any damage to the piece.  In my experience I've never seen a glue block like this fail.
In the foreground you can see some of the bric-brac that I need to replace for the gallery at the top.  See the bracket hanging loose at the left edge, that's another part that needs to be reattached.   First thing tomorrow I'll be headed to Woodworkers Emporium to buy a pin nailer.  They have the new Porter Cable model that can shot a 1 3/8" pin.  Sure hope they're open since it's MLK Day.

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