I love finding great used things. My antique kitchen table and four chairs cost $100 as a consignment at a local antique store. They’ve already lasted us three or four years, but my husband dislikes them because some of the spindles have fallen out and so he has needed to glue a couple of them.
I decided to take matters into my own hands and make systematic repairs. Each chair was missing two of the eight spindles, so I took one of the loose spindles out and went to our local building store. I found a 5/8” hardwood dowel to match the spindle’s diameter, and then went through the stain we had on hand to see if I could make a reasonable match. I actually was able to find a terrific match with the darkest stain we had (Provincial Pine).
I cut the dowels to size to match the loose spindle’s length, and sanded the ends so they would have a taper to fit into the holes easier. The trickiest part for me was drilling out a couple of broken spindle remnants still jammed into the holes. I don’t think I could have done this successfully without the rotary tool my husband gave me for my birthday recently. I don’t like using his power tools very much, but somehow my Dremel type tool (it’s actually a Craftsman) is more approachable for me, to do the random lightweight type of jobs I need.
The last step was using Gorilla Wood Glue (it’s supposed to be a stronger hold than regular wood glue, but doesn’t foam and expand like Gorilla glue) and jamming the spindles into place, then ratchet strapping the legs together as a clamp.
Did it work? Mostly. Some of the spindles I cut too short and one has actually fallen out. Another one was too short to dry securely. The problem is that there’s a very fine line between too large to be able to squeeze into place and too small to really fill up the holes on either side. I suspect I’m going to need to take another crack at this repair for a few of these spindles. But the stain matched so fabulously that you really can’t tell which spindles were repaired unless you set out looking.