Broken Desk Leg

I have an old oak fold-top desk that has been in SWMBO's family for generations.
During a move on a very cold day, the desk fell out of the box of my truck and onto the cold hard pavement. While I was going round a corner doing about 35. Needless to say, the desk suffered more than the road did.
Somehow I still have SWMBO. I certainly still have the desk.
I"ve been rebuilding and refinishing it over the winter, and for the most part I'm happy with the results.
However, one of the legs broke clear in half. The leg is tapered, 11/4" square at the top, to about 3/4" at the foot. Just where it starts to taper, bout half way, it broke. Ragged, miserable fracture.
This leg attaches to the frame of the desk with dowels. The break is at one of them. I don't know what to do with this break. I can't just glue it back together because it's essentially endgrain to endgrain. I'm not confident enough to dowel it inside the break and I don't have a drill press.
Two faces of this leg will be hidden after re-assembly, so I have some places to hide patches. I'm thinking of routing a channel on one of those hidden faces and filling it with another piece of oak. The dowel that is there doesn't have critical placement and I could move the dowel elsewhere away from the patch.
Does that make any sense, or is there a better way of doing this?
Thanks.
--
Tanus

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How long is the piece you are trying to reattach? 3"? 24"?
I do a lot of field repairs on all sorts of things. This is a pretty common repair on table legs, desk legs, chair legs, etc. when the are damaged. I can tell you without doubt that if this were a 3 inch or so piece to be reattached, I would clamp the piece in place and drill for a lag bolt. Yup.... I can hear the screaming now. But if you put a 3/8" or 1/4" metal lag in using epoxy as your adhesive, you would probably wind up with a leg stronger than the orignal.
Figuring that you will drill into the remaining stub about 3", just get a 6" lag. You will also have the advantage of having the lag act as a clamp to hold the piece in perfect place while the epoxy sets up. Remember to drill a small recess in the end of the piece to accomodate the head of the lag and a small flat washer.
Unless I was going to turn my own dowel to get the length and width I wanted out of white oak or something equally as hard I wouldn't dowel.
If it is a long leg and it happened in the middle, you have an open field of repair options.
Robert
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In article <d6d18184-e6ce-42b1-bbde-
says... I can tell you without doubt that if this were a 3 inch or

I've done that. It works.
S.
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"Tanus" wrote:

<snip>
Recently built a couple of bedside tables that have almost the identical tapered legs, so will play the devil's advocate.
It would be pretty straight forward to make a new leg; however, I'm not qualified to comment on how you would get the finish of a new leg to match the patina of the existing piece.
Without a doubt, you could repair the existing broken leg with epoxy thickened with micro-balloons, and yes, it would be stronger than before the break.
There is a caveat.
It is almost certain that the repair would be visible, at least from one side.
Just a couple of options.
Lew
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Lew Hodgett wrote:

Robert had an idea earlier about lag bolts, which moved me into thoughts about metal reinforcement . I know if I go that way it'll be strong enough, but I'd rather avoid metal. Regardless, thanks for the suggestion Robert.
I'd thought earlier of fashioning a new leg, but SWMBO will notice and if I can make this as authentic as possible, I'd be happier. OTOH, I may have to do that.
I've seen you talk about micro-balloons before but hadn't thought of it here. I've never used them before, but I'd be more than willing to give it a try. Having it show on one side is not a problem. It will be the side that attaches to the frame and will mostly be hidden. As well it's a rear leg and the break is not in a place that one would ordinarily see.
I'm pretty sure that this isn't the kind of thing I'd get at a Borg. I'll call around tomorrow but should I be looking at boat building supply places?
Thanks for the idea.
--
Tanus

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"Tanus" wrote:

Find a marine supply place in your area.
You can do a Google for on line suppliers.
There are lots of epoxy suppliers on line who will also have micro-balloons, but they will be a little pricey.
NBD since you don't need much.
Break a couple of scraps then epoxy them back together for practice.
Lew

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Lew Hodgett wrote:

Thanks again. I looked today and this place seems a bit dry on marine suppliers (oh gawd that was bad), so I may have to get it online.
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Tanus wrote:

Try Aircraft Spruce and Specialty. 8 bucks or so for a pound of glass microbubbles. For what you're describing though you might want flox or milled glass fibers instead--microballoons are a lightweight filler without a whole lot of strength, epoxy with milled glass fibers on the other hand is going to be stronger than the original wood.
--
--
--John
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Thanks John. I'll look at both. It's looking like Lee Valley may be able to fill the bill.
Tanus
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"Tanus" wrote:

L/V has West System which is which is what you want.
105 Resin, 206 hardener & 407 micro-balloons.
You don't need the pumps, you can use disposable plastic cups (1 oz, 2 oz, etc) from a restaurant supply house for measuring and mixing.
Lew
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Lew Hodgett wrote:

Good. I'm glad to hear that from you, Lew. I was on the phone with LV this morning and I got a guy who really wasn't clear on the West line. Unusual for LV because their service is normally top notch. But reading from the website, that's the combo I came up with too. Thanks for the verification.
--
Tanus

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"Tanus" wrote:

Don't forget to wear protective gloves.
I use non sterile surgical gloves from Harbor Freight, purchased when on sale.
Have fun.
Lew
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