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Thread: Fixing A Broken Table Leg

  1. #1

    Fixing A Broken Table Leg

    I've been asked to fix a broken table leg. It is ~ 3/4" in diameter and the break is a diagonal one. Normally I would bore a hole in the center of each piece and glue a dowel to bridge the break. Because of the diagonal nature of the break, I'll only be able to estimate the center and the likelihood of hitting exact center in both pieces is nil. I was thinking about making the hole over sized, insert the dowel, fill the overdrilled area with epoxy and then visually align and secure the leg while the epoxy sets.
    Any other suggestions are most welcome.

  2. #2
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    That sounds like a good idea to me. I would coat the surfaces with thin epoxy (not the 5-minute kind) and then add some fumed silica to thicken the remaining epoxy mix , fill the holes, insert the dowel and put the pieces together. You can mask the outer surface of the leg with clear packing tape so the xpoy won't stick to the outside.

  3. #3
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    First off, from the description this sounds like a classic break along the grain boundaries and therefore I would just spread some glue (titebond 2 for example) on the break surfaces, line it up, wrap it tightly with several wraps of stretchy packaging tape and wait for the cure to finish. Remove the tape, clean it up and call it good. I have done this with a shovel handle and a rake handle and it holds up well. Some folks say the glue is stronger than the wood itself.

  4. #4
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    +1 for what Pat says. No dowel needed unless the kids still want to throw the table around or scoot it across the carpet. I prefer Titebond I, but all wood glues are stronger than the wood if you keep a thin glue line by clamping.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Coers View Post
    No dowel needed unless the kids still want to throw the table around or scoot it across the carpet.
    It was "kids" that broke it. Guess I'll consider the dowel. Thanks for the input.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Krawford View Post
    It was "kids" that broke it. Guess I'll consider the dowel. Thanks for the input.
    They'll just break the table somewhere else. Fix that problem before fixing the leg. Teach them to respect things and to know the difference between furniture and playground.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Angrisani View Post
    They'll just break the table somewhere else. Fix that problem before fixing the leg. Teach them to respect things and to know the difference between furniture and playground.
    I am with Joe on this one. Even if you manage to make a dowel to work on the leg, it only means that it probably wont break in the same spot next time. Plus, my understanding is that when done correctly(Pat's solution) a glue joint is stronger than the wood fibers. Plus, Plus, what about the other legs? And lastly, teaching the kids how to treat furniture (and everything else) properly is the correct solution, not making it indestructible. Depending of the age of the kids involved, I would also consider getting them heavily involved in fixing the leg as well.
    Just my .02 cents.
    Larry J Browning
    There are 10 kinds of people in this world; Those who understand binary and those who don't.

  8. #8
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    I think you are asking for a world of trouble to get the dowel holes drilled on center also. Unless you have a lathe you can chuck the pieces into and some forstner bits, I can't see you drilling the holes concentric, and coaxial so they line up properly in both pieces. If you do this I'd sure be interested in seeing / hearing about how it worked for you.

  9. #9
    Not to beat this to death but there were a couple other factors not mentioned in my original post.
    This was strictly an accident involving my granddaughter. The table was a tall plant stand with a narrow base. Somewhat an accident waiting to happen. I also neglected to mention that my son had tried to fix it with Gorilla glue and it failed. As a result, I had to scrape this off in order to have a clean surface to glue. This resulted in a less than perfect mating of the 2 surfaces. I ended up drilling a 3/8" hole and used a 1/4" dowel. I inserted the dowel in the longer piece first and let it set up before mating the shorter piece. This allowed me to align the 2 pieces nearly perfectly by taking advantage of the play from the over drilled hole. The end result (given the circumstances) was nearly perfect and everyone was happy.
    Thanks again for the input.

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