Goofed and missed important step - need help

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by Mark posted 11-08-2011 04:06 AM 1886 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Mark's profile


19 posts in 2977 days

11-08-2011 04:06 AM

Topic tags/keywords: joining arts and crafts oak question

Hello fellow woodworkers,

As I rnear the end of a bench that my mother in law asked me to make, I realized I skipped an important step. I’m using a biscuit jointer for all the joinery. I put the full frame of the bench together and then realized that I neglected to also do the biscuit joining and glue up the slats that will support the plywood base of the seat. So, I thought I’d make a “shelf” for the slats to sit on attaching them with screws – but for some reason the “shelf” I made is not screwing firmly into the red oak – it is loose and my screws are just rotating and not penetrating the bench deeper when I’m using my drill to try and get a solid joint. I’m afraid to go deeper because I don’t want to damage the outside of the bench. I’m attaching a couple of pictures. Any ideas on how I can put 3 or 4 slats on this bench so I can have a place to connect the plywood seat base that will be covered by an upholstered cushion.

Thanks for any and all ideas/help!


28 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117652 posts in 3993 days

#1 posted 11-08-2011 04:16 AM

Are you talking about the screws in the cleats not holding?

View PurpLev's profile


8551 posts in 4064 days

#2 posted 11-08-2011 04:17 AM

I think using the screwed on board to sit the slats on top is a good idea. but why is it loose? there could be several reasons:

1. board and bench back are not straight causing the support board to rock on a pivot point against the bench back.

2. screw hole are not correct size – the screw holes in the support board should be larger than the screw shank so that the screws go in without biting. the screws should only bite on the bench back and pull the support board to it.

3. pilot hole in bench back was not large enough or too large for the screw causing it to lose grip with the back of the bench.

I suspect you are experiencing a mix of 2 and 3. and if that is indeed the case – make through holes in the support bat with your drill that are larger than the screw shanks. then clamp it to the bench back, and using the correct drill size for your screws transfer the holes to the bench back – use a depth stop the length of the screw so that you don’t penetrate the bench back and use screws that are 1/4” shorter than the combined thickness of the bench back and your support bar so that there will not be a chance of penetrating through the bench back.

then screw the support bar to the bench – if you pilot holes are correct size you won’t even need a power drill – it should go smoothly and lock tight. another thing is that power drills can easily over screw in wood… careful with that.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2903 days

#3 posted 11-08-2011 04:19 AM

Assuming the ‘shelf’ and the side are 3/4” material, I would be tempted to use coarse thread Kreg screws 1 1/4” long and a bunch of Gorilla wood glue or Titebond II. Either glue is stronger than the wood is so the wood will break before the glue gives way.
Another way would be to add pieces across instead of along the length. Those could be secured with biscuits, dowels or pocket holes and glue.

Someone with more experience than I will chime in soon, but that’s what I would consider.

Good Luck, the bench looks good!


-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View devann's profile


2250 posts in 3108 days

#4 posted 11-08-2011 05:05 AM

When using Kreg screws in hardwood I’ve had better luck using the fine thread screw to get a tight fit. The coarse thread ones are recommended for softwoods. Glue and clamps should work too.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View CharlieM1958's profile


16283 posts in 4634 days

#5 posted 11-08-2011 05:39 AM

I would glue the seat supports on. The glue alone would be strong enough, IMO, but you can still come back and add screws for good measure after the glue dries.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Mark's profile


19 posts in 2977 days

#6 posted 11-08-2011 05:39 AM

Pilot Hole? Guess that was another step I skipped. My woodworking “green” is showing – just been doing this for about 9 months. Learning a ton. I’m going to try drilling pilot holes. But, someone mentioned just gluing it – will that work?

View devann's profile


2250 posts in 3108 days

#7 posted 11-08-2011 05:40 AM

yep, use titebond ll or gorilla glue

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View ShaneA's profile


7084 posts in 3014 days

#8 posted 11-08-2011 05:46 AM

Pilot holes will help, be careful to drill the right size and depth for your screws. Clamps and glue will work as well, the bond will be stronger than the wood, as mentioned. I cant tell from the pictures, but the bench does not have finish on it yet, does it? If so, go with screws. If no finish, then glue, screws, brads, clamps/glue will all get you there. Always try to use pilot holes when working with screws in hardwoods. Your life will be easier. Good luck

View Al Killian's profile

Al Killian

85 posts in 3041 days

#9 posted 11-08-2011 06:00 AM

Glue it on then nail it. This will give you ample support for your seat.

-- Owner of custom millwork shop

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 3385 days

#10 posted 11-08-2011 11:53 AM

Clamp the support on, mark the frame, then drill thru support and rail with a pilot bit. If you don’t have a bit depth stop collar, wrap a bit of masking tape around the bit at the right depth. Take off support and enlarge those holes for the screw shank. Screw should be in the rail by at least 6 threads.
If you have a pocket hole jig I would seriously consider adding screws to the inside corners to reinforce it (take a guide off the jig and hold it in place in the corner with an F clamp) – as you are asking a lot from the biscuits alone, either that or make 3/8 red oak dowels you can glue in from the sides.
Looks good, it would be a shame for it to come apart.

View Mark's profile


19 posts in 2977 days

#11 posted 11-08-2011 02:02 PM

ShaneA asked whether I had a finish on it yet. I’ve used min-wax wood conditioner followed by a min-wax stain. My thought process was that all the support would be hidden anyway so go ahead and stain without having to work around those pieces (I just stained those separately). So, with a stain on it, will the glue still work? I have not put the clear poly finish on yet.

Oh, and one more thing – those screws in the picture in the cleat which I now know is the more appropriate word for “shelf” – those are stuck. Any ideas on how to get them out without damaging the piece? They are just spinning round and round and I believe one is completely stripped.

View Don W's profile

Don W

19242 posts in 2983 days

#12 posted 11-08-2011 02:11 PM

I would have made the strips full length. Drilled and countersunk the screw holes, piloted the frame and glued and screwed. I agree with the others though, the screws are just to hold it until the glue dries, so nailing or clamping would work as well. The glue should hold as long as the stain is dry.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 3339 days

#13 posted 11-08-2011 02:29 PM

Did you use bisquits for the rail joints? Not sure that was a good idea. Anyone else care to comment on this? Seems like a weak joint for a stress point.

-- Life is good.

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 3193 days

#14 posted 11-08-2011 03:21 PM

Back the screws out and make sure they are not snapped off. Since this is a seat, drive 2 nails, one on each end in a downward angle. Take out the screws and using the next larger size, same length and drive them by hand with a drop of glue on each screw. Here is the reason -

The nails have a much higher shear strength than screws but loosen over time. Screws hold tighter.
Drill driven screws either snap off or drill out the wood – so you need to hand tighten. If, after you run your pilot holes, slightly counter sink one of the holes on a side that they are together, the two pieces will be a lot tighter together.

Hope this helps

-- David in Damascus, MD

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 3193 days

#15 posted 11-08-2011 03:25 PM

Oh – a couple other things – after looking at your picture, don’t put the screws in a straight line, you will split the wood.

And – looks good, nice job!

-- David in Damascus, MD

showing 1 through 15 of 28 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics