How to fix this table


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Old 11-26-15, 07:36 PM
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How to fix this table

Hi all, hoping I can find some help with a problem I'm having here. I inherited this beautiful table from my grandparents but the table isn't level and is getting worse. The problem seems to come from the fact that one of the legs is splitting. I know nothing about woodwork but the little bit of advice I have gotten from people I know is to use wood glue and a clamp. That's the most I've gotten and I really don't know whether to take it as gospel or where to run with it if that's what I need. Was wondering if someone could tell me what I should buy specifically and give me a step by step on what to do here. I would really like to keep this table, not just because it's gorgeous but for the memories as well.

I've included some pictures here of the table, the leg, and a close up of the split if that helps. Thanks in advance.

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Old 11-26-15, 07:53 PM
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It's hard to see exactly what kind of joinery was used. The bottom picture almost looks like a tenon, but you sure shouldn't be able to see light through the tenon!!! That's a little worrisome. You might be able to flip the table upside down and get a better idea of what's going on there. I would definitely do this sooner rather than later.

If glue and a clamp are the solution, I would recommend standard Titebond wood glue and a web clamp. Even a ratchet strap would work. The strap would go around the tips of the legs and as you tighten it, it would push the legs onto the base as tight as they would go. But you would not want to over tighten it, or it would start to rock the legs too far in the opposite direction.

If turning the table over reveals something new, send us the pics. Maybe the legs don't have a true tenon and it's more like a biscuit that's been driven down into the legs.
 
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Old 11-27-15, 05:32 AM
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That is a nice table. Turning it upside down is a great idea.
If I were repairing this, I would be tempted to try and remove the leg completely and then reattach with the original tenon, dowels or biscuits. Tenon is best.

I wouldn't force it, but I would test to see how difficult it would be to separate the leg. Even if the wood split, it might not be bad if you can get a clean break. The wood glue is very strong when clamped and left to dry overnight.
 
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Old 11-27-15, 06:29 AM
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Just a caution, don't be tempted by Grorilla glues. They expand as they set and you will have a mess the next morning when you go to check and it has oozed all over the place. I made the mistake when they first came out to try to quiet some antique chairs I had bought for my dining room. I refinished the cushions myself and they tried to glue them up. Man was I disappointed when I looked at them the next day.
 
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Old 11-27-15, 05:39 PM
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Here are some more pics of the leg in question plus some comparison shots.

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Old 11-28-15, 02:53 AM
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I'd take that side apart [remove the brackets] glue it up and reinstall the brackets. Where the missing chunk of wood is you'll need to use a longer screw.
 
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Old 11-28-15, 04:20 AM
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I think I see cracks long way in the leg. I would first try to get some glue in crack to help stabilize the leg, Work glue in crack any way you can and clamp. After it drys (overnight) than glue and clamp leg to table. Are those nails or screws in brace. either way take them off fill holes with either wooden matches or toothpicks (put glue on pick and force as many in hole as you can without splitting leg) put clamp on leg first so you can't split. If nails I would reinstall with screws unless you are trying to keep original.
Grorilla glues are very strong but can be very messy. if a tendon in leg follow directions and put only on tendon (don't forget to dampen) use regular tiebond on rest of leg. Use damp cloth to wipe any squeeze out.
 
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Old 11-28-15, 05:15 AM
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Good eyes, Don. I would do as he said about inserting glue in the cracks, and possibly find some metal stock wider than the brackets shown, allowing for two screws on each part, leg and post. That would get the screw away from the existing cracks and could possibly give better holding ability.
 
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Old 11-28-15, 06:13 AM
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Here are glue syringes available at Rockler if you think you need them. It would help to get as much glue as you can into the split.

Precision Glue Applicators - Rockler Woodworking Tools
 
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Old 11-29-15, 11:17 PM
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Okay, let's see if I've got this down before I head to the store. (And by all means, someone correct me if I leave something out or have the wrong impression.)

1. Turn the table over and remove the screws.
2. Put woodglue in the cracks and the parts that are splitting. (As suggested above, avoid gorilla glue. Titebond was recommended.)
3. Use either a web clamp or a ratchet strap to hold everything in place while the glue dries.
4. Replace the screws. Will need a longer screw for where that missing chunk of wood is.

Does that look like a good step by step summary? I'm a little nervous about this truth be told. This is our first table, it's an heirloom with sentimental value, and if I screw this up we might have to buy a new one. But I guess I've got to tackle it sooner rather than later.
 
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Old 11-30-15, 02:48 AM
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You may have missed or dismissed my suggestion, but you will be using the same weak holes if you don't change brackets. I think you need new holes and a wider plate with spread holes will allow you to grab new wood with a pilot and new screws.
 
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Old 11-30-15, 03:46 AM
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You also might want to glue and clamp the legs individually if they have splits in them... doing that as part of step 2, waiting several hours, before moving on to step 3. Can't say what specifically needs to be done when we can't see the wood under the bracket. At a minimum, the old holes should probably be plugged- drilled out and new wood inserted. (Glue in a dowel, cut flush once dry). I also think a wider bracket with 2 screws is a good idea. A welding shop could give you a steel plate just the right size.
 
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Old 11-30-15, 04:41 AM
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Nothing to be nervous or scared about, you've got all the advice you need.

Here's a few more tips to ensure a good fix:

- The glue will hold, especially if the original tenon is in place and you apply glue to all sides of the tenon and inside the mortise. Use a wide artist's brush.
- Move the legs a little, shifting them very slightly. Basically the legs should "fall" into place and you should be able to align the legs in the same exact position as original
- The clamp doesn't have to be super tight. Just snug up the clamp and wipe off excess glue.

Any splits in the wood will be hardest to fix. You might think you are getting glue in the crack and are not. Hopefully you can open up the crack a little using a wedge and get some glue in there.
If there's any doubt, use the syringe.

The strap on bottom and the missing chunk of wood can be fixed after legs are glued and dry.

For the strap, you can shop for a Simpson Strong Tie strap, available everywhere. It would have to be cut to length, but you can get rid of the 2 straps and have only 1 strap that connects the two legs together.



-
 
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Old 11-30-15, 05:49 PM
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Thanks for all the tips. Guess it's time to give it a whirl.

(And Chandler that omission of mine I am going to have to blame on a long day and a late night. The advice is greatly appreciated and is being taken into account.)
 
 

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