How to Fix Loose Legs on Antique Furniture

An Easy Solution That Doesn’t Cause Damage

If you have an antique piece of furniture that has loose legs, it can make this delicate item unstable and less useful. If you bump it items can fall or roll off, and over time it can damage the table further. Obviously the easiest solution is to tighten any loose screws or bolts that might be the issue. But if that doesn’t work or you are dealing with all wood joinery, here’s an easy solution to fix loose legs on antique furniture.

Why Not Use New Screws/Nails or Glue?

Since we’re dealing with an antique piece of furniture, we don’t want to damage it by using modern screws or nails to fix this problem. Using glue would also not be a good idea, as modern glues are often stronger than wood, and can actually cause damage to the piece. Ultimately we don’t want to diminish its historical value. This is why we recommend shimming it with Wobble Wedge® soft plastic shims.

What’s the Advantage of Using Wobble Wedges®?

The soft plastic of Wobble Wedges® won’t dent or mark the wood of the item. Since they are a tapered shim they will fill the gap that is causing the leg to be loose. And since the soft plastic shims will be wedged in, they will use the force of the two pieces of wood to hold them in place. Soft Mini Wobble Wedge® plastic shims are also clear, so they’ll blend in, so no one will notice the repair. The plastic shims will also be entirely removable, for instance if you decide to take it to a restorer. Or if you sell the piece, and the new owner wishes to get it restored. This will result in the best preservation of the antique furniture item.

Find Which Leg is Loose

Place a towel or blanket on the floor and flip the table or furniture item over so that the legs are sticking up. Gently move each leg until you determine which one is loose. Inspect the joint to make sure there isn’t a screw you could tighten to fix the problem. Using a small brush or cloth clean any debris that might have accumulated in the joint if possible.

fix loose legs on antique furniture, shim any loose joints with soft Mini Wobble Wedges

Shim with Mini Wobble Wedges®

Take your soft Mini Wobble Wedge® plastic shims and place one or more into the space of the joint. If you can fit one plastic shim on each side of the joint, this will keep the leg centered. If there isn’t space for two, that means the gap is small enough that it probably won’t show as uneven. Shim any other loose joints on the piece. Gently move the legs to make sure they are now stable.

fix loose legs on antique furniture, use plastic to protect the wood, cut off excess shim with exact-o knife

Trim The Excess From the Plastic Shims

Find a piece of plastic that’s thick enough that your blade won’t cut through it. Or double up the plastic so you won’t damage the furniture. Place this piece of plastic between the plastic shims and the wood of the antique furniture. This will protect the wood from being damaged while you cut the excess plastic shims. Using gentle strokes, carefully score and cut the shims so that they are flush. Violà, you can now fix the loose legs on your antique furniture!