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Super Handyman: Take the time to fix spindles

I have a great appreciation for spindles on chairs, tables and railings. I’ve always wanted to do some wood turning, but have never had the opportunity to do it. Because of the way these items are made and installed in furniture, they can become loose. When they do, it usually gets worse over time and even can spread to other spindles.

Here are some ways to fix this:

• Getting some wood glue into the joint would take care of most of these loose-spindle situations. If you don’t have an adequate glue nozzle, load some into a syringe and squeeze it into the joint. Clamp the spindle until the glue has set.

• If the problem is a splitting spindle, get some glue into the split and clamp it tightly to patch it up.

• If the base of the spindle that fits up into the hole in the chair is broken off, you can try fitting a dowel into the spindle to fix it. You need to drill through the chair back and down into the spindle. Then add the glue and dowel. Again, clamp the joint until it has set up.

• If the spindle is shot, remove it. Do a little searching around and try to locate a woodworker with a lathe. Depending on how much of the old spindle you have, you should be able to have one duplicated.

And speaking of clamping, there are several kids of clamps that you can use for these fixes: bar clamps, spring clamps and belt clamps. Or you can use a rope to hold everything together until the glue has set.

A good chair is worth repairing, so take a little extra time to fix it rather than replace it.

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Q: My patio is really rough, and I would like to know if there is a way to make it smoother. I’m also thinking about painting it, but wouldn’t dare do it with the rough texture it has now. What is your suggestion? – H.T.

A: There are some pretty easy-to-use concrete toppers. These are mixed and smoothed on over your existing concrete surface. They are made to stick to the old concrete really well, and are self-leveling to create a smooth finish. They can be a little challenging for a first-timer, but with a good trowel and a good float, you should be able to get good results. You also might consider using a tint in the topper instead of painting, as it might last a lot longer and be less likely to wear off like standard paint could. Some epoxy paints for patios might take care of the rough texture, too, so do a little shopping around for one of these as an alternative. Good luck!

A super hint

The average screen door has a long spring that closes the door. But if you are tired of smashed fingers and loud noises, try replacing one of your standard hinges with a spring hinge. These will do the same job without a visible spring. You can use them on lots of other doors, too.

Shoptalk

Deteriorating wood can mean disaster for your home. Sometimes it easily can be replaced, but there are some situations that make this impossible to do. That’s where a product like LiquidWood is so fantastic. It can be brushed or poured onto the wood and allowed to penetrate the fibers to harden into a solid water-resistant material that can be drilled, nailed, sanded and painted. Use it on wooden columns, window frames, steps and other areas that can be hard to replace. To find out more, go to abatron.com or see the entire line at your hardware store or home center. It’s the answer to a lot of wood woes that homeowners have to face.