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After a mistake, I ended up with a table leg that's about 1/16" (1.6mm) shorter than the other ones, on the top. I'm probably going to trim all other legs by a commensurate amount, because that seems like the straightforward thing to do.

But, is there another more creative way of fixing this?

  • I have offcuts with matching grain, and I could graft something on top, accounting for the mortises. I could maybe glue a block of endgrain-to-endgrain and then saw+plane it down to the correct line.

  • Can it be turned into a feature? Maybe with some sort of mitred cap around the top of the leg.

top of leg

I don't think it warrants redoing the leg (the design is complex. it has two intersecting mortises, and lower leg is tapered on two sides, shaker-style). But I might resort to that if I make more mistakes of the sort!

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1.6mm is nothing to speak of on something of this size, you'll barely notice it if you cut the other legs to match. This does presume you have the means to make trimming cuts like this accurately, the one thing you absolutely want to avoid is trimming any of the other legs slightly shorter than the one that's currently shortest!

I have offcuts with matching grain, and I could graft something on top, accounting for the mortises. I could maybe glue a block of endgrain-to-endgrain and then saw+plane it down to the correct line.

Given where the graft will be this is a perfectly straightforward and common-sense fix, that likely won't even be seen once the table is in service, so if you would prefer this route then I think you should go for it.

If you're at all worried about the glue joint shifting in use (unlikely given it'll be in compression 99.9999% of the time) you can simply pin it in place or add a couple of dowels on one of the diagonals.

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Since this is in a location where it won't really be seen (under a table top) and it's so small I'd probably build up the end with tinted epoxy (with an appropriate filler) and then recut it to the proper length. I think any kind of fix involving gluing on another block will just be more trouble than it's worth.

Just run a piece of tape around the top to form a barrier, clamp the leg vertically, and pour the epoxy in. You might need a little sanding to flush up the sides, but it shouldn't be too hard. The trickiest part will be getting the tinting right. Since the epoxy won't absorb finish the same way wood does you'll want to aim for the finished color of the project, not the color of the raw wood.

(Obviously this assumes you can't just cut the other legs to match. That's definitely the easiest fix.)

  • Have you ever made a barrier of tape, and subsequently covered the inside of the barrier with pieces of wood? that may be the best of both worlds. – ww_init_js Oct 31 '18 at 1:24
  • @ww_init_js That sounds like it would work, assuming you had some small scraps or veneer to work with. I'd still argue that in this case it's not worth the effort because nobody is ever going to see it. – SaSSafraS1232 Oct 31 '18 at 15:59

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