Thursday, 21 May 2009

שבירה ותיקון

And bend your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new I got another 'commission', recently, and that was to repair some dining room chairs for some friends. This posting is a little photo journal of the process. I thought it was a bit ironic that in order to fix the chairs, i had to break them. Obviously, i was thinking of Donne:

That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new

Well, his Holy Sonnet XIV, as well as classic kabbalistic imagery, which, in keeping with our previous discussions about law, oddly seems to be applied by Launcelot Andrewes in his discussion about the fall of man:
Text not available

from A Pattern of Catechistical Doctrine (1642)
And also, i suppose, i was thinking of Andrewes's friend Richard Hooker who discusses the concept of 'compatible variety' along similar lines:
A more dutifull and religious way for us were to admire the wisedome of God, which shineth in the bewtifull varietie of all things, but most in the manifold and yet harmonious dissimilitude of those ways (III.xi.8)
Click here for Rowan Williams's (the current Archbishop of Canterbury) excellent Richard Hooker Lecture (2005) at the Temple Church, in which he manages to explain, and, perhaps more impressively, apply Hooker's philosophy to modern multi-cultural societies.

Anyway, having established the harmonious Gross glue in the mortises dissimilitude of the chair pieces, the glue had to be removed from the mortises. See how old and nasty looking the glue is?

I have my cousin Otto and my uncle Kees to thank for the next step. When i was in Amsterdam a few months ago, i saw a dremel for sale near the Cuyp markt. I totally needed a dremel and told Otto of the price and bits, etc, and headed out and bought it. When i brought it home, i proudly showed it to my cousin Kathelijne and my aunt, Saskia.'Cleaning with dremel and chiselIsn't it cute?!' I asked them. They agreed it was indeed a cute little thing with a plethora of cute little bits. But they wanted to know why i was making such a strange (albeit, cute) purchase. 'Oh, everyone needs a dremel, really,' was my reply, which was vigorously backed up by both Otto--'Yes, it's a common tool, and everyone has one' (he has the coolest job ever--restoring buildings) and Kees 'Oh, you can do everything with them' (he is a bronze sculptor). 'Well, what do you do with it?', came the question. Crap, i actually have no idea. Maybe i'll know what to do with it when Otto or Kees explains it. '' [hesitation] 'There are many...' And they both looked at each other, laughed, and admitted that they actually can't quite recall the last time they used their dremels! Anyway, the chisel pictured is one from Otto's grandfather Yeah, i did--the headlamp, baby!(i still need to finish the handle).

I took this photo to show my parents that i do, indeed, wear safety equipment (Tali, don't mock the headlamp!). Plus, i felt like a dentist. Cool-maybe i'll study dentistry. Although, now that i think of it, i'm not so comfortable with someone operating a rotary tool in my mouth...

Scraping glue off the tenonsThe reason for the mask is that when i used the dremel, the glue smelled like a rotting dead animal. For real. There's no way it's hide glue, right? Obviously, the tenons were also covered in old glue, so i sliced off chunks of nasty, smelly glue.

One final check CIMG0854

And then the ever-stressful gluing Actiion shot-glue

And finally, clamping:

Hope it holds!


  1. Note to self: never blog past 22:00

  2. Nice work on the chair repair! Did the glue chip off easily? If so, then it might be hide glue. I've only used it once, and it smelled EXACTLY like, no kidding, used cat litter and sweaty gym socks mixed together.
    But anyhow, after it dried, it chipped off really easily with a chisel.

  3. Thanks, Kari!The glue did chip off really easily (seemed quite brittle), and, again, IT STUNK! Maybe its pungency was enhanced by being burnt by the dremel? I had thought hide glue was old school (as in Amish), so i didn't expect a serious possible-confirmation. Maybe i should check my facts about hide glue...