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Discussion Starter #1
I have an octagonal table base with mitered corners. It's a family heirloom and I was asked to restore it. I need to redo the mitered corners on the pedestal of the base as well as re-finish it.

For the base I was planning on using a Kreg Jig to install pocket hole screws on the insides of the base as well as gluing up all the corners. All of the wood used on the table is 3/4" solid oak. Is this an appropriate solution or should I look to another way of fixing the base?
 

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John
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I have an octagonal table base with mitered corners. It's a family heirloom and I was asked to restore it. I need to redo the mitered corners on the pedestal of the base as well as re-finish it.

For the base I was planning on using a Kreg Jig to install pocket hole screws on the insides of the base as well as gluing up all the corners. All of the wood used on the table is 3/4" solid oak. Is this an appropriate solution or should I look to another way of fixing the base?
Well, restoring to me means to bring it back to as close as original as possible. To me this would preclude pocket holes as an option if it's truly an heirloom. As far as specific suggestions, some pictures would help.
 

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Old School
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I have an octagonal table base with mitered corners. It's a family heirloom and I was asked to restore it. I need to redo the mitered corners on the pedestal of the base as well as re-finish it.

For the base I was planning on using a Kreg Jig to install pocket hole screws on the insides of the base as well as gluing up all the corners. All of the wood used on the table is 3/4" solid oak. Is this an appropriate solution or should I look to another way of fixing the base?
I also agree that pocket screws should not be used (on anything:laughing:).

When you say "redo the mitered corners", what do you mean by that? Do you mean to just close up gaps and make them tight again?








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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Well, restoring to me means to bring it back to as close as original as possible. To me this would preclude pocket holes as an option if it's truly an heirloom. As far as specific suggestions, some pictures would help.
The table is a round, 4-person table. It's fairly plain, like what would be in the breakfast area of the kitchen in an old home, not a formal dining room table. The base is 3/4" oak that was glued up without any buiscuits, motis/tennons, splines, etc. One of the cracks is long enough to see about 60%-70% down the base if held up to an exterior light source. Some but not all of the glued joints are coming unglued. Before I refinish it I want to break apart all of these mitered joints and get them fixed a little stronger. The table came from my fiancee's great grandfather and is in good condition for it's age, it just needs the base to be sturdied up and a good refinishing.

If I do pocket hole screws for reinforcement then I could do them from the inside of the base so they wouldn't show and I wouldn't need to break apart the strong joints to add that reinforcement.

A couple cell phone pictures:
Here's the worst cracked joint from the outside at the bottom:


If you look closely you can see the carpet through the crack at the top center of the base. That crack is big enough that you can see though it for 60-70% of the length when held up to the light. A couple of the other joints are starting to crack as well but aren't nearly as bad as this one.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
When you say "redo the mitered corners", what do you mean by that? Do you mean to just close up gaps and make them tight again?
Yep. I want to close them up nice and tight and if possible add something to reinforce them without damaging the exterior of the base.
 

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I would break the piece down and clean all the glue from the joint. Then use a polyurethane glue to penetrate the excess glue. The only reinforcement I would use is biscuits. If 60% to 70% of the joint is degraded the piece should come apart relatively easy with some finesse.
 

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somethin' ain't right here...maybe

Those nuts in the photo look new? Wonder who made it a relative of her side of the family or was it commercially made? Anyway if it were mine, and I was to "restore" it, pocket screws are OUT...to new of a method and I don't see how you would install them and whether they show or not, is not the issue.
I would take all the miters apart scrape the edges clean of all old glue, sand the faces, and run them through the TS with the blade set at 45 degrees into the mitered edge for a kerf for a spline. You will have a "splined miter" as a result. A band clamp will work for gluing them up, but it may be best to work in segments, dry fit before hand to see if there are any problem gaps.
Jointing the edges may also be best but it will reduce the overall size a bit, but that really shouldn't be an issue. It depends on your skill level also.... a hand plane with an edge guide will just remove a thin sliver and give a fresh glue surface.
As far as glue types, I am a Titebond fan. I've used Gorilla one time, strong, very messy but it fills the gaps. Wear vinyl gloves. Epoxy is another choice if there is residual glue, since it's not a "glue" strictly speaking.
:thumbsup: bill
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Those nuts in the photo look new? Wonder who made it a relative of her side of the family or was it commercially made?
Bill,
They have a very thin layer of oxidation on the nickel coating. I don't know much about if it was hand made or commercially made. There aren't branding marks anywhere that I've found on it, although that doesn't necessarily mean it was indeed handmade. It came from her great grandfather who recently passed away. Her g-grandfather was supposedly a fairly handy guy so it's possible that he built it but I'd assume it was probably a commercially made piece. Either way it's ours now and has given me a little project to work on. When I re-stain it I want to match the original color as closely as possible. After that is done, I'll be building a small cabinet to match it.
 

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If it was mine and I wanted it to last here is what I would do. Knock it apart and clean up all the mitre joints. Cut a groove in each to receive a full length spline. A proper spline will reinforce, assist alignment and offer additional glue surface.
 

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Old School
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This type of fix can be a challenge for even a seasoned woodworker. The best case scenario would be to not take it apart. If the cracks can be closed up under clamping pressure, the easy fix would be to use glue and clamp up. Taking it apart could damage mating pieces.

If you choose to take it apart, mark all the parts as they are so the same joints are used when putting it back together. If that's done, use a wood block wrapped with sandpaper and do an even passing on the jointed edges just to clean them up. It's entirely possible that when it was first made, that the joints weren't fitted that well. If you decide to recut each miter @ 22.5 degrees, the sides must be exactly the same or it won't fit together properly.

So, my easy fix would be to force yellow glue into the joints and just clamp up. If there are gaps, use a two part epoxy.








