Fixing Our Problematic Table

When we first got married, we were on a very tight budget and were gifted a nice, solid wooden table. When we downsized and moved to a tiny apartment we didn't have room to bring it with us. The apartment came with a table that was also decent and solid wood but narrower so it fit into that apartment comfortably.

After moving to our latest place, our table was breaking, and since we finally had room for something bigger I wanted to be able to host guests and my then husband found a really large table online.

The table had a very good price for having 3 large leaves and being able to hold 12-14 people opened and 6 closed. Perfect for our family of 6.

When the table arrived I understood why it was so cheap. It was made of sandwich wood and wasn't good quality. But the worst thing about it were the legs (or is it called a base? I don't know). When the table was closed it was more or less fine since every part of the base was next to each other and therefore more stable. But when the table was expanded, that's when you saw the issues. Because when expanded, legs spread out with the expanding table top and those legs were extremely poorly secured. They were barely attached with a piece of metal and two wooden pegs, which we discovered when we tried moving the table while opened and that part of the base came off entirely! We learned that in order to move the table we needed to hold on to the legs in addition to the top to ensure that they stayed together.

But whatever. We learned to manage. It was a pain to move because you needed to people to move it (or just move one side at a time on a diagnonal direction in a complicated time consuming way), but it worked the rest of the time. We hosted many guests and the table has served us well for about 6 years.

Recently, though, the table started being even more problematic. Instead of just having issues when being moved, it started being wobbly any time someone leaned even slightly on it. Which gets to be challenging when you have kids at home. I was worried that any second the table leg would come crashing down and the tabletop would end up breaking from its weight. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do about my table, since I couldn't keep using it as is, but I didn't want to be spending the money on a new table now, and a quality table that opened as large as the one we had now would be quite expensive, and I didn't want to give up our ability to host guests.

And then I tried moving the table, ever so gently, holding both legs in place... and the base in the middle, that never caused us trouble in the past, started coming apart, as it, too, was being held by just two pegs and a not-actually-a-screw (kinda like certain Ikea ones, but doesn't matter, it wasn't strong). I quickly shoved it back together and went to grab my drill and screws, and screwed both sides of the base onto it, with a few strong screws. 

Of course, once I was already fixing the table, I decided it was time to do something about the legs as well. While I might (read definitely will) replace the table in the future, I figured I'd stretch its life out as much as I could until I could squeeze no more usage out of it, and then get a good quality table that could extend as much as I desired. 

I purchased a few reinforced metal angle brackets from the hardware store and used them to attach the legs to the underside of the table using strong but not too long screws so they wouldn't poke through to the top.

And the table has never been sturdier in its life.

Why they sold the table as unsturdy as it was, I do not know, but with a few bucks (I think the brackets were 2 dollars each) I was able to extend this table's life and save myself at least a few hundred dollars.

I'm proud of myself.

Have you ever done something like this before? What have you done? Or would you have just purchased a new table then?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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