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Old 04-02-2011, 09:39 PM   #1
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2009 Loose Cabinet Screws

Hello All,

So I dont know what engineer at airstream decided that particle board cabinets, wood screws and road vibrations = long lasting durability and quality. But I digress. I now find myself with screws on the kitchen table leg, cabinet drawers and hinges no longer able to hold tight. Can anyone recommend a good wood glue or epoxy that may give the screws something to hold onto? The particle board has broken up and no longer holds the screws tight. I looking for something to put into the screw holes that might secure the screw better and give a long lasting hold.

THANKS!!!!
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Old 04-02-2011, 09:56 PM   #2
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Tmarquis,
Here are a few things from 3M. It is not cheap. Even the two part epoxy that is sold at auto parts stores will work very well.
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Old 04-02-2011, 09:58 PM   #3
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An old quick trick is to put a toothpick in the hole, break it off flush with the surface and screw in the screw again (you may need more than one toothpick). This may not be a long term fix and there are no doubt products that will no doubt give you a more permanent fix, but this is what we do when we need to tighten a screw's hold on the fly.
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Old 04-02-2011, 10:27 PM   #4
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I'm thinking a combo of both the toothpick and the glue.
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Old 04-02-2011, 10:50 PM   #5
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Make paper pulp - wet newspaper with Elmers Glue and a drop or two of water - jam it in the hole and put the screw in while still wet.

I tightened up a couple that way over three years ago. Still tight.

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Old 04-03-2011, 05:52 AM   #6
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The above advice is great and in my (construction background) experience rebonding the wood and giving it some reinforcement is generally the best solution for a loose wood screw.

Step 1 get Tightbond Wood Glue (consider tightbond 3, its waterproof) and some toothpicks and blue painters tape.
Step 2 put blue painters tape over the hole and carefully cut out the hole with an x-acto or razor.
Step 3 break pieces of toothpick to length, cover in wood glue and fill the hole with the toothpick pieces and wood glue.
Step 4 wait and enjoy how the wood glue and toothpicks will bond to the wood and be even stronger than they were originally. (Dont forget to redrill a pilot hole when reinstalling!!!)

I am fairly sure I will be replacing some parts of the cabinetry (with like-original finish/look) to avoid poor-material choice and sloppy installation (and improve overall longevity).
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Old 04-03-2011, 07:56 AM   #7
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I see you have a 2009 Airstream. That's a very new trailer to have the cabinet come apart. If this is happening to many of them, it could be the sign of a problem beyond a quality control issue.

You may want to have your running gear inspected. Bent wheels and related issues can do extensive damage to the contents of you trailer.
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Old 04-03-2011, 08:14 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by GetOutDoors View Post
I see you have a 2009 Airstream. That's a very new trailer to have the cabinet come apart. If this is happening to many of them, it could be the sign of a problem beyond a quality control issue.

You may want to have your running gear inspected. Bent wheels and related issues can do extensive damage to the contents of you trailer.
Very good point. Our 08' purchased Aug '07 has been down a lot of gravel roads without problems.
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Old 04-03-2011, 11:46 AM   #9
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Thanks! Great suggestions. I now have a Sunday project. The loose screw issues are only in a few but crucial places. (Cabinet latch, Table Leg mount and a couple hinges. The trailer pulls very smoothy so I dont think it's anything more than normal wear and tear.
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Old 04-03-2011, 03:46 PM   #10
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I second the use of a high quality wood glue and filling the enlarged holes with wood. But I do not use toothpicks too soft. Instead I use scrap pieces of hickory or oak flooring and make slivers to partially fill the holes. I cut the slivers to the depth of the hole and coat with glue the side that is in contact with the cabinet. I insert two or three slivers depending how much the hole is enlarged. I then insert a screw and tighten enough to force the hardwood slivers against the side of the hole and allow the glue to dry before reassembling. I have never had one come loose a second time.
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Old 04-04-2011, 01:12 AM   #11
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The washboard road to the Madison Arm campground and RV Resort took the doors off all of the cabinets, the closet and the oven; and the refrigerator door popped open and dumped all of it's contents on the floor. After this, even with larger wood screws, the closet door and one of the cabinet doors fell off again (on another trip).

I finally got fed up and drilled holes completely through the doors and replaced the wood screws with bolts, nuts, big flat washers and Loctite. I really didn't care what it looked like as long as the doors didn't fall off again.

Actually, the metal hardware on the outside of the cabinet and closet doors looks looks fine to me in our Airstream. They don't hide hardware in a boat; they just use chrome or stainless steel. I wonder why Airstream didn't do this in the first place.
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Old 04-04-2011, 09:25 AM   #12
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As a cabinetmaker, the solution I use frequently is to drill out the hole, usually 1/4" and insert and glue a wooden dowel. Then, predrill, and screw into the dowel. Outside of confirmat screws, this is the best method for putting high stress screws into particleboard.
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Old 04-07-2011, 08:13 AM   #13
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As a cabinetmaker, the solution I use frequently is to drill out the hole, usually 1/4" and insert and glue a wooden dowel. Then, predrill, and screw into the dowel. Outside of confirmat screws, this is the best method for putting high stress screws into particleboard.
And I suggest Gorilla Glue.
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Old 04-10-2011, 07:37 AM   #14
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Standard gorilla glue expands so make sure you plan for it.
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Old 04-10-2011, 08:33 AM   #15
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Standard gorilla glue expands so make sure you plan for it.
Good point. With any of the suggested methods you have to be careful about expansion. If the piece you are screwing into is exposed/visible, expansion caused by expanding glue, too many toothpicks and/or failure to pre-drill a pilot hole can cause an ugly bubble in the surface of the panel.
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Old 04-10-2011, 08:58 AM   #16
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Standard gorilla glue expands so make sure you plan for it.
And it leaves a nasty white residue so be Carful when using it. It's a great product though.
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Old 04-10-2011, 10:40 AM   #17
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I have also had some fasteners come loose and fall out. First, before the glue and sticks approach, check if the fastener is shorter than it can be. I found that the 5/8 long screws holding the doors on the roof lockers can be 3/4. This fixed the problem as they drew up nice and tight. Also beware of power drivers that can easily strip out the screws. Sometimes doing things by hand is stil the best way.
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Old 04-10-2011, 11:54 AM   #18
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In fact, why wait for your roof locker doors to fall off? It's too easy to get the right screws (#8 x 3/4) and just replace them. I used 18-8 SS and they look so good. They're not coming out.
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Old 04-11-2011, 04:08 PM   #19
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Putting longer fasteners into degrading/damaged material is a temporary fix at best; as a long term solution you will end up with more damaged material when the failure repeats.

Repairing the material and redrilling a pilot hole for longer hardware is a great idea for a upgrade/permanant solution. Having longer fasteners along on the road is a good solution for an immediate fix however.

For finish work doing things by hand is and will always be the best way. Air/power tools are generally for taking things apart not putting them together. Power drills are for predrilling, paddle bits, etc. They are generally not screw-guns unless turned to the absolute lowest torque setting. Powered screwdrivers should be replaced with racheting screwdrivers unless its a mobility/health issue.

One stripped screw worth of repairs erases any powertool time-saving.

(EDIT: consider avoiding gorilla glue unless you are willing to pre-test it on materials and learn its idosyncrasies. Its not as forgiving as wood glue and wood glue will also bond wood together making stronger than the wood grain originally was.)
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