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John
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I have a dining room table with almost an exact duplicate of that pedestal. It was purchased near Rochester, NY in the mid 80's. It also had the same problem. I just foced some PU glue in the cracks and forced the joints closed with ratchet straps. The whole set is in dire need of refinishing so I haven't gone further than that yet. At the time it was a relatively inexpensive set for solid wood and the craftsmanship wasn't exactly high end for that time. :smile:
 

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Great minds think alike

If it was mine and I wanted it to last here is what I would do. Knock it apart and clean up all the mitre joints. Cut a groove in each to receive a full length spline. A proper spline will reinforce, assist alignment and offer additional glue surface.
See post 7 above.
 

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I redid a pedestal like this 2 years ago, a week before x-mas. I was able to pull the joints together with a ratchet strap. I packed the joints with epoxy, then strapped it for the night. ( I think I'm repeating other posts)

While looking at why it came apart, I blamed the legs. With weight bearing down on the table, the legs act like a lever and eventually pry the joints apart.

My solution was to drill holes, in between the holes for the legs. I ran a piece of 1/4" threaded rod from one side to the other, crossing in the middle. I used flat washers and locknuts. Tightening the nuts so they are just a little more than snug. I bored holes in the ends of the legs for the nuts to sit in. The threaded rods acted like a tie brace, and all was concealed after the legs were reinstalled.
 

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John
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I redid a pedestal like this 2 years ago, a week before x-mas. I was able to pull the joints together with a ratchet strap. I packed the joints with epoxy, then strapped it for the night. ( I think I'm repeating other posts)

While looking at why it came apart, I blamed the legs. With weight bearing down on the table, the legs act like a lever and eventually pry the joints apart.

My solution was to drill holes, in between the holes for the legs. I ran a piece of 1/4" threaded rod from one side to the other, crossing in the middle. I used flat washers and locknuts. Tightening the nuts so they are just a little more than snug. I bored holes in the ends of the legs for the nuts to sit in. The threaded rods acted like a tie brace, and all was concealed after the legs were reinstalled.
Hi - I came to the same conclusion on mine, at least as far as the cause. Hadn't come up with a cure yet though. Thanks for the ideal.:thumbsup:
 

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Great minds may think alike, but maybe not in this case. If a repair like this has been done in the past it would be obvious that some joints may not come apart that easily, if at all. So what you wind up with in trying to disassemble the eight sides is maybe some clean separations, and some that just get destroyed.

In looking at the pictures and description of the damages, notice that there is a longitudinal crack away from, but in close proximity to a miter. In separating the pieces, this damage will likely get worse, where wood in long grain breaks apart.

I could emphasize that separating the sides will not leave suitable edges to "just dress up", in order to cut splines to reinforce the joints. In theory, it sounds like a good idea, and can make you all giddy with thinking it's the easy fix. I say...it ain't gonna happen that way. From doing this type of fix in the past, and trying to save whatever parts are there, I know what there is to work with. The initial fabrication technique would have been to make all the parts, cut for splines, and glue together, clamp, and take a break while it dries. This works just great with fresh clean wood, miters cut properly, and the fit is perfect. That's not what is present here.

If the parts can be separated, and the edges dressed well enough to fit together, setting up for splines and getting the grooves just perfect so the glue up and fit is all in alignment, may, but is unlikely to happen. One big variable is we don't know how skilled or tooled this poster is.

So, lets say it does get to this point. An additional bit of insurance may be to cut a bottom and top plate to fit the inside octagonal shape at the top and the bottom. Then the sides can be screwed to the plate. I might just use trim screws, as they leave a tiny hole that can be filled easily. This would permit removal if the nuts on the inside ever need tending to.

There is a determining factor from experience that tells me that maybe trying to repair this base might be a shot in the dark in the success department, or whether the repair will fail again. That maybe a smarter decision would be to start with fresh pieces done correctly from the start.








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Based on posts 13, 14 and 15

I had reconsidered my own "opinion". I agree with not taking it apart, opening the joints as much as possible, using a 2 part epoxy,and band clamps, let it set up good... and then reinforce it with cross rods to hold it together!
Reason is there is no mechanical strength to the joints at present, just the glue itself and my reason for using the splined miters initially. C-man is right about not getting it apart cleanly and then you are making new parts, so you may as well make all new parts. Cross rod nuts and washers can be made decorative by using brass or capping them, a bit more difficult. They could possibly be counter bored and plugged...?
As suggested you could insert octagonal blocks at not only in the ends but at various levels down the column and then use glue and trim screws from the exterior to secure them if cross rods were not an acceptable "cure" for aesthetic reasons. ;) bill
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Thanks for all the help

Based on all of the advice, I think I'll try to leave it together as one piece rather than bust it apart. I don't want to accidentally damage the wood beyond my skill level should parts of those glued joints be stronger than the actual wood. I'm going to try to tackle this project by:

  1. Push a good epoxy inbetween the pieces of the base and close those seams tight with a few ratchet straps.
  2. Add crossbolts in the bottom between the leg attachment bolts and counterbore the backs of the legs to hide the bolt heads. This will help prevent the legs acting like a lever to pull apart the seams again.
  3. Cut octagonal inserts to put on the inside of the base at both the top and bottom. These inserts can be attached via pocket screws with the pockets only on the inserts so that there are no visible screw holes from the exterior and so that I'm not modifying the table itself with pocket holes. This could act as a little extra reinforcement at the top and bottom of the octagonal pedestal for one last good measure.
  4. Let it all dry and set really well.
  5. Refinish the table with a stain and poly that very closely matches the original finish.
  6. Enjoy the "new" table.
Last question for this project, what is a good glue for applying directly into the mitered joints that still have some wood glue left in them?
 

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