Dining Table Repair
I had a couple glue lines split on the pedestal base of my dining table last night.  Oak, 100+ years old, and I'm assuming put together with hide glue.  

Basically too much weight was put on the table and the glue line failed on each side of one of the legs.  However, it appears that the glue line break only occurred lower down on the pedestal, up towards the top it seems fine.  

The broken part is towards the bottom of this picture, but it looks like I also have a split on the left too.

I've got two different repairs to consider.  Temporary and permanent.  For temp (because I'd like to use the table for a few days before doing the repair) I'm thinking something like a series of hose clamps around the base would hold that piece in place.  I've got about an inch to work with between the base of the leg and the bottom of the pedestal, so should be enough room.  Not positive I'll even try a temp method, but might make things easier.

For a more permanent repair my initial thought is to pop back in place, and inject some epoxy in those spots.  Considering the age I imagine the base is glued with hide glue, but I don't think drizzling that in there is going to do much of anything, and heating and taking apart the whole base sounds like hell.  I don't think I'd be able to get the base back together in any way that would look reasonable.  

Any suggestions?  Thoughts?

  Re: Dining Table Repair by msweig (I had a couple glue ...)
I would remove the legs and spread any loose joints apart, inject epoxy and use a band clamp.

Another option is a disc either od or id, but blocks access to bolts.

Probably was hide glue.
  Re: Dining Table Repair by msweig (I had a couple glue ...)
Wife and I had a antiques store for 20 years and those were common items for us. So, I gained some experience fixing that exact issue. Permanent repair w/epoxy is the correct idea. If you try to spread it further to get the epoxy in, you will run the risk of extending the break. So, use your hose clamp idea but above the break to prevent that. I used a steel clamp with bolts but the clamps should work.

Spread it as much as possible with thin wedges.

Inject the epoxy and close it up as much as possible with the hose clamps, moved to the bottom.

I've also added added little keys in the bottom of the cracks to help. Don't know if the really worked but they made me feel better about the repair.
  Re: Dining Table Repair by msweig (I had a couple glue ...)
I have found a trick that works for that. First remove the bolt that holds the leg on and remove the leg. I'm assuming that the split does not go farther than the bolt hole. So, start by drilling a hole, maybe 3/16 or 1/4" dia,, centered on the split, as deep as the drill bit will go, but don't go all the way into the bolt hole. Now, get a hardwood dowel and sand it down a bit so that it slides into the hole easily, but not loose. Now, inject some epoxy into the hole and push the dowel in or tap it in if necessary. The piston action of the dowel will push the epoxy into the split. If the epoxy pushes out one side more than the other, you may have to tape that side after it fills to get the other side to fill up. You may need to pull the dowel and inject more epoxy a couple of times. You will likely get the split filled up in the bottom of the hole before the top fills up. If so, cut off some the dowel and push it into the bottom of the hole and then go through the same process with the upper part. Once you get epoxy into the full length, put the rest of the dowel into the hole and clamp the split shut. The epoxy should hold it and the hardwood dowel will reinforce it.
  Re: Dining Table Repair by msweig (I had a couple glue ...)
Is there a way to make epoxy thinner so you can get it into a failed glue joint?
  Re: Dining Table Repair by msweig (I had a couple glue ...)
Ok.  So I couldn't get the legs off (I took out one of the bolts, and it didn't come right off.  From what I recall it came off easily when I refinished the table 10 years ago, so my guess is either the wood is swollen around the dowel at the top of the leg or the finish is acting like a mild glue).  So band clamp around the top of the legs, then epoxy into the cracks (I tried injecting with a syringe but the one I have around wasn't big enough to make this easy.  I got some epoxy deep, but not much.)  I used T-88, which is decently thick, but has a 45 minute open time, so I basically just kept adding epoxy to the cracks and it would slowly seep down into the cracks.  Then added a hose clamp at the very bottom to tighten things up.  And some epoxy came out of the cracks when I did that, so at least some areas there is enough epoxy to bridge the gap, just not sure how deep.

I like the key and dowel ideas.  I think the dowel will work better in this situation as the key would be in end grain, but I'll wait till the epoxy is fully cured before trying to do that, so sometime next week.

Thanks for the help!


  Re: Dining Table Repair by msweig (I had a couple glue ...)
I've repaired a bunch of table bases list this over the years.  Take the legs off but the dowels can be a problem on some if they are glued.  I used an angle drill and drill into the dowels to weaken them if they were stuck and ultimately replace them.  I've never been a proponent of epoxy, rather I use Titebond I.  In the case where crack goes the full length, that's easy to clean up and reglue.  In the case where the glue only goes part way down the length, I put some thinned Titebond on the inside and use a shop vac hose on the outside to pull the glue through the joint then use a strap clamp to tighten it up while it dries.
I had one especially bad one that needed to be reinforced.  I made a circle pattern for the bottom then used a router bushing and cutter to make a rabit and plug to fit it.  The cut only went so far then used a top bearing router bit to cut the depth on the rabit.  I didn't cut any more than I needed to in order to make a perfect circular opening and plug.  Once it was all set, used a Kreg jig to make some screw pocket holes in it along with a 4" hole saw to open the center up.  Once everything was in place put it all together and had access to the inside to allow the legs to be bolted back on.
Good luck on your repair.

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