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Thread: Repair a broken chair leg

  1. #1

    Repair a broken chair leg

    broken1.jpgbroken3.jpgbroken4.jpgbroken2.jpg Hi friends, I do not have a lot of experience repairing furniture but was given the task to help a friend. See photos please. I'd love to insert a dowel but fear the two pieces would not fit like a glove like they do now. The break is not flat. If I misalign the dowel I could screw up the fit. Should I trust the wood glue alone? I figure once I glue, then sand, stain and finish. Any suggestions would be welcome!

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    David, how about, after gluing, drill and insert a nice big fat dowel up through the bottom of the foot ? Have you got or can you get a long enough drill bit ? You can get 3/8", 7/16" and 1/2" X 24" drill bits at Harbor Freight. Take it slow and drill straight.

  3. #3
    Interesting idea...

  4. #4
    I would glue first then cut a mortise in the back for a piece of wood. I would use a hollow chisel mortiser but overlapping holes and a chisel would also work.

  5. #5
    Another great idea Bradley. I don't have a hollow chisel mortiser but I think I know what it is. Can that work with my drill press?

  6. #6
    Also Bradley, won't the mortise show on one of the sides of the chair leg after cutting and sanding the piece of wood flush? If the wood is not the same as the wood used on the leg will I know it is there even after staining and finishing?

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    west epoxy painted on the broken wood, then epoxy thickened with microspheres to fill gaps, then held together with out too much pressure until cured. this will be as strong as the wood, which in this case doesn't seem ideal....

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by keith wootton View Post
    west epoxy painted on the broken wood, then epoxy thickened with microspheres to fill gaps, then held together with out too much pressure until cured. this will be as strong as the wood, which in this case doesn't seem ideal....
    I'm a beginner at this. You lost me at "west epoxy" and then "microspheres". Please tell me how and where to get both. Thank you.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    I would make a jig to hold the pieces for drilling on a drill press, drill a hole for a round tenon and fit the pieces.
    You might not even need to clamp the assembly, but you could make a clamping jig.
    With the jig made, you could dry fit the leg before glue up. You can rotate drill press table to position the loose part of the leg.
    Last edited by lowell holmes; 06-17-2019 at 7:07 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    State College, PA
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    If you want to add a dowel, but can't get the holes aligned well enough, perhaps you could drill the holes slightly oversized. Then use epoxy, thickened with wood flour or microspheres, to compensate for the loose fit.

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yonak Hawkins View Post
    David, how about, after gluing, drill and insert a nice big fat dowel up through the bottom of the foot ? Have you got or can you get a long enough drill bit ? You can get 3/8", 7/16" and 1/2" X 24" drill bits at Harbor Freight. Take it slow and drill straight.
    I like Yonak's idea. Glue first, then drill from the bottom of the leg for a dowel. Or instead of a wood dowel - drill, then insert a steel rod with epoxy in place of the wood dowel. I think a 1/4" diameter rod would be sufficient for your application. Steel rods area available at Ace Hardware, or Home Depot. Home Depot also sells the extended length drill bits.
    David

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by David Buchhauser View Post
    I like Yonak's idea. Glue first, then drill from the bottom of the leg for a dowel. Or instead of a wood dowel - drill, then insert a steel rod with epoxy in place of the wood dowel. I think a 1/4" diameter rod would be sufficient for your application. Steel rods area available at Ace Hardware, or Home Depot. Home Depot also sells the extended length drill bits.
    David
    I like David's idea of a steel rod. You just don't want that leg to break again when someone tips backward on the chair.

    And I like the idea of gluing it and then drilling the hole. It will be extremely difficult to drill holes in the two pieces and have the holes line up when you put them together.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  13. #13
    If you can't drill up from the bottom after gluing the break together, glue the break together then cut thru the break and then drill both pieces for a dowell. As mentioned earlier, if you can't get the holes to line up perfectly, drill the holes oversize and glue up with thickened epoxy.

  14. #14
    JB Weld is your friend. Being essentially epoxy and aluminum dust, it will fill an oversize hole and adhere a dowel or even a headless steel bolt. if you do use a metal dowel , be aware that threaded rod and rebar and the like are relatively flexible and should not be used on highly stressed joints- only tempered or hardened steel will do.

  15. #15
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Davies View Post
    JB Weld is your friend. Being essentially epoxy and aluminum dust, it will fill an oversize hole and adhere a dowel or even a headless steel bolt. if you do use a metal dowel , be aware that threaded rod and rebar and the like are relatively flexible and should not be used on highly stressed joints- only tempered or hardened steel will do.
    Hi Jeff,
    For this particular application, either of the items you have mentioned will work fine. Take is from a mechanical engineer with many years of experience. Let me know if you require a further explanation.
    David

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