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How to Fix a Butterfly Leaf Table that Won't Close

A butterfly leaf table stores the extending leaf under the table itself, using a hinged mechanism to raise the leaf when pulling the table halves apart to increase the length of the table. With a butterfly leaf table, you do not have to store the leaf or go looking for it when you want to increase the table size. If the table will not close, the hinge mechanism may be bent or damaged. You may be able to fix the leaf yourself if the hinges are not broken. A broken leaf may require the skills of a carpenter to repair.

Step 1

Remove all items from the top of the butterfly leaf table, including the tablecloth.

Step 2

Pull outward on the two narrow ends of the table to unlock the halves to create a gap on each side of the butterfly leaf in the center. The two ends of the table must be pulled outward for the butterfly leaf to operate.

Step 3

Push downward in the center of the butterfly leaf where the two halves join together. With normal operation, the leaf folds downward with the two ends turned upward like the wings of a butterfly. If the leaf will not close, continue troubleshooting.

Step 4

Crawl under the table to inspect the butterfly mechanism. Check the metal hinges for visible signs of damage.

Step 5

Loosen, but do not remove, the screws that hold the hinges to the table sides. With the extra movement that loosening the screws will provide, you may be able to determine where the butterfly hinges are stuck.

Step 6

Adjust a bent butterfly hinge gently with pliers to straighten the mechanism so it will operate. If the leaf had previously been forced, or the two table halves were pushed together before the leaf was completely folded under the table, the hinges may be bent.

Step 7

Apply spray lubricant to the metal pin in the center of each hinge. Work the hinge back and forth to restore movement.

Step 8

Tighten the hinge-mounting screws with a screwdriver.

Step 9

Push gently in the center of the butterfly leaf to fold the two halves downward to the closed, hanging position.

Step 10

Slide the two halves of the table together until they meet in the center.

About the Author

James Clark began his career in 1985. He has written about electronics, appliance repair and outdoor topics for a variety of publications and websites. He has more than four years of experience in appliance and electrical repairs. Clark holds a bachelor's degree in political science.