Save it With Screws
When ready-to-assemble (RTA) particleboard furniture breaks—by being pushed across the floor, for example—the original knockdown fasteners often pull out of the wood and can’t be replaced. The solution is to bypass them completely and screw the piece together from the outside.
Ordinary screws won’t hold in particleboard, however. You need 2-1/2-in. to 3-in. screws with coarse threads and large, washer-style heads. (Large heads prevent the screws from being pulled through the particleboard.) Many home centers carry ‘cabinet installation screws’ that are perfect for the job. Be sure to drill a pilot hole first, even if the screws have self-tapping points. You can also buy colored self-stick caps to cover the screw heads.
Fill Stripped-Out Screw Holes
Wooden drawer knobs tend to strip out and then come loose or even pull off. Using a fatter screw or shoving matchsticks into the hole might work, but here’s a sure fix: Fill the hole with epoxy putty, then drill a new hole. Epoxy putty is available at home centers and hardware stores.
Epoxy putty is easy to use. You just cut off the amount you want, knead the piece until the inner and outer layers blend together, then roll it between your fingers to form a thin string. Push the string of putty into the hole with a screwdriver. Then scrape off the excess before it hardens.
Strengthen Ready-to-Assemble Furniture
New furniture that’s put together with bolts and nuts often loosens up with use. If retightening the bolts every now and then seems like too much bother, you can take the piece apart and strengthen it with epoxy.
Most RTA furniture uses loose-fitting dowels to align each part. Spread epoxy inside the dowel holes and on the dowels themselves when you reassemble the piece. (If the dowels fit nice and tight, use yellow glue instead—it’s more convenient.) Don’t bother spreading glue on the ends of each part. They usually butt against a finished surface, and no glue will stick to a finish for very long.