Welcome! Forums Project Series Workbench Accidentally angled brace too much, no room for bolt washer

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    Dave C

    I had trouble keeping my brace and bit level, and ended up angling it up too much when boring the hole between apron and leg.

    The nut just about fits, but there’s almost zero clearance between the nut and the stretcher, so no room for a washer.

    Can I get away without one? Or will the nut sink into the soft pine if I tighten it too much?

    I could try and re-bore the whole at a slightly lower angle (from the same entry hole), but then maybe it would have too much up and down play.

    Or I could saw a gap for the washer into the bottom of one of the stretchers.

    Any suggestions/advice?


    A washer is essential for this application. Else the nut will dig into the soft wood and provide not enough holding pressure. I would fill the hole with a tight-fit dowel and epoxy and re-drill — but before taking that route wait for comments by more experienced folks here who may tell if that’s a no-no.

    As for drilling squarely here are some tips that work well for me:
    (i) clamp a narrow straight piece of wood (or a ruler) to the leg so that it points perpendicular to the leg in the horizontal plane. Then use it as a reference for the bit.

    (ii) stick an old CD to the face of the leg with reflective side out. Use the reflection of the bit on the CD to keep it level in both horizontal and vertical planes. This works very well as long as the bit is 3/8″ or thinner and that’s plenty for this application. But its hard to operate brace and bit at eye level. Again, easier to do this if using a hand drill.


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