Best way to fix wobbly bench/seat - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 Old 12-05-2012, 08:33 AM Thread Starter
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Best way to fix wobbly bench/seat

Good Morning,

I am building a vantity seat for my wife. Just a cheap one using pine. I am trying to see what works in my "shop" and what does not. When I get this done I will make he a better one.

Anyway. Two questions:

1. I glued the legs and upper pieces together and secured with pocket screws. (I was going to try for a different type of joinery but am doing baby steps right now) All the legs are the exact same size. The seat wobbles like one leg is shorter than the other. There is a gap about 1/16th to 1/8 between the leg and table. I think when I glued it it got twisted ever so slightly.

My wife said to bang it with a hammer. I did not think that was a good idea.
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Should I (a)sand the other legs down or (b) I am putting pads on the bottom of the legs, should I just shim there?

2. I used pocket screws and the seat feels pretty sturdy (wife is 105 soaking wet). I used supports in between the legs because I thought with pine it woould loosen over the years and needed the support. If I used Oak or another wood (cherry?) would the legs be supported OK with just the pocket screws, glue, and the upper framing of 1x3's?

Thanks
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post #2 of 11 Old 12-05-2012, 09:03 AM
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I agree banging with a hammer is not a good idea. It may enlarge the pocket holes and result in a loose joint.

It can be difficult to get legs to be exactly level, just as you are experiencing. Small differences in either length or the joint are so easy.

Another potential problem is that the floor where this is used may not be even.

These days I like to install special screws to allow me to take up any differences in the piece or the floor. I use these in the stands I make for my tools.

http://www.woodcraft.com/product/200...rs-4-pack.aspx

Whether you use pine, oak, or whatever wood, I personally would use horizontal stretchers between the feet. The stool is low, but any racking by a person sitting on the edge and moving so that only two feet are on the floor would put a large stress on the upper joints and could cause the stool to collapse.

I made a foot rest without horizontal supports and told myself it is only a foot rest. Some time later I needed to reach for something which was just out of reach, I pulled up the foot rest and as I reached I ended up tilting the foot rest so it was only on two legs and the joint gave way. No injury, only a few inch drop, but when I fixed the joint I added horizontal supports.
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post #3 of 11 Old 12-05-2012, 09:05 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Paine View Post
I agree banging with a hammer is not a good idea. It may enlarge the pocket holes and result in a loose joint.

It can be difficult to get legs to be exactly level, just as you are experiencing. Small differences in either length or the joint are so easy.

Another potential problem is that the floor where this is used may not be even.

These days I like to install special screws to allow me to take up any differences in the piece or the floor. I use these in the stands I make for my tools.

http://www.woodcraft.com/product/200...rs-4-pack.aspx

Whether you use pine, oak, or whatever wood, I personally would use horizontal stretchers between the feet. The stool is low, but any racking by a person sitting on the edge and moving so that only two feet are on the floor would put a large stress on the upper joints and could cause the stool to collapse.

I made a foot rest without horizontal supports and told myself it is only a foot rest. Some time later I needed to reach for something which was just out of reach, I pulled up the foot rest and as I reached I ended up tilting the foot rest so it was only on two legs and the joint gave way. No injury, only a few inch drop, but when I fixed the joint I added horizontal supports.
Thanks! As you can see I already put in two braces. I am ripping two other pieces of wood to add to the other sides.
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post #4 of 11 Old 12-05-2012, 09:16 AM
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I would find a shim

Place the bench on a surface that you know is flat, then slip thin pices under the short leg. Cut the best fitting piece to fit the leg and glue it on.
There are other ways to level a wobbly bench, but they are more complicated, require sawing all but the shortest leg....

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #5 of 11 Old 12-05-2012, 09:58 AM
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I would not use pocket screws. At this stage, remove them, as it's likely they could be keeping the parts apart. For the joints, press in some TB II or III, and clamp up the joint.

While it's clamped drill out a dowel hole into both mating parts. Use an ordinary " dowel rod, cut off for the depth you need leaving it slightly long. Score some grooves in the side, and make a slight chamfer (bevel) on the end that gets inserted. Lightly glue dowel and the hole with an acid brush, about of the way down. When the dowel is inserted, it will scrape the sides and push the glue to the bottom, so you don't want to load it in there.

Let it dry, Then remove the clamp, and cut the edge that's sticking out, and sand flat.





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post #6 of 11 Old 12-05-2012, 11:33 AM Thread Starter
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Hey! I just put in the other two horizontal braces and the stool is perfectly square and does not wobble at all! I did have it right..the legs were not 100 percent square to the floor making it wobble slightly. WIth the last two braces in no wobble. Thanks for the advice.

I want to get away from pocket hole screws but wanted to see how they worked out.
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post #7 of 11 Old 12-05-2012, 12:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mengtian View Post
Hey! I just put in the other two horizontal braces and the stool is perfectly square and does not wobble at all! I did have it right..the legs were not 100 percent square to the floor making it wobble slightly. WIth the last two braces in no wobble.
Glad to hear the woodworking gods decided to shine on you.

Now my luck would have this standing perfectly flat on the shop floor, but then wobble in the room where it will be placed due to the room floor not being even.
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post #8 of 11 Old 12-05-2012, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
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Glue is dry and I sanded everything. Got to use a chisel for the first time. Where the bottom of the leg starts to square back up there was a big splinter from the router. I used two chisels to put the curve back in it. I thought it would be harder than it was. But then again it is only pine

Any advice on finishing? Wife wants it stained (walnut or oak). I read and saw on youtube to use a wood conditioner first. After conditioner if needed then you stain then put poly on?
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post #9 of 11 Old 12-05-2012, 04:54 PM
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Let her use it for awhile before rushing to the finish department. I'll be real surprised if you aren't asked to make a minor change.
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post #10 of 11 Old 12-05-2012, 05:13 PM
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Pine can take stain unevenly. This is why some folks recommend the Pre-Stain conditioner. It is really a thinned poly which seals the pores so the stain goes on more evenly.

Another product which will seal the wood is Zinsser Seal-A-Coat. This is essentially a dewaxed shellac. Very easy to apply.

If you are willing to try a dye instead of a stain, you can mix a few drops of the dye in a cup of Seal-A-Coat and seal and dye in a single step.

You will not find dyes at the big box stores. You will need to go to a dedicated woodworking store like Woodcraft or Rockler.

The dyes are not cheap. Don't be put off by the small bottle, it only takes a few drops.
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post #11 of 11 Old 12-05-2012, 05:33 PM
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Absolutely correct about using conditioner first before staining pine. The other thing I have found for staining pine is you must sand to 320 grit. Because the wood is so soft and porous you need to attempt to constrain the absorption rate of the stain as much as possible. Using gel Stains and applying multiple thin coats will yield the best results. No matter what you do...Pine is and will always be a major challenge to finish.
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