Repairing broken mortise on table leg joint

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Forum topic by delgriffith posted 05-03-2019 01:26 PM 858 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 466 days

05-03-2019 01:26 PM

I am completely new to this stuff, so sorry if this is an easy fix. I have an old table I would like to make functional. Doesn’t have to be a perfect fix but just to make it useable. I find lots of info on how to repair tenons but nothing on the mortise. The table has just one leg with a perfect mortise. Two of them have been partially broken and I don’t have the broken parts, one of them is completely broken but I have the broken parts. I think I can just glue them back on, but not sure if that will have enough strength.. I have no idea what to do about the ones with missing broken wood. The mortise is partially there on both, maybe just glue and clamp and hope for the best?

Thanks for any help.

5 replies so far

View TechTeacher04's profile


447 posts in 2338 days

#1 posted 05-03-2019 02:10 PM

Based on the pictures I am not sure what the integrity of the entire end is or how much glue may still be present. Assuming that just the visible damage is the extent of the damage I would rout out the damaged material and associated glue and glue in a dutchman to replace the material that was removed. Now that you have stable solid material you can re-cut mortises, make floating tenons, glue and screw or whatever fix fits your intended use/skills set/tools available.

If you do not have tools to complete any of this you could try to glue what you have back together and add glue blocks to fill in what is missing. If possible the first description would give you a stronger end product, but assumes access to more tools. Good luck, share your result.

View Couvi's profile


7 posts in 466 days

#2 posted 05-03-2019 02:11 PM

It appears that two of the faces are in tack in the bottom photo and three in the top photo. If you have a router you can clean the damaged area with the router (make a jig so your router cleans out the proper area) then chiesl any rounded areas. You can then make a block that would fit in the evacuated area then re make th mortise.

-- Couvi

View SMP's profile


2255 posts in 712 days

#3 posted 05-03-2019 02:20 PM

Personally i would try and repair the wood as mentioned the best you can with glue or epoxy. But rather than mess with mortise, just use screw in corner brackets like this:

View delgriffith's profile


2 posts in 466 days

#4 posted 06-26-2019 07:25 AM

Ok so I cobbled together all the broken pieces that fit perfectly with wood glue, clamped overnight. Then cleaned out the mortises with sand paper and my dremel, blew out dust, and then filled the loose joints with gorilla glue structural epoxy clamped overnight. In all I’d say the joints were 60%-70% intact before doing the epoxy but mostly not tight fitting. It now feels very solid. Time will tell if it is a long term repair. If it starts shifting around I’ll look into corner brackets.

The significance of this old crappy table is that I’m pretty sure it was made from extra wood that the house I grew up in was built from. It came with that house, in the basement. The frame below the top looks like molding or some other random wood piece. And it looks and smells like that old 1908 Victorian house.

View MrRon's profile


5925 posts in 4050 days

#5 posted 06-26-2019 02:38 PM

If I were doing it, I would cut off the entire damaged portion and replace it with the same type of wood, if possible. A good epoxied butt joint and then new mortises. A couple of dowels can be added for strength.

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