How best to repair antique table

mayberrygardenerFebruary 27, 2014

Well, it was bound to happen, in this horrifically dry climate, but my table has come apart in pieces, and as I look at how it was constructed, it appears as if the only thing holding it together was some wood glue. One entire side has come off; one top piece, one drop leaf, and the leg, all still (so far) firmly attached to itself.
A little background: I have a knock-off Duncan Phyfe style table, of unknown date/wood/origin. The table has a drop-leaf on both sides, and pulls apart in the middle to insert up to 3 leaves. I live in Colorado, where the climate is VERY dry, 11% humidity seems high in the winter time. Anyway, I was moving the table the other night, and it literally fell apart. The top piece was glued to the bars that slide out when it's being extended to insert the leaves, in two places on each of the two slides, and this is where the glue came off, four places total, approximately 2X3" areas.
I would like to repair this myself, but I'm not a carpenter, so I'm asking for some advice. What kind of glue is best, and will simple glue be enough to hold it? How can I clamp it, considering that there is a 4" apron and the places where it needs to be attached are easily 8-10 inches in from the edge anyway? Would putting some weight on top be adequate? The wood is very old and dry, and there isn't a lot of residue from the old glue at all which leads me to think that they probably used a glue that isn't even legal anymore. I'm terrified to drill holes to hold it, as the wood is so dessicated...
Any advice is appreciated, and if I'm able to figure out how to post pictures, I'll get some up this evening.
Thanks!

Here is a link that might be useful: example of my table

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lazy_gardens

We need pictures of the actual table, and an idea of how thick the various pieces are.

Proper glue and clamping might be enough.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 2:31PM
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mayberrygardener

Bear with me while I try to upload pictures from my phone, I may have to do separate postings, it seems

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 3:10PM
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mayberrygardener

Bear with me while I try to upload pictures from my phone, I may have to do separate postings, it seems

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 3:11PM
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mayberrygardener

Okay, so the first photo above is the piece that broke off. This picture is the blocks where the glue let go--you can see it looks a little bit reddish compared to the dark stain, adn you can just see the outline of the blocks where the glue failed on the picture above. I should note that the blocks on one side are quite close together, as in this picture, and the blocks on the other side have quite some distance between them, which is the side that you see on the table, hence the wider space between glue stains.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 5:18PM
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mayberrygardener

Here are the pieces for a little better perspective. The table top is right at 3/4 inch thick, and the blocks, I don't know if you can tell, are cut at angles to the table top.
Ideas, suggestions? I'd sure like to maintain the integrity of a vintage piece without mucking it all up, but ultimately, I do want a useful and functional table.
Thanks for any suggestions!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 5:31PM
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lazy_gardens

Looks like the glue holding the table top to the blocks on the slider mechanism gave way.

Get some clamps, sandpaper and "Gorilla Glue". Lightly sand where the blocks made contact to make sure there is no leftover glue, then glue them back on.

Follow directions and CLAMP them until the glue is dry.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 8:32AM
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sombreuil_mongrel

Now, the sliders are still able to be attached with their screws, so it should be a simple matter to scrape the old glue off the glue blocks and reattach the whole thing; The blocks were originally installed last, by the rubbing method; hot hide glue was applied to the surfaces, and the block pressed/rubbed in until the glue grabbed/gelled.
Lacking a hot glue pot, cold hide glue or a modern pva glue will be fine, bearing in mind that while hide glue joints can be taken back apart, pva is permanent.
Casey

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 9:57AM
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mayberrygardener

Thanks so much for the techniques and glue recommendations, can anyone send a link of what clamps I would use? The part that needs to be clamped is not near enough to the edge that standard clamps won't work. Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 9:33PM
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sombreuil_mongrel

No clamps; the reason they used "rubbed glue blocks" was because it is in a spot that is impractical to get a clamp into.
Casey

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 5:53PM
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