When I picked up this Leclerc Nilart the owner was very quick to point out a repair that had been made to a damaged keyhole slot in the castle top. Hauled home in pieces I set this piece aside and got to it yesterday. Upon applying a slight pressure to the repaired piece it readily popped apart. It appear that someone tried to use wood glue to hold it in place. I am glad that someone did this as it at least kept the piece together with the loom until I could repair it more solidly today.
The first thing that needs to be noticed is the deep check made all the way through the top. I am much more inclined to believe that the drying out of the wood in this spot aided in the breaking of this piece rather than vice versa. In fact I would be certain of it. There is another check in the wood that runs through the other keyhole on the same side of the castle top as well. Taking away wood from a spot this close to the end of a wet board caused this to happen and the piece to be popped loose.
A repair like this requires more force in order to both reattach the piece as well as to stop the check from spreading. I could remove the wood in total and add a replacement, stabilized piece, but that would look odd. I could also drill, countersink a nail, and fill the nail hole in order to add mechanical strength to the top, but I really think that most of the instability has already happened. I think that a good epoxy will: fill the crack, stop further checking, and reattach this broken piece. This is the simplest repair that I believe will best serve this loom.
Mixing epoxy I allowed it to harden into a thick paste before applying. Using my finger I forced it into the crack until it was filled. I then applied it to both the broken piece and where it reattaches…enough that when I pressed the piece back into place that extra epoxy was squeezed out. It is very important to wipe off as much excess epoxy as possible at this point. When dry epoxy becomes as hard as steel and requires a lot of effort to sand off. Since the under side of the top is not well finished it will take considerably less effort to sand it and make it blend in than on the top where a varnish was used and the repair is much more likely to stand out. Time to let it set up, then to sand and oil tomorrow…