Working my way through the rebuild, repair, and refinish of an antique dresser we own that had been loose in the joints for a while and finally failed completely as my wife tried to move it away from the wall. This type of project has always been a little intimidating to me, there is a slightly different way of thinking and skill set involved, and while there are similarities to your standard "build it from scratch" woodworking, there are enough differences to make it interesting.
If you missed where we started from, you can catch up HERE.
I turned the work upside down on the bench to get a good look at what I had to work with. I found half a dozen glue blocks between the base and the top. At first I thought about just taking a beater chisel and tearing up the blocks. A very caveman like approach I agree, but it did cross my mind as a first answer and I pried a little with no good results.
I pondered my options. The rail parts I had been able to get off easily showed obvious evidence that the piece had been put together using hide glue. I thought about Stephen Shepherd and his great writing over at Full Chisel Blog. Stephen covers a great many subjects most directly related to 18th century woodworking and one of those subjects is his work repairing antique spinning wheels. Coincidentally while reading about these repairs he also taught me a good deal about hide glue.
I took a quick trip down the street to the hardware store and picked up a can of denatured alcohol, what did I have to lose. You can see in the picture above how I flooded the area around a couple of glue blocks, I also used a small brush to make sure I flooded the nooks and crannies around the blocks. Of course the picture above shows the absence of glue blocks as well. The real experiment was finding out how long to wait for the process to work.
I'm sure individual milage may vary, but I only had to wait around five minutes for each soaked block to be loose enough to pry it free with a chisel.
One of those things is hide glue. Without my predecessors use of hide glue the repair of this piece would have been incredibly more difficult how could I go any other route but to use hide glue to fit the piece back together.
Ratione et Passionis