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I built a trellis this weekend, but before I could secure it to the fence it got blown over in a storm. Luckily, the only damage was a splinter on one of the horizontal boards. I glued it back in place and now I have to re-attach the crosspiece that went there.

Trellis damage

The former nail hole is marked by the red arrow. I plan to drill out the glue that has filled the nail hole and drive a new nail in. Is this the right approach? Do I need to take extra precautions to prevent additional splitting or undoing my repair?

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It is probable that the joint is stronger where it is glued than in the surrounding wood. The original crack was most likely due to the nail so placing another nail could apply pressure to the adjacent wood risking a similar crack. Drilling the gue out will help, but you will want to keep the hole smaller so that the nail gets a firm grip. The firmer the grip, the more pressure exerted on the wood. One alternative is to drill the hole to accommodate a exterior coated wood screw. A screw will provide greater holding power to join the wood pieces and I believe will provide less overall stress in the cracked area.

  • I agree that the screw will provide less stress. Note this is especially true if you drill the pilot hole first. – Charlie Kilian May 24 '16 at 16:25
  • Everything went back together just fine, thanks for the assurance! In retrospect, I probably should've taken the extra time to join these top pieces with screws. As long as it doesn't blow over again there shouldn't be much stress on these joints, though. – Simon May 25 '16 at 13:46

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