August 16, 2022

Woody Woodworking

and its tools

Furniture Restoration Basics on a French Settee – Level 1 Woodworking Repair

3 min read

A Level 1 Woodworking Repair is about the fundamentals of furniture restoration. Learn how to take apart a loose piece of furniture and glue it up to last for decades to come. This base skill is the starting point to learn how to repair furniture.

This project is a French settee, brought to me by a customer. She will be gilding and caning this settee so she wants to ensure the structure is solid before investing time in finishing it. She also brought me a second settee that needed a minor glue up. The construction techniques are different in each of these and it’s interesting to see how one has stood up better than the other over time.

The first step is to disassemble the arms of the settee. This was difficult as the glue was still holding well, whereas the other joints in the settee were not. I use white vinegar to loosen glue in joints. A blunt-tipped syringe is the perfect tool for this work (see link below). The vinegar breaks down the glue and allows the joints to separate.

The next step is to take apart the base, which was easy to pull apart. The back was more secure so it required removing the pins in the mortise and tenon joints and needed some vinegar to loosen up the old glue.

Unfortunately, the tenons on the front curved rail were broken on both ends, so those required some repair. I used PVA glue where I had a solid wood-to-wood connection and epoxy where the pieces were worn and didn’t fit tightly together.

I then moved on to cleaning off the joints with a paint scraper and figuring out my clamping strategy. On an oval piece like this, there’s not natural place for clamps, so I clamped the base using strap clamps. For the arms, I devised a way to clamp the parts using finishing nails… a challenging glue up but it worked well.

For more learning resources about furniture repair, see our woodworking repair playlists, organized by skill level:
Level 1 Woodworking Repair Playlist –
Level 2 Playlist –
Level 3 Playlist –
Level 4 Playlist –

Syringes for injecting vinegar –
?? Canadian link –
Spreader Clamps –
Small Utility Knife –
Liquid Hide Glue –
Note: purchases made with these links help fund our video production work

00:00 Furniture restoration basics on a French settee – Level 1 Woodworking Repair
01:10 Comparing construction methods of two settees
01:39 Pinned mortise and tenon joint in furniture
02:25 Checking how loose the joints are in a piece of furniture
03:47 Taking the settee apart
04:48 Using vinegar to loosen glue in furniture joints
09:31 Removing furniture parts with wooden wedges
11:10 Disassemble settee base
15:13 Disassemble pinned mortise and tenon joints
18:38 Glue up the back of the settee
19:11 Repairing broken tenons
25:04 Cleaning glue and dirt off of the joints
26:03 Glue up settee base
27:58 Glue up of settee arms


See the tools we use in our workshop and the tools we recommend:
?? Canadian link –

This video is hosted by Scott Bennett, Owner of Wooden It Be Nice – Furniture Repair in Brooklin, Ontario, Canada.

#FurnitureRestoration #Settee #Repair

Woodworking News Source: Fixing Furniture

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