Skip to main content

Remote repairs

Diagnosing a wobbly table is a cinch. Unless, of course, that table happens to be 175 miles away.

Once again, I’m working on a table for my sister-in-law. Last time, it was laminating a tabletop at a beach house, and trying to anticipate everything I’d need to take. At least then I knew what I’d be doing when I got there, even if I didn’t bring everything I needed. This time, though, all I know is that the table is wobbly.

This is a big trestle table, with intricate pedestals on each end. My brother-in-law emailed a description of the issues, as well as some fairly good photos he took crawling around underneath it. Based on that, I think this is a simple case of there being a lot of loose screws needing retightened all over the place. There may also be some loose tenons here and there, but that’s mostly just glue and clamps. So, it sounds like a simple fix, with me needing to load up a minimal amount of tools and supplies to effect repairs. But, then again…

I don’t mind woodworking for relatives, and it’s always a win-win when I can get brownie points and a nice dinner out from the in-laws. But all the unknowns of working on something so far away – and, in this case, with me not being a hundred percent sure what actual issues I’ll face – always make me worry about the outcome.

Related Articles

Done right

That table lamination project is now history. While I had my doubts, it came out pretty nice. Of course, there were some ups and downs.

Half right, totally successful

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

Getting a lift

I finally bought something I’ve been wanted for years: a router lift for my router table.


Two things happened this week that helped me regain a sense of balance in the way I look at things.

And then what?

I’m always annoyed by online posts that relate some event, but then never follow up to tell me what eventually happened. Here, then, a few follow-ups.

Lucky find

Without even trying, we found a match for a piece of furniture. It needs some work, of course.