Hot Topics: I Broke the Legs Off My Hutch - Now What?

A Crate & Barrel china hutch with the legs broken off.

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There’s nothing wrong with buying mass-produced furniture. From a reputable source, it will be plumb and square and good to look at. But it’s often not sturdy enough to survive a move. When you snap the legs off the china hutch dragging it to its new spot, the piece could be a total loss - but if you’re a DIYer, the Forum can help you get it back on its feet.

Original Post: Repair Crate & Barrel China Cabinet Legs

rw2003 Member

Hi... Looking for some advice before I start the repair...

I have a C&B China Cabinet that is 72 inches high x 36 inches wide x 18 inches deep. Recently, while moving it, 2 of the legs snapped off. I need to reattach them, but good enough so the cabinet stays up!

The bottom of the cabinet is ½-inch plywood base and the trim/leg pieces form a rectangle that attaches to under the base by wood screws. The trim/leg pieces are attached to themselves at each corner using wood dowels and cam/metal pins to hold them together.

The two problems I have... 1 - On two of the legs, the metal pin was sheared in half so I can no longer secure the leg to the trim piece other than using the dowels. 2 - The screw hole on the ½-inch plywood base of the cabinet was sort of gouged out when the mounting screw was ripped out.

I need to figure out best way to reattach the legs to the trim pieces and then reattached the two legs and trim piece to the cabinet base.

Any suggestions are appreciated!

Hot Topics, I Broke the Legs Off my Hutch – Now what?
Close up view (bottom of cabinet) of where the missing legs/trim pieces belong.
Hot Topics, I Broke the Legs Off my Hutch – Now what?
Close up of underside of cabinet showing how the legs/trim pieces are attached to each other and screwed into the base.
Hot Topics, I Broke the Legs Off my Hutch – Now what?
Two legs connected by a trim piece - this is what was broken off from the base. This is 3 parts - 2 legs and 1 trim piece that are attached together via wood dowels and the cam/metal pin. You can see the way the legs and trim are connected here - I took them apart by twisting the cam a 1/4 to 1/2 turn and pulling... no glue on the dowels apparently.

Hot Topics, I Broke the Legs Off my Hutch – Now what?

This is a close up of same leg showing the face up side where the metal pin was sheared off and the 2 holes for the dowels.

Highlights from the Thread

Handyone Forum Topic Moderator

The legs were not designed strong enough for hutch to be dragged.

I used your picture as an example of how to fix.

Glue wood dowels. Use an artist's brush to apply glue in holes and around outside of dowels. Clamp and let dry overnight. I would recommend you do this all around and not only the broken legs.

Once you have reconstructed the base, add a second piece of solid ¾-inch lumber to the backside of each of the 4 skirts (yellow outline). Attach the added pieces to the legs using pockets screws and glue.

There are inexpensive pocket hole jigs you can purchase. Post back if you need tips on how to do it. You will need a drill, clamp, and a 3/8-inch drill bit with stop or a special bit.

Hot Topics, I Broke the Legs Off my Hutch – Now what?

joecaption1 Member

Wood glue and a Kreg tool should fix it. I'd also do the ones that have not broken off.

rw2003 Member

Thanks for the replies and advice...

My original thought was to use small 90 degree angle irons to secure the skirts to the bottom of the cabinet once the legs were reattached to the skirts. I can see that the ¾-inch wood bracing would be more secure.

So just to be exact....

I reassemble the legs to the skirts using wood glue on the dowels (ignoring the broken metal pins) and then glue the two good ones as well. (So now the 4 legs and skirts are attached to each other and the four skirts are attached to the bottom of the cabinet via the sunken screws).

Placing the newly added ¾-inch wood braces (one for each skirt) next to the each skirt, I secure each brace to the existing skirt using a few screws. Then using pocket screws and the jig to drill, I attach the braces to the legs.

What about attaching the ¾-inch wood braces to the bottom of the cabinet? Should I use additional screws similar to the way the skirts are screwed in? Am I gluing any of these pieces?

Handyone Forum Topic Moderator

You're correct, just double up the sides. You could screw the new pieces to the existing skirts and glue them to the cabinet bottom instead of screwing.

If you haven't used pocket hole screws before, practice on scrap pieces to get your hole depth and screw length correct.

rw2003 Member

Hi. A month later and cabinet is repaired using your instructions! Pocket hole screws work great and easy enough for me to do!!!

Handyone Forum Topic Moderator

Thanks for the update. Pocket hole screws and glue work wonders.
You have made that furniture much stronger. Good Job.

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