Repairing Structural Joints

Examine the old glue. It the joint is only partially loose, inject or brush warm water into it to loosen it up. (See photo, right.) Let it sit for five to 10 minutes, then gently pull the joint apart. Remove the bulk of the old glue with a palette knife or a rag before you add any new glue. Then brush on some fresh glue, clamp the joint, wipe off .my excess hide glue, and allow the joint to dry.

If the joint is still stuck, try injecting white vinegar; it's more aggressive than warm water. If this doesn't work, either the old glue isn't hide glue, or the joint is pinned or wedged somehow. In this situation, adding hide glue is a "Band-Aid" at best. This reconstituted joint won't be as strong as a cleaned and freshly glued joint, but it is a reversible project and a much better solution than epoxy. —R.S. W.

Loosen up. To undo an old hide-glue joint, injec t warm water into the crevice. In five to 10 minutes, pull it apart. If water doesn't work, try vinegar—it's more aggressive.

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