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In my new home, there is a cast iron claw foot bathtub with poorly attached feet. The feet are slightly wobbly and one of them falls off any time the tub moves at all. So far it has not fallen out with anyone in the tub, but it fell off several times while I was working on the drain line. What is the best way to permanently attach these feet so that they will not unexpectedly fall off?

The weight of the tub seems to be the main thing holding them on now. The pictures below show that it has a locating and fastening feature on the bottom of the tub, but there is nothing that securely clamps to that. I can remove and reattach them without loosening the screws. When I have my wife lift up on the tub I can tug them into place and the leg pops in with a loud snap. The 3 better legs can be removed by working them back and forth enough. The worse leg can be removed just by lifting up on the tub and wiggling it a bit.

Mating surfaces of the leg

Front side of the leg

Mating features on the tub

Attached leg

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  • Are you able to loosen the screw ,install the leg, then tighten the screw? – mikes Mar 1 '20 at 3:36
  • Edited to make clear, but the screw doesn't seem to do anything. – BobTheAverage Mar 1 '20 at 4:52
  • Take one of the screws to the hardware store and get one that is slightly longer with the same thread count and diameter and see if it will then snug it up. – Alaska Man Mar 1 '20 at 4:57
  • @AlaskaMan that should be the answer right there.... And it should not take a bolt that is much longer, say no more than 1/4" longer. – Jack Mar 1 '20 at 5:17
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    Are you sure it's not as designed? The more weight in the tube, the more secure the legs are wedged in. And how often do you move a bathtub? – Steve Wellens Mar 1 '20 at 5:29
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It looks like part of the retainer has snapped off here

enter image description here

It may be possibile to have a new retainer fabricated or to have these repaired.

If all the feet have broken retainers take a gel cast of the attachment and then from that make a plaster cast so that the welder has something to fabricate a part to match up with. Alternatively you take the whole tub instead.

Two-part xpoxy glue is probably an easier solution and will probably last long enough to not be a problem.

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I have worked with several similar tubs , the hard part to see if it is screw or spring loaded, the feet are held in place with a dove tail, some are wedges these hold with a screw pulling the wedge and some slide in and have a screw that presses on the tub itself to keep it from sliding out. Last and what I think you have is a spring load (yours looks like a dovetail that uses a spring and pin to hold it in tight).

I might be wrong but the dove tail may be worn or the spring not holding in place (when I say spring I am talking a flat metal bar with a bend that holds the pin on the bottom of the tub and thus keeping the dove tail in place.

If when you push this leg fully in place it feels tight but the leg wiggles out the spring is sprung and needs to be “adjusted” I have used heat with success and I have had to replace the pin with a longer screw on the one I could not get to hold. Once you do get the foot secure make to shim the legs so it doesn't wobble , I have rescued a few old clawfoots that were worth several thousand many years ago because of sized leg parts and 1 leg was damaged. The good thing is the dovetail can be rebuilt if it is sloppy but from your description I think the leg is not locking in place and walking out of the dove tail or wedge. If it is a screw wedge the wedge could be stripped and the screw hole needs to be welded up and retapped (try to save the screw if original) let us know as ther 2 other type but I think it is spring loaded ( note a flat blade screw driver lifting the pin makes it easier to remove them.

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  • The entire leg is very rigid. There is no springiness anywhere. I am having a hard time following what you are actually suggesting. – BobTheAverage Mar 2 '20 at 2:55
  • Bob there are 1/2 dozen types a better photo of the leg would help to be sure. Clear focus shot on both sides where the pin or screw comes through, not a light spring think of a leaf spring in a car/truck , not springy at all but they do the job. Yours may be a screw I cannot tell from the photo. – Ed Beal Mar 2 '20 at 14:23

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