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My old picnic is unstable, especially when people are sitting on it.

I think it moves because the holes that the carriage bolts go through have expanded so there is some wiggle room for the bolts (which you can see in the last of the photo). How do I stop that?

Some of the nuts are missing. If I make sure every bolt has a nut, would that help?

Also, the wood has started to get soft. What's the best way to treat that?

Thanks.

UPDATE: I bought some nuts to replace the missing ones and tightened it up a bit and that has must it a bit more sturdy -- enough to last until I get a new bench. Thanks

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    Replacement of nuts and tightening will help. Wood that has soften usually means rot, and best repair for that is usually replacement.
    – crip659
    Sep 4, 2021 at 19:48
  • 1
    Some times you can build a new better one in about the same time it takes to make extensive repairs. Sep 5, 2021 at 20:41
  • Instead of posting an "update" that is your "answer", maybe ask @crip659 to post his comment as an answer so you can vote for it and click the check mark. This will help others to know that this has a solution.
    – FreeMan
    Sep 7, 2021 at 11:25
  • @crip659 if you post your comment as an answer, I'll vote for it and click the check mark
    – Craig
    Sep 7, 2021 at 11:27

2 Answers 2

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Replacement of nuts and tightening will help. Adding lock washers between the flat washers and nuts should prevent nuts from working loose.

Wood that has soften usually means rot, and best repair for that is usually replacement.

To prevent rot use treated wood for outside/damp locations or use a good external paint/stain(needs to be redone) or one of newer plastic type wood products.

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For the enlarged holes, you could drill through with a 1" drill then glue a dowel in place. Then re-drill the holes.

Making new braces out of solid wood is also possible.

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  • Or, re-drill the holes up to the next size bolt diameter and buy new larger carriage bolts, washers, nuts. But I would first try replacing all missing nuts and tightening all nuts.
    – coderjohn
    Sep 4, 2021 at 22:02
  • @coderjohn sure, but next bolt size up may not be sufficient looking at that oval hole. Maybe 2 sizes up...
    – Solar Mike
    Sep 4, 2021 at 22:05

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