Check to see if there are any other areas on the sides of the drawer that rub and give them a coat of candle wax too. Give all wood to wood drawer glides a coat of candle wax about every six months and you should never have sticking drawer problems. Candle wax works good on table extensions too. Bar soap can also be used instead of candle wax.
Save a couple of candle stubs to get some more useful life out of them after they've come to the end of their burning life. If you have a sticking drawer, just rub the bottom of the drawer where it slides and rub the glide surface inside the drawer opening with the candle wax.
Glue Chair Joints
I would like to know what you consider a good glue to re-glue my chairs. The chairs have started to come apart due to their constant use. They do not have rollers on them, so my husband tells me that when someone scoots the chairs back that that process causes the glue to come apart. We have some "old" chairs that we have glued and they come apart. How do you take care of this.
Our dining room table is used every day, is over 100 years old, we need to reglue the chairs and put new fabric on the seats.
A yellow woodworking glue is best. The yellow glue is an aliphatic hydrocarbon glue. I read somewhere years ago that the molecules of the aliphatic hydrocarbon glue are shaped like little coil springs and they screw into each other and actually screw into the pores of the wood. The yellow glue will generally make a stronger bond than the wood around it.
Don't use glue gun glue, it's flexible and fills gaps, so if you get some at the end of the rung or tenon it won't permit the joint to go completely together and the joint will never be solid, because of the flexibility of the glue.
When you separate the joints, clean as much old glue out as you can, being very careful not to remove any wood. If wood is removed from the hole it will become larger, or if wood is removed from the rung or tenon it will make it smaller and cause the joint to be more loose.
Your husband is correct about the scooting the chairs making the joints loosen, especially on carpeting. Each time a chair is scooted the cells of the wood in the joint are compressed a little and after 100 years can be quite compressed. If the end of a rung is shiney, it's generally due to compression.
When you open the joints up pour boiling water in the hole and put the rung ends or tenons on end in a pan of boiling hot water, just enough to cover the raw wood ends, but not on the finished portion of the wood. You may have to make several applications of boiling water, but the cells of the wood which haven't been broken open should pop back out to their normal position. Let the wood dry completely and it should have swelled enough for a tight fit and with new glue should last quite a while before you have to repair again.
Assemble all of the lower joints at the same time and work on a flat surface like a table top to be sure that all joints are together equally to make all four legs make contact.
Clamping is necessary when repairing chair joints, or any other joint where something goes into a hole where there isn't any place for air to escape. A rung or tenon will act as a piston, compressing the air at the end, then the air will push the joint back out, but if it's clamped the air will slowly find it's way out. If you don't have regular clamps, use some rope or heavy twine wrapped around opposing legs. Leave a little slack in the rope and put a stick or pencil between the two sections of rope and twist the rope until it's tight and the chair joint is securely pulled together. Be sure to work on a flat surface.
Even though the glue bottle will probably say that the glue will set up in an hour, leave the joint clamped for at least 12 hours to let it cure and it will make a more secure joint.
If you end up with a chair that rocks on two legs, even though you took precautions, don't try to cut one leg off a little to even it up, add a glide to one of the shorter legs to make them even. If you use nylon glides you can sand them down a little if they're too long. Cutting a leg down never seems to work and after you've cut each leg several times you will usually end up with a very short chair that rocks on two legs.
Age Raw Wood
To make raw wood look like it's been weathered and aged to a mellow gray, soak some nails and bits of iron in vinegar for a few days, then apply it to the wood with a paint brush. Let the wood air dry for a couple of days and if the vinegar smell hasn't gone, rub the surface with a cut lemon. Let it dry again (be sure all the pulp is wiped off) then apply a sealer.
Finishes Paints and Stains
Our installment on finishes, paints and stains this time is about shellac.
Shellac is a natural element and as is generally the case with natural things, it's uses are almost unlimited. It is used pharmaceutically and in the food industry as well as a furniture finish.
M and M's used to be coated with shellac to make them firm and shiney.
DO NOT and I repeat, DO NOT use the shellac that you buy at the paint store to shine up your cinnamon rolls or something edible shellac is processed different than finish shellac.
Shellac has been around since a couple of centuries after the birth of Christ, but it was originally processed for the dye color and some time later someone discovered, lo and behold, that it would make a good finish for furniture.
Shellac is a secretion, called lac, from a little bug that sucks sap from trees indiginous to India and Thailand, then secrets the resinous substance which is processed to make shellac in it's various forms.
Shellac was a very popular furniture finish until the mid 1800's when someone came up with lacquer made from nitrocellulose. Shellac is hard, but fragile around water and it's dissolved by alcohol.
Wealthy people in bygone times would have french polishers come in once a year and french polish their furniture and shellac is the main ingredient in french polish. We cover french polish on it's own page.
Shellac is a good finish still used by lots of craftsmen and is a must when restoring an antique that originally had a shellac finish.
A lot of people will be working with pine boughs and pine cones with Christmas right around the corner, so there will be a lot of people with sticky fingers from pitch. Dampen a paper towel with rubbing alcohol and rub the pitchy areas and the pitch should clean off. If you don't have any alcohol handy, then use some shortening on the sticky spots and wash the shortening off with soap and water. If you don't have either alcohol or shortening, try some vegetable oil, margarine or butter.
It's always handy to have a good assortment of Dowel Pins handy when you're working on furniture. For who knows what reason dowel pins will break inside a joint and to have a good secure joint that will be trouble free for many years you will need to replace the broken pins. Lots of modern day joints are assembled with Joinery Biscuits, but I think dowel pins will always be with us.
It's getting colder in the northern parts of the world and time that fireplaces and stoves are being used more. More fires mean more smokey walls which can be difficult to clean at times. There are some commercial cleaners that do well, but others that just smear the oily dark stuff around. Tri Sodium Phosphate (TSP) is a good cleaner to remove smoke from walls, but don't overdo it because too much TSP can damage a painted surface or even soften or remove paint. Ammonia will work well too, diluted to the recommended amount on the container, as well as clearing your sinuses clear down to your toes.