woodworking advice appreciated on vintage sewing box

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Old 02-09-18, 12:26 PM
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woodworking advice appreciated on vintage sewing box

I have a cantilever sewing box that my dad made, probably 60 years ago, and I'll spare the details, but his oldest son, yes, me, foolishly bored a hole in one of the compartments with a brace and bit. Well, forgive me, but I was still a kid, so I fixed it with wood filler, which of course I also learned through this little episode did not take stain well at all. So here we are, all these years later, I still have the box, and want to repair it as best as possible. The boxes are made of 3/8" plywood, lapped corners that are glued and nailed together, and they're about about 2-1/2" deep with one having this approximately 1" poorly patched hole. The easiest fix would probably be to cut the one side off on the table saw or miter saw and glue a new one on, but then the corner details wouldn't match, so I've moved that option to a distant third. The other two options are to use a dutchman, or to remove the piece intact, and cut a new piece with an identical lap. If I replace the entire piece, how would I go about loosening the glue? I assume that it's Elmer's, and that water might work, but don't think that just wiping it with a wet rag is going to do much, and immersing it would ruin the plywood. Any thoughts?
 
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Old 02-09-18, 12:35 PM
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If the side is flat, you might look into just applying a veneer over the entire side, covering up your patch job.

If that doesn't work, disassembling is an option but it also might destroy it. Wood glue joints don't usually come apart clean, and no... water isn't generally a way to loosen it. The glue joint is usually stronger than the surrounding wood so it often breaks. Unless poor glue was used or it has since cracked.
 
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Old 02-09-18, 01:26 PM
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Thanks. I guess the biggest question was softening the glue a bit, and I didn't know if water would help, but since you say not I can at least toss out that thought. And disassembling would be great, but without softening the glue first, I know, like you said, I stand a pretty good chance of damaging the adjoining pieces. Being lapped the way they are there's no way to simply cut the bad piece out. I have a decent size piece of scrap with an almost identical grain pattern, and you mentioned veneer, so maybe I'll try making my own veneer, resaw a ply off of that on the bandsaw and then see how flat I can get it to lay. If the test works out maybe I could skim just that much off the outside of the box and use my own veneer. Thinking that I could cut it just a tad large, glue it in place, and plane off the excess. Never did that exactly before, but might work.
 
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Old 02-09-18, 02:37 PM
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Can't hurt to try. But you can also buy pieces of veneer easy enough.
 
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Old 02-09-18, 03:11 PM
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Try an inlay by routing or cutting out out an area around the patch and setting in a patch of the matching or a contrast.
 
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