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Gluing Wood/Repairing China

Martha Stewart Living, February 2000

Joining Wood: Remarkably, a glued wood joint is stronger than wood itself. But wood shrinks and expands with changes in humidity, which puts extra stress on the glue. The best wood bond is with the grain so the two pieces will move in parallel. A 90-degree intersection is the most troublesome joint; the pieces expand and contract against each other, as if trying to pull apart. Before clamping, make sure contact between parts is as tight as possible, then apply glue as directed to both pieces. If you are gluing end grain, coat wood with adhesive and let it dry for a few moments. Then wipe away excess and add more just before joining parts. Avoid gluing wood on a rainy day.

Repairing Broken China: This requires patience and care. Wash all pieces in warm soapy water, then rinse. When the pieces are completely dry, arrange them as they should fit. Decide in what order you will join them: Starting at the center, working outward, join smaller bits before larger. Fast-drying epoxy is generally best for this task because it is strong and water-resistant. To glue, pick two pieces, and swab the common edges with acetone to ensure that they are oil- and dirt-free. Dab epoxy on the edges with a toothpick or a coffee stirrer. With arms steadied on your work surface, join pieces; adjust them for a close fit. After several minutes, carefully lay the pieces down, and clean away excess epoxy with acetone. Place tape across the joint, and allow glue to dry for as long as the manufacturer recommends.


Comments (3)

  • orangezinna 28 Oct, 2008

    I was wondering what's the best way to clean coffee and tea stains on antique fine china?

  • anitarn 9 Aug, 2008

    Please tell me the name of the place in New York that repairs broken china and pottery like new. It was featured in a past show. Thank you, Anitarn

  • anitarn 9 Aug, 2008

    In a past show, Martha did a segemnt on a place in New York that mended broken China and pottery like new. I recently broke one plate from a treasured, antique two-tiered cookie stand that has been in my family over 60 years. I am heartbroken. Your help would be most appreciated. Thank you very much.