Is 30 years a long enough test?


I'm rebuilding/refinishing a maple hutch and there are several crossgrain situations. The bottom half of the hutch is several inches deeper than the top half. The bottom had a couple of tongue and groove dust frames to which the solid panel sides and top were screwed. Those frames failed.
The top section the sides are glass in cope and stick panels and again those are screwed directly to the solid wood bottom. The length of the cross grain section is about 9", compared to about 14" in the bottom, and nothing has failed there.
Obviously I'll be reworking the bottom half. But if the top half hasn't failed after 30 years or so should I bother messing with it? The screws are in at an angle, which if I'm off with I'm going to punch through either the inside or outside of the sides (both are visibile) and the screws are flat head so it's not a simple matter of elongating the holes in the bottom, otherwise I'd have it done in less time than it took to write this.
-Leuf
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Leuf wrote:

...
I'd go w/ the "if it ain't broke..." mantra here, most likely. At 9", the movement in maple isn't terribly much and the screw is probably not _that_ rigid, anyway. Depending on the design and what would be needed for stability, one could only leave one or move it to the middle region, but if it hasn't been a problem so far, my inclination would be to wait until it actually is one...
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dpb wrote:

I was thinking the same thing. On the other hand, if the violation of a design principle bothered me enough, I might try to straighten it out just so I wouldn't feel that nagging irritation every time I looked at the piece. From a practical standpoint, I'd say leave it. From a personal standpoint, maybe fix it.
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The bottom sits in a rabbet in the sides, three screws going up at an angle into the side. So all the screws are doing is keeping the bottom from falling out when you pick it up. I figure I can lose the rearmost screws and be fine. Thanks guys,
-Leuf
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Leuf wrote:

I have this image of the screwdriver touching the screw and the whole piece flying apart violently. ;-)
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I already saw that when I flipped the K-Besseys around to pushing and took the sucker apart the first time, after taking out all the screws of course. Poor thing never knew what hit it.
-Leuf
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