Asked on Jan 04, 2016

How do I repair wooden tray tables?

by Marjorie-Anne
I have a set of wooden tray tables and they're all wobbly. The new ones are so expensive and I think that there must be a way to fix the ones that I have. Any help?
  14 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Jan 04, 2016
    See if this answers your question.
  • MN Mom MN Mom on Jan 04, 2016
    These are folding trays like what we used to call TV trays? It may be something as simple as tightening or replacing the screws in the cross section where the tray tables fold. If you can, take one with you to the hardware store. A professional there should be able to help you. Good luck!
  • There are many ways to fix this and if there are hinges or screws which have worked themselves loose, then you can take the screws out, insert toothpicks and screw back in place. If you want to be sure the screws won't go anywhere, Gorilla glue! This stuff is marvelous and there is also a wood Gorilla glue I have tried too which is great. Pictures would help of th tables and where they are loose if you can
  • Hope Williams Hope Williams on Jan 05, 2016
    Hi Marjorie-Anne. I agree with above answers for the most part. Try flipping them over and checking all screws, bolts, hinges, slides, anything that involves movement or track. Tighten everything up you find. You might need Allen wrenches most likely. If you find that something just continues to turn freely, you will have to decide what you'll need to make it tighten up. With no pictures, there is no absolute way of knowing how to advise you. So most answers will be general and not specific. You can purchase all kinds of bolt type thingys, for screws or Allen wrench screws to go into. I'll attach a pic of a "bolt" I just replaced that I was quite surprised that was sold individually. It's a screw but it's a bolt too! If your table has rivets in places, I've seen them, you'll need to again figure out what to use to replace it. If you need more detailed help, please post a pic in this post and someone will be happy to help you out! Good luck Marjorie!
  • Winnie Conners Winnie Conners on Jan 05, 2016
    Why not try to level them by attaching those little felt pads to the legs.
  • Doriemuglia Doriemuglia on Jan 05, 2016
    Gorilla Glue at weak point
  • Carmen Valentine Carmen Valentine on Jan 11, 2017

    I have a set of these wooden TV trays...they are wobbly at the spot where the legs criss-cross, and the "bolt" is the non-removable kind that cannot be tightened.....what are these strange bolts called, and how can they be removed? I would rather replace them with standard bolt/nut sets.

  • Phil Phil on Dec 10, 2017

    I have them same question but nobody is answering it!!!

  • Elaine Elaine on Mar 26, 2018

    Those bolt thingys are called rivets. They allow the legs to move in order for them to hold the table part. Depending on just how loose it is, you may be able to strengthen the rivet by using a ball peen hammer (round end) and work it from middle to sides.

    If you choose to use a bolt, you will have to cut off the rivet with a hacksaw and metal cutting blade. Be aware of the type bolt as it needs to be smooth for the wood to move and the nut may get in the way of leg movement

  • Joanne Joanne on Jul 24, 2018

    I just recently bought the same thing at a yard sale and they are all super wobbly. My husband said that the little pins need to be cut off and replaced with new ones. We have not trued it yet as I am not sure that it will work but I am going to try. I have already tightened all the screws but as most of you know they have no part in the leg area.

  • Kathy1220 Kathy1220 on Jan 06, 2019

    I’m THINKING adding a firm brace across the lower part of the legs would add stability.

    Of course, you wouldn’t be able to fold the table flat anymore, but mine stays up beside the couch where my Mother sits all the time, anyway.

  • Barbe Mulvihill Barbe Mulvihill on Oct 27, 2019

    I am definitely not mechanical but wonder if you can use a few of those little C-shaped washers, that can slide around the non-removable rivet, then push in to lock in place like spacers

  • Mimi Hoang Mimi Hoang on Apr 06, 2020

    The problem seems to be the horizontal bar at the bottom that connect the two legs. I drilled a screw on each side and ta-da! It’s not wobbly anymore!!!

  • Ron Currier Jr. Ron Currier Jr. on Jan 11, 2021

    Try putting the screws on the sides off the bottom and top that goes across. Mine has no rivets. Predrill, and use a 2in. screw at least, maybe 2.5"in. If you replace rivets with bolts you would need smooth bolts and probably 3 spacers/washers or 2 not counting flat head of bolt.