Gothic Furniture: How To Fix a Broken Table Leg

Gothic furniture tends to be quite robust, but accidents can happen. Damage to a Gothic piece needs careful attention.

Is It a Genuine Antique?

Before you start to work out how to repair a broken Gothic table leg you must make sure that it's not a genuine antique. Even though the damage will affect the value of an antique, a professional repair can reduce the impact.

How Badly Is the Leg Broken?

Always assess the damage before deciding how to go about making a repair. If the leg is only broken away from the framework of the table, rather than actually broken itself, it might be possible to repair the break using wood glue. This would entail applying glue to the separated parts of the framework and then clamping them together until the glue dries.

If the Leg Itself Is Broken

A broken table leg can be mended if the break is clean. A leg that has broken across its length can be repaired using dowel and some accurate drilling.

  • A hole needs to be drilled along the center line of each part of the leg. This hole should be big enough to take a substantial diameter of dowel, but not so big as to weaken the leg further.
  • A piece of dowel the right size to fit the hole needs to be scored and then painted with wood glue and tapped into one of the holes. Insert the other end of the dowel into the other hole.
  • The two parts of the leg need to be lined up properly and then tapped home.
  • Any surplus glue should be wiped off immediately, although most of it will be on the broken faces of the ends of the leg.
  • When the glue has dried, the joint can be checked for security.
  • It's possible that the table will have a slight wobble. The bottom of the repaired leg might need a little shaved off.
  • Sand down the joint and try to color it so it doesn't show.

A Badly Broken Leg

In the case of a badly broken leg it will probably be necessary to make a new leg and replace the broken one. The old leg can be used as the template for the new one, so it needs to be saved.

  • Remove the leg from the table as carefully as possible. Many modern tables are easily dismounted.
  • Make the new leg or you might be able to buy a spare from the supplier.
  • Before fitting the leg, color it to match the table. The manufacturer might be able to supply the right color or tell you what color you should use.
  • Once you have the leg looking right, fit it to the table.

For many modern Gothic pieces of furniture, spare parts can be obtained to make repairs as easy as possible. The secret to a successful repair is the care taken in the final finish.