Remote repairs

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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.

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