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 the trick.