By Home master

Repairing Desks

Desks can be restored back to new condition with minimal effort and cost. From scratch marks and cracks, to missing surface pieces or simply being dropped accidentally onto the ground – desk repairs can be easily made if damage occurs and quickly get back into use again. Here are the steps you can take to bring back your desk into use again.

Wood filler or putty is an effective solution for small scratches on wooden desks, and can be purchased at most hardware stores.

Damaged Drawers

Drawers and drawer tracks are among the first signs of wear on any piece of wood furniture, often showing wear after being used regularly. If a drawer sticks or its bottom falls out, it may be time for replacement or repair. Many older wood drawers feature tongue-and-groove construction or use nail and glue joints; over time these glues can dry out leaving weak joints which need strengthening; applying white lithium grease may help the drawers glide more freely again.

Drawer tracks that stick or bind are another common source of problems. It could be that one of the wheels has broken off and now rubs against the track, causing another wheel to catch and bind, rendering the drawer difficult or impossible to pull out or push back in.

Before beginning repairs on a drawer, take steps to disassemble it from its frame and inspect it carefully. It may have a notched side where its bottom sits or slide into dadoes (cutouts in wood’s face or end). If these features remain undamaged, tighten any necessary screws holding down its guide on its frame.

If the runner has become damaged, use a plane to smooth its edges before adhering two strips of hardwood to each edge and gluing them in place with glue. Make sure they extend slightly past where the old strip was, for extra support of drawer side. Nail the strips into position, countersinking any nail heads so they won’t interfere with drawer operation.

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If your drawer bottom has fallen out of its notch or into the space between it and the side, this could be caused by improper cutting of plyboard used as its bottom, weakened and broken pieces or simply being out-of-place. In such instances, adding strips of more rigid materials such as plywood may help strengthen its stability; otherwise, replacing worn runners is another solution.

Damaged Legs

Furniture legs may become damaged through age, wear and tear or an accident, often leaving cracks or splits in rattan and wood surfaces. Before beginning repair work on any leg, remove it from its furniture and place it on a sawhorse or another flat work surface; flip it over to assess damage; if your damage is minor (for instance cracked or splintered rattan pieces), take out a nickel-sized clump of wood putty from its container; use its flat edge on putty knife to apply it directly over its surface – once complete, your putty knife will also serve to apply it directly over its surface.

Broken Glue Joints

Wood glue makes strong and durable joints in furniture when applied correctly; however, they can still become loose due to stress on materials or improper application of adhesive itself. Most often a failed glue joint won’t become apparent until clamps are removed from or wood is inspected days or weeks later – often this occurs as a result of excessive clamping pressure that squeezes down glue to zero thickness along an entire joint, leaving natural porosity wick away any remaining microscopic amounts into its porosity and creating weak links that pull loose easily or come apart altogether.

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Loose mortise-and-tenon and dowel joints can usually be repaired easily with shavings or shims thickening the glue area, while loose dowels can often be fixed by drilling out their old dowel and tapping in a new one. In extreme cases, however, it may be necessary to cut it completely out and reinsert it completely to restore original joint strength.

Depending on the nature of the problem, disassembling may be necessary in order to reintroduce dowels or mortise and tenon. When doing this, remember that forcing apart glue joints could damage both wood and glue itself if pushing too far apart is undertaken.

Before trying to force joints apart, it can be helpful to soak the area with solvent. Water or vinegar work well when dealing with white carpenter’s glue; denatured alcohol works better for joints glued with animal hide glue found on older pieces of furniture. Hide glues can even be “reactivated” with hot water for reuse without scraping back to bare wood in preparation of regluing later.

Other glues like epoxy or urea-resin are nonreversible, and should be treated like nails: with either a sharp blow from a hammer or by sawing through the joint surface with a handsaw.

Damaged Surface

Veneer is a thin layer of wood glued onto another solid substrate and therefore particularly vulnerable to damage. Small holes and cuts may be repaired using room temperature catalyzed resin with short glass fibers; larger dents will require more involved repair techniques: first cut out a cardboard template that extends beyond the damaged area on all sides; trace this template onto patch wood using it as a guide, chisel out its shape so it blends in seamlessly with surface grain before sanding both patch and surrounding veneer until both patches blend perfectly and then refinish the entire piece before finally.