How to repair a broken leg on furniture

Written by mark morris
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How to repair a broken leg on furniture
Use a dowel to reattach broken legs. (dowel pin image by Jim Mills from Fotolia.com)

Furniture legs take all the abuse. Not only do they hold the weight, but dragging furniture across rough floors can put quite a strain on them as well. Add to that fact that the leg frequently is one of the thinnest and least supported pieces of your furniture, and you have a recipe for broken furniture legs. Many legs can be repaired as long as all pieces of the leg are present.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Wood glue
  • Matchstick
  • Clamps
  • Masking tape
  • Drill
  • 1/4-inch drill bit
  • 1/4-inch dowel

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Turn the furniture over to relieve the weight from the broken leg. Set it on a pair of saw horses or other flat, sturdy work surface. Turn tables on their top and other furniture onto a back or side to make the leg easily accessible.

  2. 2

    Assess the damage. Examine threads or bolts attaching the leg to the furniture, these frequently strip out of the body of the furniture. Collect all of the pieces of a splintered leg and reassemble to be sure that the pieces can be fit back together.

  3. 3

    Place a matchstick into a hole in wood that has been wallowed out, or stripped, so that the hole is loose and the leg will not tighten into the base of the furniture. Break the matchstick off even with the top of the hole. Place the leg into position and twist the leg clockwise to tighten the leg into place. The matchstick provides additional friction and pressure to hold the screw in place. More than one matchstick may be needed for some holes. Use the same technique to tighten screws in corner leg braces that are stripped, causing legs to fail.

  4. 4

    Apply glue to the inside surfaces of a splintered leg. Use a PVA or hide type wood glue, which creates a bond stronger than the original wood fibres. Carefully set the pieces together snugly and clamp them together using spring or C clamps, or wrap the leg with masking tape to hold it in place. Allow 24 hours for the glue to harden before removing the clamps or tape.

  5. 5

    Bore into legs that are broken off cleanly to rejoin them with a dowel rod. Mark the centre of the leg on both pieces. Drill a ¼-inch hole into each piece 1 inch deep. Cut a ¼-inch dowel 1 ¾ inches long. Apply wood glue to the holes in both pieces of the broken legs and to the surrounding broken surface.

  6. 6

    Set the dowel into the hole in the piece of leg still attached to the furniture. Set the broken piece of leg, centred on the dowel, onto the leg and line up the broken ends. Clamp the leg in place with a bar clamp and allow 24 hours for the glue to harden.

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