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Is there a way to dissolve the glue that is holding the joints together on an old rocking chair so I can disassemble it?

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Stanley, If it is old it if most likely glued up with hide glue, later versions include the white and yellow glue that we commonly use today.  I have had sucess using white vinegar allowing it to soak into the joints and applying a twisting rocking motion on the joint.  It is a time consuming thing however patience usually wins.  It helps sometimes to use a rag soaked in vinegar and wrap it around the joint.

While on the subject I use white vinegar to remove glue from panel glue up door joints and anyher I use glue to wide down the area before I apply any finish.  Good luck on your project as it sounds like a excellent task.

Douglas, not I have yet to experience any adverse problems from either stain or clear coat application.  Clear coats include polys to lacquers.  I have been doing this for several years including my own kitchen cabinetry and other woodwork. I began doing this knowing that it is an acid that will remove glue from wood insuring that there will be no white or blotchy spots from glue that show through the finish. 

Hide glue is an excellent glue and been used for years long before the modern day glues. 
 
Douglas Harwood said:

Jay,

Have you had any finish uptake problems using the vinegar since it is acetic acid?  That is a new one for me.  I just recently tried the hide glue on a project to greatly increase the working time, worked great.

Doug

If its hide glue you can just heat up the joint and it should become "liquid" again.

Thanks Jay and Kerry.

Last night I was able to get the glue joints to loosen up using 5% Distilled White Vinegar.  Just have one more joint to loosen when I get home from work.  Then we will get into a whole another set of questions!  LOL!

Essentially, I am separating the chair into three sections, 1) the back and arms, 2) the rocker and "struts," and the seat.  The seat is going to need some fair amount of re-working.

Jay I also have a job like that but it's but it's a chair and I dont do jobs like this but this woman has gave me a lote work so hale many parts white vinegar and many parts water thanks.

Jay Boutwell said:

Stanley, If it is old it if most likely glued up with hide glue, later versions include the white and yellow glue that we commonly use today.  I have had sucess using white vinegar allowing it to soak into the joints and applying a twisting rocking motion on the joint.  It is a time consuming thing however patience usually wins.  It helps sometimes to use a rag soaked in vinegar and wrap it around the joint.

While on the subject I use white vinegar to remove glue from panel glue up door joints and anyher I use glue to wide down the area before I apply any finish.  Good luck on your project as it sounds like a excellent task.

For anyone whom doubts the use of white vinegar in woodwork here is one of many articles: 

Well Doug I am not the chemist that you might be, however I do have experience enough to know that vinegar will work on both types of glues.  Not knowing what type of glue is in the chair or if it was origionally glued with hide glue and then later repaired with the common wood glues of today, I posted what I know to be a safe method to do both.  I know what I posted and that it deals with white and yellow glues.  I never give anyone advise or suggestions to anyone of which I can't back up or believe to be unsafe either to the person(s) or their project.

  My purpose today was to show some other proof other that what I stated.  When I first posted to Stanley's inquiry I first mentioned that it might be glued with hide glue depending on its age.  Within less that 10 minutes you sent me a question asking about its use stating that is "a new one" to you and if I had ever experienced problems with finish application since it was an acid.

Ok, since I am not the only one whom reads these posts and thinking well maybe some others might doubt my suggestion or how to use it,  I posted today a source from some one else.   If you were to check into the woodworking industry you will find many sources whom suggest the use of vinegar.   I also know that the chemicals you posted above will dissolve white glue yellow glue and some even your hide from your fingers.  My question is why go to those measures when vinegar has served me well over the years.  If you wish to use the more dangerous chemicals that is your business but I will not suggest their use.  I also made the post today  as another member e-mailed me last night telling me he also had a chair to do and was asking me about how to use the vinegar.    Todays  post gives the steps to do this safely.  Here is a question for you.  What happens when you apply water to wood fibers in a trapped joint?  Think about it and then you understand  why I choose to use my method. 
 
Douglas Harwood said:

Jay,

No one is doubting that vinegar will dissolve hide glue.  The article you posted is dealing with white and yellow glue which is simply a polymer of varnish, therefore able to be dissolved with a solvent.  You can use water, acetone(contained in lacquer thinner), glycol ether(contained in water based stains and finishes), toluene, and xylene.  Would also suggest scrubbing with a stiff bristle or brass-wire brush to get the glue out of the pores.  Simple didn't want Stanley to possibly trash a two hundred year old rocker.

Doug

Thanks everyone....

Not sure how old this rocker is...but I doubt it is two hundred years old!  LOL!  Picked up the rocking char at a garage sale a few blocks away last August for $7.00.  It was just a frame.  All the seat webbing and fabric were essentially gone.

I am refinishing it as a "fun" project vs. a "work project to which I have many.  LOL!

Thanks everyone for your responses and the interesting dialog.  The chair rocker assembly is completely removed.  Three of the four chair back / arm assembly joints have been removed using 5% distilled white vinegar.  Hopefully tomorrow I can devote some time to getting this one joint to loosen up.

Hello Stanley, The articles of discussion about the chair seat repair was started on Nov 30 2011 by member Ted Harrison.  My part of the discussion in located on my page under my discussion beginning on Dec 01, 2011.  It was about repairing a split chair seat and will give you some ideas as to how different members would make the repair.   I am anxious to see your finished project as it sounds like a terrific chair.  I'm happy to hear that you have made excellent progress towards restoring it.  Keep up the hard work and you will be rewarded with a special chair of which will bring you much pride and enjoyment.  It is great to see someone  take the time to restore something that is out of the past and your are to be commended for doing such.

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