Table leg repair

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Forum topic by AandCstyle posted 01-21-2021 09:03 PM 475 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View AandCstyle's profile


3293 posts in 3264 days

01-21-2021 09:03 PM

Topic tags/keywords: leg repair tip drill press

Hi to everyone! I haven’t posted anything here in a long time because I ran out of interesting projects.

Then a friend asked if I could fix a table that her father had made. He has Alzheimer’s and fell and broke one of the legs. It was “lucky” that the break was clean. I thought the best fix would be to drill both pieces and glue a dowel into them to hold the pieces together.

I was fortunate to have a 3/4” oak dowel on hand and a 3/4” Forstner bit and the broken section has a 7/8” diameter. I cut off the bits of wood that stuck up above the break on both pieces. I used a compass to draw a 7/8” diameter circle on blue tape and stuck the circles on the broken ends and center punched where the point of the compass had been.

Next to the drill press. The short leg section was still in the table but the leg was close enough to the edge so I could clamp it to the DP table. The longer piece of the leg was more of a challenge. I made a tall skinny box just larger than the diameter of the leg, The base of the box was oversized to clamp it to the DP table and there was no top. I put a screw up through the bottom of the box into the foot of the leg to keep it centered and wedged the top to hold it in place while drilling. The purpose of the box was to keep the tapered leg plumb while I was drilling it.

Once that was done, I cut the dowel to length and epoxied the dowel into the cavities I had drilled out. If you look closely you will be able to see the dark line where the two pieces meet. It isn’t fine woodworking but the table wasn’t either so I am happy with the outcome.

The table is a unique design.

Thanks for looking.

-- Art

17 replies so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


6315 posts in 3820 days

#1 posted 01-21-2021 09:12 PM

Nice save.

People just don’t know how hard woodworking can be until they try it themselves. Just fix a table leg, sure sounds easy enough. But then you realize you need to build a jig just to get it drilled out etc. etc. etc.

Well, they came to the right guy. If anyone could fix something, it would surely be you.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

6829 posts in 1589 days

#2 posted 01-21-2021 09:19 PM

Good job saving the leg, Art!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Maro2Bear's profile


40 posts in 40 days

#3 posted 01-21-2021 09:41 PM

Nice save! At first glance, i thought they wanted you to fix the father’s leg! And then I started to think of the origins of “peg leg”. Nice fix.

-- Mark B. Glenn Dale, MD

View oldrivers's profile


2461 posts in 2573 days

#4 posted 01-21-2021 10:23 PM

I’d say you did big! A good fix and that leg is probeley stronger at that point than any of the others.

-- Soli Deo gloria!

View Loren's profile


11010 posts in 4655 days

#5 posted 01-21-2021 11:10 PM

Well done. I’ve fixed several of those turnings and it’s not so easy.

I freehand drilled dowel holes for a similar fix once. I got lucky and the holes lined up.

I’ve also done it by gluing the ends together and routing into one side for a 3/8” thick “loose tenon”. That worked very well though it’s a hassle to do it.

View bondogaposis's profile


5949 posts in 3358 days

#6 posted 01-21-2021 11:24 PM

Nice work there, creative too.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View sras's profile


5865 posts in 4136 days

#7 posted 01-22-2021 03:22 AM

You make that sound easy, but it is tricky work. Nice save!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Kelly's profile


3372 posts in 3951 days

#8 posted 01-22-2021 03:48 AM

I tried tell all of them you were impressive for a grownup, but would they listen?

[only those who posted here ;)]

Good job.

View John Jardin's profile

John Jardin

94 posts in 647 days

#9 posted 01-22-2021 10:46 AM

Very well done…nice pics too

View AandCstyle's profile


3293 posts in 3264 days

#10 posted 01-22-2021 12:25 PM

Thanks, everyone. :)

-- Art

View BillInInd's profile


7 posts in 211 days

#11 posted 01-22-2021 01:24 PM

Nice job! As others said, people do not know how difficult it is to save a leg. You’re the hero today!

-- BillInInd

View runswithscissors's profile


3128 posts in 3032 days

#12 posted 01-26-2021 04:42 AM

I know that it is very difficult to get holes like that perfectly vertical and lined up. A way around that is to use an undersized dowel (turn one on the lathe if necessary), then glue it in with epoxy thickened with sanding dust. The extra space around the dowel allows for sideways and tilt adjustability. I have used this method a number of times. Saves having to drill perfect holes.

If the holes are badly out of alignment, you can turn one end of the dowel first, then re-center the dowel in the lathe and turn the other end. The offset compensates for the bad alignment. Again, a little slop in the fit is taken care of by the thickened epoxy.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View splintergroup's profile


4650 posts in 2229 days

#13 posted 01-28-2021 12:23 AM

You could earn your keep on a pirate vessel, arrrr! 8^) Nice fix!

I’m surprised you have reached the end of the internet for project ideas, time to bust up some old pieces and give them a fresh look!

View AandCstyle's profile


3293 posts in 3264 days

#14 posted 01-28-2021 01:46 PM

Runswithscissors, that is a good suggestion.

Splint, I enjoy making new things with new challenges but making the same things repeatedly begins to feel like production work and that isn’t my bag.

-- Art

View Rich1955's profile


314 posts in 397 days

#15 posted 01-28-2021 02:16 PM

There are so many people out there who would have just put that out in the garbage. It’s nice to see someone fix things so it has an extended life. I have an old dresser that was getting loose, I took the whole thing apart, cleaned the old glue, and put it back together. It should last longer then me! Great job fixing that table!

-- Rich

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