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Cabinets, Furniture, Woodworks/Can my split Ethan Allen piece be fixed ?


QUESTION: Dear Expert,
I have a lovely Ethan Allen "chest on chest" set of drawers which had spent a couple of years in an unheated garage. There is a long split in the grain along one end of the chest now. This interferes with opening the drawers. My question is...can this be fixed? My thought would be that it could be glued, braced, and straightened in large vices. Is this possible? I would love to have it back in action. It was an expensive piece years ago when we purchased it.
Thank you for any advise you can give,

ANSWER: Hi Lisa, it likely could be repaired by someone who knew what they were doing...heat or no heat, it is the lack of, or rapid change, and/or wide ranges of low humidity that cause such damage. Can you post some pictures?...regards, Greg

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Greg,
Thank you very much for your quick answer.
I now have hope it can be repaired. I am unable to post photographs at this point. But maybe it would help if I mentioned that the spit on the side is about in the middle of the piece of wood. I even wondered if the side of the chest was made of several pieces of wood glued/ pressed, or somehow fastened together to make the large side of the furniture.
Thanks again for your answer. Oh, do you think it would be a very expensive repair on the average?
Than you, Greg

Hi Liz, sorry about the late reply, for some reason the system is not notifying me of pending questions in a timely manner. It is possible that the split could be a glue line, where two boards meet...typically, if the finish is in good shape, it shouldn't be too expensive a fix, but without seeing it, I cannot begin to even guess. It will be important to ascertain whether the drawer runner/ support system is attached to the sides, and how they are attached, as they may need to be moved, or reattached to allow the side to be repaired. A qualified Restorer/Cabinetmaker should be able to dope that out rather quickly and easily.They also should be able to offer you a free estimate as a general rule, so don't be afraid to seek someone out. A long standing Antique shop is usually a good place for a recommendation, as they usually have someone they use regularly.Best of luck,

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Greg Scholl


Questions on Woodworking, wood finishing and refinishing of all kinds, repairing furniture and wooden objects, Architectural details, Woodturning, carving, tool usage, product usage, some chemistry as it applies to woodworking and related interests,cabinet making and furniture construction/design, etc. I have experience with all manners of colorants, finishes, paints, stains, dyes, glazes, and coatings, wood species recognition and usage,tool recommendations, blade types and recommendation,techniques and methods for many Woodworking related issues, etc.


Fine furniture restorer and cabinet maker for over 30 years,serving high end Antique dealers, Interior designers, Collectors in the CT area. Consulting for area Painting/Decorating and Building contractors on non painting issues..(staining, wood prep.,clear finishing, floor restoration and architectural detail restoration and repair, etc.) Sold, built, serviced, setup Home, Industrial, and Commercial stationary woodworking tools for a major tool retailer in CT. for three years, sold hand and power tools , provided knowledge, parts replacement, service, and on site service, Trade show Demo, and training as well.

Published in Fine Woodworking Magazine (12/97), included on Fine Woodworkings first "Best of Fine Woodworking" CD-ROM (2002) ...("27 year compilation of expert know-how")

Art School at Silvermine Guild in Norwalk, CT., 9 year apprenticeship in a European run Cabinet and Restoration shop in CT., various classes on subjects having to do with the field. Seminars from major Tool manufacturers, Skil/Bosch, Delta, Powermatic, Ritter, Porter cable, Milwaukee, Dewalt/B&Decker, Performax.

Past/Present Clients
Many varied clients including work on Martha Stewarts' Westport, CT. show house, many fine Antique dealers and private collectors in and around Fairfield County and in Woodbury, CT. (the Antiques capital of CT.), Golden Age of Trucking Museum,Consulting for area Painting/Decorating and Building contractors on non painting issues..(staining, wood prep.,clear finishing, floor restoration and architectural detail restoration and repair, etc.), local Museums and Historical Societies. For the last two years I have been employed with Schwenke Auctioneers Inc.- Woodbury Auction LLC., as a staff photographer,IT tech,and doing restoration and repair work as well.

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