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I have a dining room set consisting of a table and 4 chairs. I bought them used, the only indication of brand is a "Made in Taiwan" stamp. I'm under no impression that these are anything fancy, but they look and work great with one exception...

The front chair legs are mounted with hanger bolts, and they are continuously coming loose. (See pictures below.) I don't think this is a typical use for hanger bolts - from what I've researched, they're usually used vertically inside round legs, which allows them to spin tight.

I keep tightening these durn bolts, and they just keep backing out. I believe the wood threads spin out of the leg enough that the lock washer doesn't do anything and then the nut just spins off. Unfortunately there are no cross-braces, so it doesn't take more than a few days of a 4-year old wiggling before the chair legs are loose again.

I'm thinking about replacing the lock washer and nut with lock nuts, or just replace the whole mess with a large wood screw, but not sure if there is a better way to get these chair legs to stay put.

Interestingly, the TABLE legs are attached the exact same way, but I haven't had any problems with them - probably because the table doesn't get moved around like the chairs do.

Any suggestions on how to best get these chair legs to stay firmly attached?

Chair leg structure: enter image description here

Hanger bolt: enter image description here

Front of wood brace: (I didn't realize until after uploading this picture that this one is in pretty sorry condition with two of the screws probably not doing much - the rest are in much better shape) enter image description here

The back legs of the chair (haven't had any problems with this setup): enter image description here

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Changing out the washers for fresh ones might do what you need here, these loose oomph after a while because they get compressed and apparently fresh ones can make all the difference.

But I think you answered your own Question here — swap out the nuts for locknuts. Note these are likely to be metric threads (M8 etc.) in case you live somewhere that commonly uses Imperial threading.

Alternatively you could use thread locker on the existing nuts. If you don't have a commercial thread-locking liquid nail polish is a decent enough alternative. Colour doesn't matter :-)

  • Thanks for the answer, I will go with the lock nuts and see how that works... My only concern is that the wood threads are so loose (I can turn them by hand), I'm afraid they will still back out... Is it worth putting a bit of wood glue on the wood threads, or won't that do much? I have locktite for metal threads, not sure what to use for wood... – sǝɯɐſ Sep 4 '17 at 19:36
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    @sǝɯɐſ If the 'bolts' are loose in the leg then they could probably do with being made more secure (they should be a sliding fit in the angled block though) but if they won't back out you're good to go currently I think because they'll be tensioned by the lock nuts being tightened. If you need to fix the bolts in place in the future use epoxy, applied to the leg holes only. – Graphus Sep 6 '17 at 6:51
  • correct, they are loose in the leg... but that's a good point about the lock nuts applying tension. I still have not had a chance to go get them, I will try to do that soon and let you know how it works! Thanks!! :) – sǝɯɐſ Sep 6 '17 at 15:18
  • update - locknuts seem to be working great so far! I guess the lock washers must have been worn out... I thought it would take more than that to fix this, but I guess simple solutions are often the best! – sǝɯɐſ Dec 19 '17 at 15:53
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    Good to hear. I expect they'll continue to work well for a long time, locknuts seem to have quite a long lifespan (years). – Graphus Dec 20 '17 at 5:18
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I would replace this corner block with a new one made from knot-free wood of a strong species.

enter image description here

Because the wood has broken away around the lower screws it is no longer able to keep the joint rigid.

The bolts are long enough that you could make a larger (thicker) corner block that would be stronger and less prone to having the ends torn off around the screws. In the existing block those screws seem too near the edge/end.

I would also consider replacing the screws with glued dowels. An arrangement that failed before may fail again.

  • Good points all around, however for the sake of doing as little as possible to get the chairs more sturdy, I think I'm going to give the locknuts a try first. I'll take another look at the pictured joint and see if I can find a way to reinforce that one - most of them aren't broken like that. If all that fails, I'll look into replacing the corner blocks... Appreciate the input! :) – sǝɯɐſ Sep 6 '17 at 15:21

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