Antique furniture chairs are among the most valuable furniture articles that not only have an aesthetic role to fulfill but need also to withstand daily use. In fact, it is very rare to keep antique furniture purely for its display qualities. Thus, antique furniture needs to be taken great care of and its legs might need replacement every now and then either due to damage through accident or through the daily wear and tear stress.
Replacing and Duplicating Chair Legs
A chair leg can be replaced either by creating a replica of the old one which needs to be replaced or by taking a leg from another chair. When a chair leg is heavily damaged, it can be duplicated by using another leg from an identical chair as a prototype. Although this can be easily done by professionals, you can also do it at home with the right tools at hand. On the other hand, if you do not have an identical chair, you can use the other side’s leg (left front leg for the right front let or right back leg for left back leg) to create a reverse pattern on which the new leg will be carved. However, in this case, especially if the legs are curved or carved, it is best to send the sample to a professional carver or restorer for optimal results.
Attaching Chair Legs
Antique Chair Legs can be replaced and attached in place with the help of carpenter’s wood glue. It is not advisable to use screws because they might create even more problems when you might need to replace the leg once again. In fact any screws can weaken the antique wood, because being old, the wood might be a bit dry and can easily crack. Make sure not to put on too much glue on the leg before attaching and to always make a dry fit before spreading any glue. It is also important to keep in mind that you need to scrape off any old glue (if using another chair’s leg) before applying new glue. Remember that no more than a blob of glue the size of a silver dollar is necessary; in fact any excess glue will just drip off the sides.
Tightening the Attachment
When any legs are replaced on antique chairs, it is important to tighten them up so that the replaced leg adheres securely to the chair. Remember to put the chair on a flat, even surface when attempting to tighten it so all four legs touch the floor uniformly. For this process you should use sash cord (which looks like clothes line but is heavy duty and strong). The sash cords should be wound around both the dowel rods and the chair rails on top of a wet glue application. This will ensure a very solid and durable result which can support daily stress.
These are just a few tips that you should consider when trying to replace antique furniture chair legs. Remember that with a little bit of patience and the right tools anything can be possible.