Woodworking Tips
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Enlarging Tenons on Woodworking Projects
This is the time of year for garage sales here in Iowa. And I had a couple ofwobbly old wooden chairs I wanted to unload. But I knew I'd have to repair them to get them to sell.

The loose joints had been repaired by an earlier owner with nails -- not only ugly, but nails don't work for long. So I thought I'd try gluing a wood shaving around the loose tenons on the rungs (stretchers) to increase their diameter and help "fill up" the mortises in the legs. Pretty simple, but it works.

First, I disassembled the legs and cleaned the old glue off the tenons and out of the mortises. The rungs were oak and the tenons were only about 3/4" deep in the legs. I had some oak in my scrap bin that was about that thick. A couple passes with a hand plane and I had some shavings -- maybe 1/32" thick.

Next I applied glue to each tenon and wrapped a shaving around them. Then, before the glue on the tenons was completely dry, I applied some glue in the mortises and inserted the tenons.

I wrapped each leg assembly in a band clamp (which seemed totally unnecessary, by the way), and let the joints dry for a couple hours. After I did all this, it occurred to me that I was really doing it at the wrong time of the year. I should be doing it in the winter time when the humidity is down and wood is at its driest. But it's too late now. If the chairs loosen up again, they're somebody else's problem. :-)

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