Typical Mason Monterey A-Frame Repairs

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Most of the chairs were wobbly or loose jointed, and much of this had to do with broken or loose kerfs in the leg joins, examples shown left and right.  Kerfed tenons held the legs in the seat in the through mortise, and originally there may have been hide glue to secure the join.

MPFC had to repair loose leg connections on all the chairs, though not all the chair legs on each chair needed reparation!

Note: The kerf were topped with gesso and painted over so that when new, they blended into the overall seat, above left.  The chairs themselves were also gessoed before painting, so that the wood grain was never seen through the finish.

In these cases, kerfs were removed, mortises thoroughly cleaned of old glues, and sometimes a thin wooden shim was inserted into the mortise.  Often legs has screws or nails inserted to help hold the legs in place, and these had to be properly repaired so that the leg tenon was strong to form a secure bond.


Legs were also an issue on every single chair, some which had to be repaired, shown above, and some needed new legs due to radical structural breaks, left.

New legs had to be turned for several pieces, and preparing the new legs is a surprising amount of work!  Mitchell is shown right with several original legs.

First, a new leg is replicated (turned), and the tenon is left long so that it can be tailor-fit into the seat.

It needs to be rounded and distressed, left and below, then fitted and tailored to the seat and floor.

Once the leg is prepped and fitted, the wedges are fit on both old legs and new.  The wedges are then tamped tightly into the kerf which is filled with hide glue for added security, below left.  They are leveled to the seat height, below center, with saw and then a block plane.

Bottom, note that legs are all a bit wonky in their fittings; even those that were not disassembled!  We don’t know if they were ever perfectly symmetrical.

The second most common repair we reversed were those that nailed or screwed legs or stiles into place in a pinch.  In these cases, nails and screws were removed, holes filled if necessary, and a proper repair was performed, usually as  part of a general tuneup of the entire chair.

Some apparently were used as sawhorses, as saw cuts were evident, shown right, in the chair that became Chateau Orange after treatment.  Cuts were treated cosmetically, shown below.

That chair also lost one of the original stiles; possibly the stile was sawed in half!

Several chairs had partial splits in the seats, as shown right.  These were repaired by inserting a shim, above left, securing with hide glue, trimming and then clamping to cure in our seat frame, shown above right.


Keylocks were added to every chair, some along the board seam lines of the chair seat, and some to secure breaks.  We used two sizes.  For more on keylocks, visit the Smokey Maple A-Frame.

The Spanish Red A-Frame chair was broken in pieces with fragmented chards, a difficult repair.  After the chair break was disassembled (one leg refused to release) and reassembled, keylocks were added for extra security.

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