Hardware: What Are Mending Plates

Tools and hardware

A mending plate repairs or strengthens joints in wooden furniture, picture frames, shelving and many other household connections.

These metal connectors are available in straight, T-shaped, flat L-shaped and bent L-shaped designs.

Regardless of the shape, mending plates are pre-drilled and countersunk for use with flat head screws. This allows flat-head screws to be screwed down flush with the surface of the plate, thus, minimizing the total thickness of the connection paraphernalia.


How to Use

Generally, lay a mending plate onto the surface of the area to be joined, repaired or strengthened and screw it into place with four flat-head wood screws (more for the T-shape).

For additional strength, use plates on both sides of the connection. And, for even more strength, through-bolting provides the most secure connection.

Mending plates also connect, strengthen and repair plastics, metals (steel, aluminum, etc.), glass and other solids. Naturally, in some cases, you must use rubber gaskets and through-bolting to make an effective connection.


Straight-Shaped Plates

Use straight-shaped plates for end-to-end and side-to-side connections. You can also join split-wood with a straight mending plate.

For example, when fixing a split sideboard on a bed, use glue and several mending brackets to repair the split. Then add mending plates to the other side as a preventive measure for the “next jump”.

To make this kind of repair, place the plates perpendicular to the split with an equal number of holes on either side of the damage.


T-Shaped Plates

The T-shaped mending plate connects two or three pieces of material that intersect in a T-shaped fashion.

A good example of a T-connection would be where the horizontal center rail of a screen door connects to each of the side rails.

Another example would be where a spindle and handrail meet.


L-Shaped Plates

For corner connections, use the Flat-L-shaped mending plate.

A picture frame with loose corners would be a prime candidate for L-shape mending. The bent L-shaped mending plate is designed to be used on inside corners.

Strengthen furniture like cabinets and chairs quickly with the addition of bent L-shaped connectors.

The L-shaped connector is perfect for stabilizing tall pieces of furniture such as armoires, china cabinets, entertainment centers, bookcases and breakfronts. Screw one side of the bracket through the wall covering and into a wall stud and the other side of the bracket into the piece of furniture that you want to stabilize. An ounce of prevention can provide tons of cure in the event of an earthquake, tornado or hurricane.


Installation

Installing a mending plate is really easy to do. If the connection is new, simply place the pieces into their desired positions and connect them in the normal way (glue, nails, screws, etc.).

Next, lay the mending plate in place and use a pencil to mark the screw holes. Next, use a punch, awl or drill to prepare the material for screws.

Finally, with the material predrilled, simply install the brackets.

By the way, when making a glued connection be sure that the clamps remain in place until the glue has completely dried.

Using mending brackets should never preclude the use of the regularly accepted attachment method for the project. For example, when making an L-shaped connection, glue and nail or screw the corner joint together in the conventional fashion.

Remember, use the mending bracket to “improve the strength of a connection” – not as the “only” connection.


Further Reading

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