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Half right, totally successful

My long-distance table repair project turned out fine, despite my diagnosis not being quite on the money.

I recently talked about a table repair I needed to do for my sister-in-law, a true flying-blind project in that I didn’t really know what the issue was other than, “It wobbles.” The table, a massive trestle design with heavy turned pedestals on each end, had a loose top. From some photos my brother-in-law sent, I’d hoped that simply tightening up attachment screws might do the trick.

In fact, the attachment screws were loose, but the table was old and even when fully retightened the top still wobbled. I backed out and measured one of the screws, and determined it could easily go a full 3/8" deeper, so I simply drilled the pilot holes deeper and countersunk the screws so they’d seat farther in, plus added an extra new screw on each end. Bingo, problem solved. For this portion of the repair, my diagnosis was spot-on.

However, the table also wobbled at the bottom where the pedestals rested upon their bases. While maybe 50-60 years old, the table was still an example of production furniture, so I was hoping I’d find a bolt of some sort underneath. Flipping it over I found, instead, a big fat through-tenon on the bottom. Not what I expected, but an easy fix.

As I’d noted, the table is old, so that tenon had shrunk over the years – but that made the fix easy. Using some scrap wood my brother-in-law had, I cut some wedges and simply wedged the tenon from underneath until tight and solid. Once again upright, the table proved to be as rigid as the day it rolled off the assembly line. So, while my initial assessment was only half right, the final repair job was a complete success.

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