Q & A: Knocking Apart Loose Joints
I tried reversing a clamp to pull out the rungs of an old
chair that needed regluing, but I couldn’t get all of the rungs
out.What do I do?
Spreader clamps can be helpful, but the most effective
weapon for disassembly is a heavy, hard mallet or a deadblow
hammer (about $25 at hardware stores). Sharp blows are faster
and more effective at separating loose joints than gradual tugs
with a clamp. It’s the sudden impact that counts.
The secret to success is to cushion the blow. Lay the joint on
a sturdy worktable covered with a soft blanket. (A quilted
moving blanket or old wool blanket are ideal, although a few layers
of corrugated cardboard work okay, too.) Hold onto the part
you want to remove, then strike as near the joint as possible.You
can strike pretty hard because you’re hitting straight down.
Unless a nail is holding the joint together, a few blows should do
This story originally appeared in American Woodworker February 2002, issue #92.