1

I'm new to DIY SE, and relatively new to DIY too.

I have a garden metal table, with a central hole and circular bracket for holding a parasol (umbrella). In a wind gust, the umbrella got pushed and ripped out the bracket from the table, bending/snapping some of the metal table structure around it. Without the bracket, the umbrella isn't held snug. I'm looking for a fix I can DIY.

For some more detail: the table is made of al light-ish metal painted black for a cast iron effect, I'd guess it is some kind of aluminium alloy. The umbrella slots through the table and into a heavy base underneath, the table just provides lateral support; the base is fine. When the bracket got ripped out, the metal bent and snapped a bit around it, leaving sharp edges. The area bent on the table isn't big, maybe 10 cm (4 in) in diameter, and other than sharp edges, doesn't affect the function of the table, just a little ugly.

Maybe it's not relevant, but the metal around the snapped connection with the bracket looks kinda bubbly. It is silvery, with a visible "grain", but also spongy in places. Has a feel of cracked cement rather than metal. Could that be indicative of a manufacturing fault, or poor quality materials?

My newbie thinking goes something like this:

  • File down all the sharp edges
  • To replace the bracket, get two flat, rectangular, thick-ish (1-2cm) plates of wood (aluminium?), and cut a hole in the middle that fits the umbrella snugly
  • To attach these plates to the table, I'd make 4 small holes in the corners of these plates, and bolt them together, from opposite sides of the tabletop (the table has a meshy structure so I can get a bolt through). This way I can cover up the bent metal, without needing to fix it. This also lets me build a bracket that doesn't need a hard attachment to the table (like a weld), it'd just be screwed together - which sounds simpler.

Is this a reasonable approach? Is the thick-ish wood likely to be stronger/as strong as the flimsy metal (aluminium) which gave way in the first place? Or would some other material be recommended? The bracket itself wasn't broken, but I think to attach it again, I'd need to weld it, which sounds not newbie. Is filing down (softish) metal a tough job? Can I do it with just a hand file, or would I need a power tool? I have a decent drill, do "file attachments" exist for these, if so?

Photos which may help:

Ripped out bracket (upside down), showing broken connectino to the table (welds?)

Ripped out bracket (upside down), showing broken connection to the table (welds?)

Example of sharp edge in the table where the bracket was connected

Example of sharp edge in the table where the bracket was connected

The entire hole in the table which used to hold the bracket. The whole upper-left section on the photo is partially snapped out and bent by a bit; sticking out a few mm from the table surface

Hole in the table where the bracket was

1 Answer 1

2

That table top looks to be made of a die cast aluminum. My approach to fixing that would be to consider a repair part made out of a round plate of 1/4" or 3/8" thick aluminum plate stock cut into a circular shape a good 7" or 8" in diameter. The center of this would have a round hole cut out of it that is big enough to accommodate the pole for the umbrella.

Clean up and even out the broken surfaces around where the breakout occurred by filing, grinding and cutting as necessary. I would also use a rotary wire brush to remove the existing finish from the top of the table to expose the raw cast aluminum in a circular area the size of the above described patch plate.

The patch plate also needs to have its bottom surface brushed clean to remove all oxides and any possible anodizing that may be on it. Course sandpaper in an orbital sander can work well for this.

The idea is to use an epoxy such as JB-Weld and bond the patch plate to the table top and clamp in place for the 24 hours needed for the epoxy to set. The grey steel filled type of epoxy will bond very well with raw clean aluminum that has been brushed/sanded and degreased. The large bonding area of this will be way more durable than a few drilled and bolted fasteners through the existing die cast material.

Finally the patch plate can be painted to either a color to match the table or an accent color of choice.

Note that the described repair procedure may be possible to apply from the underside of the table top if that side is flat however I suspect that it is not flat despite that not showing in your photos.

You also need to consider economics here as well. A repair like I describe is a great way to save an otherwise good table but do weigh that with the cost of a replacement table. Patio/Deck furniture like this is made cheap for obvious reasons.

Two names to keep in mind if you have difficulty sourcing material are McMaster-Carr and Xometry. Both have web sites you can easily find. I have used both for sourcing material and the latter one can machine your part for you for a nominal fee and ship you a finished patch plate.

1
  • 1
    I was also thinking JB weld + cast aluminum can be soldered but it takes a lot of practice and a special rod available at welding specialty stores. Or get ripped off at the summer fair by a guy selling the rod for 10-20 times what it cost per pound of rod. So for a beginner cleaning and JB weld is the way to go.
    – Ed Beal
    Jul 23 at 17:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.