Most furniture parts are joined by wood joints such as 2-doweled butt joints or mortise-and-tenon joints. These joints arc fitted together and glued. In some rare instances. they also may be pinned for security. A pin (small nail) is inserted through a part of the joint to prevent its working loose. To lake apart a joint like this, you must break or soften the glue bond, remove the pin i I there is one, and pull or tap the joint apart.
Step 1: Finding Pins Look first for any evidence of pinning. You should be able to see either a tiny metal head in the surface of the wood, a small wood-filled hole or a larger circle indicating that a dowel and not a pin was used to pin the joint. Use a nailset to tap out a metal pin. To drive out a dowel, use apiece of slightly Smaller dowel rod, and tap it against the dowel in the piece. You can also drill out the old dowel; if so, use your dowel jig to assure a straight hole.
Step 2: Separating the Joint If the glue bond is already broken, separating
the joint is no problem. You may be able to take it apart with your hands, or a couple of light taps with a rubber mallet will break away the joint. If the glue bond has not been broken, the glue may be brittle enough so that tapping the joint apart with the rubber mallet will break it. If the joint still holds after tapping, you can soften the glue by applying a half-and-half mixture of vinegar and warm water. Apply the mixture to the joint with a small cotton swab. Keep the area saturated until the mixture has had time to soak in and work at the glue. This may take quite awhile, depending on the depth and tightness of the joint. Tap occasionally with the rubber mallet to see if the joint has loosened.
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