Sometimes You Just Wind Up With Kindling

Somewhere along the path Mrs. Barn picked up a rocking chair that I have managed to break three times, and is now destined for the kindling box down next to the woodstove.  The first damage occurred when I put my behind through the aged embossed paper seat, which I replaced with some leather from my leather scrap drawer and some random upholstery nails.  So far so good.

Last summer I sat in the chair and leaned back to rock and the proper right stile snapped off several inches above the seat, so off it went to the repair pile in the barn.  The break was the worst type of damage, a cross-grain break in brittle wood.


I spent portions of four days on this repair, first reintegrating the element with glue just to establish the previous configuration, then excavating in order to inset a beefy spline running several inches past the break in both directions.  Though completely intrusive this is really the only way to regain any kind of structural integrity to a broken piece.

I observed during this process that this was perhaps the most brittle wood I had ever encountered, it was impossible to get a clean cut as the wood shattered as soon as I touched it with a newly sharpened tool.

Once the spline was inset using epoxy adhesive I sat in the chair to make sure the repair would hold before I invested any time in the cosmetic work to make the repair disappear.

In a moment after putting my full weight on the chair the originally damaged stile snapped off about two inches below the inset spline, and the other stile immediately followed suit.

Sometimes you really are left with nothing but firewood.  I’ll have to find a replacement because this was Mrs. Barn’s favorite porch rocking chair.

Busy day tomorrow, hospital check-in at 6AM (two hours away from us) knee surgery at 8:30 (hopefully, the covid swab on Saturday put my sinuses into full warpath mode ever since) probably cranky the rest of the day.