How to Repair a Loose Wooden Table Leg
Repairing a wooden table leg making it as sound and stable as its first day is a simple and satisfying procedure. Follow the steps below to add extra years of life to your dining furniture.
Step 1 - Do It Now
Head off serious problems by repairing loose table legs as soon as possible. Furniture legs depend on each other to distribute the load and to provide stability. Allowing the problem to continue adds stress to the other legs and table joints that could cause them to loosen as well.
Step 2 - Try This First
First tighten any loose screws. This may be the only fix necessary. Allow a few weeks of use and then check your troubled table leg. Tight and sturdy means you’re done. Loose, even if only small amounts means further repair is needed. Proceed to Step 3.
Step 3 - Apply Adhesive
Loosen the table leg slightly then inject wood glue into the loosened joint. Gently move the table so that the glue coats all the affected surfaces. Tighten the screws once more and then clamp the joint. Allow the glue to fully cure (consult the label directions) before removing the clamps or using the table.
Step 4 - If the Problem Persists
Add strength with a glue block. Triangular glue blocks are preferred. From a length of 1x2-inch oak or other hardwood use your square to mark and then cut one end to a 450 angle.
To establish the length of your glue block, from under the table place the freshly cut end against the inside vertical edge of the table joint (where the leg is attached). Allowing space for the table leg, use a pencil to mark the other vertical edge.
Ensure that you mark and make the second cut properly by picturing a triangle. The first angle you sawed is one side of the triangle. Using your square, mark the second 45° angle at the required length (the mark you just made under the table) then cut the board to form the opposite triangle side.
Avoid splitting your glue block by pre-drilling 3 holes, 1 at either end and 1 in the middle. Choose screw lengths that will allow penetration into the table about half of the table’s thickness but not so long that the screws exit the other side.
Apply glue to the end edges of the glue block then screw the two ends. The middle screw will fasten to the table leg. Clamp and allow the glue to cure before using the table.
Step 5 - An Alternate Brace
Steel brackets allow for a faster and easier support but will diminish the value of your table. Antique or valuable wood furniture should receive the custom glue blocks we described above.
Screw two steel 90° brackets to each side of the table leg and to the vertical table member that supports the leg. Use screws that penetrate the vertical member at least half way but not completely through to the other side.