If so, I've got a nice old dining room table that folds down quite small (seats 2) but also can be pulled out with leaves to seat ~8. The ends of the table are supported by swing-out arms that are getting kind of tired. Without stuffing something between the arms and the end leaves, the leaves sag down at about a 10 degree angle.

I'd like to replace the support arms with something more sturdy. Got any design recommendations?

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  • 2
    How much experience do you have with this type of work? The way I would go about fixing this, would be to (carefully) disassemble the piece and rebuild it using the old pieces as a guide.
    – Tester101
    Sep 25, 2012 at 11:26
  • @Tester101. I'm a confident (if not precise) carpenter. I could do what you suggest, but I think the original design is flawed and would like to replace it with something more sturdy.
    – D. Woods
    Sep 25, 2012 at 22:16
  • 1
    A gate-leg design might be an option, however, it can be annoying to sit at the head of the table because you have a pole between your legs. They also make hinged drop leaf supports, but you'd have to repair your rail to use them.
    – Tester101
    Sep 26, 2012 at 13:27
  • Good suggestions. I think you've definitely pre-identified the downsides of the gate-leg. Think I'll avoid that one. The hinged drop leaf supports are exactly the kind of thing I'd like to try. I think that'll be both sturdier when up and easier to drop when the time comes. Thanks again!
    – D. Woods
    Sep 28, 2012 at 1:27

1 Answer 1


Looking at the picture it seems that there may be several problems going on here. In the foreground the swing out arm seems to have come completely loose from the vertical support between the legs. The C-Clamp being used to temporarily hold that part in place is not coming close to holding the hinged piece in place so it can work properly. For this side the assembly needs to be properly re-glued or screwed in place. A combination of gluing and hidden screws from the inside of the vertical support may do the trick.

For the support on the far side of the picture it looks like the top portion of the swing out arm has completely split off. Fixing this part will require replacement of the arm part or as a minimum squaring off the split top face and gluing a new piece to replace the broken away part.

One additional note is to evaluate the condition of the vertical support member between the legs. If this piece is wobbly and not secure then I would suggest that the repairs are much more involved and you may be faced with making a decision if the table is worth the effort repair at all. Overall woodworking experience and / or willingness to take on something like this may play a big role in the decision making process as well.

Evaluation would need to be made for the other end of the table to see if it has similar problems or not.

If it was me and the table had some sentimental value I would dive into the repairs. Doing repairs like this however will not do a lot to preserving any heirloom quality of the table but that has probably been lost a long time ago as noted from current condition.

I have one final comment to make. When trying to wedge up the swing up portion of the table top it is better to place the wedge out at the end of the arm as opposed to near the swing up hinge. As shown in the far side of the picture the wedge stick places an undue amount of stress on the hinge joint that could lead to further failure.

  • Not worried about the heirloom quality. There is a bit of sentimental value. The vertical support member is very secure. In the past, I have "glued" and reused the old screw arrangement. It lasted a while. I'm sure I could do a better job with new screws/screw holes. But the swing arms were never really convenient to use even when in their original position. I really just want to design something better, even if it is 100% steel. Also, thanks for the wedge stick advice. They rarely stay in one place with my little ones running around...
    – D. Woods
    Sep 25, 2012 at 22:20

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