I suspect most RVers have a screw loose, and I am not just referring to our questionable mental state of white line fever traveling the country in a house on wheels. The interiors of most RVs are constructed of wood. Wood cabinets, vinyl-covered wood paneling, etc. Most also contain cabinet framing with photo-wrapped wood. Basically, it is a picture of nice-looking uniform wood grain wrapped around what is often a piece of soft, inexpensive pine.
If you have a loose screw on a cabinet hinge, the odds are it is the side of the hinge screwed into the cabinet framing. The soft grain of the pine doesn’t hold the screw as well as the hardwood the cabinet door is made from. If you have a cabinet screw loose, it typically won’t do any good to tighten it as there is no longer any solid wood under the photo wrapping for it to bite into.
What to do when you have a screw loose
- Consult your spouse on which screw you have loose. Spouses are always keenly aware of these things.
- Next, gather up the following: Toothpicks, wood glue, diagonal pliers, and a box knife.
- Remove the hinge screws attaching the cabinet door to the cabinet framing. Place the cabinet door out of the way so it won’t get damaged. (Diagram 1)
- Apply wood glue to the tip of a toothpick and push it into the hole where you have a loose screw. (Diagram 2) Snap off the excess length if desired.
- Insert additional glue-covered toothpicks, as needed, until the hole is filled. (Diagram 3)
- Let the glue dry overnight or longer.
- Using the diagonal pliers, snip the toothpicks extending out of the hole off as close to the cabinet face as possible. (Diagram 4) If needed, use the box knife to trim off any excess toothpicks until they are flush with the face of the cabinet framing. Be extra careful not to slip and damage the photo finish.
- Place the cabinet door back in position and reattach it by driving screws into the toothpick-filled hole(s). For added strength, you can also add a drop of glue to the tip of the screws before reinstalling. (Diagram 5)
- Finally, tell your spouse you no longer have a screw loose. Wait for the “Yeah, right!” look from your spouse.
This also works for other clips in the wall
This trick also works for those annoying little, often plastic, clips that hold the mini blinds in the down position during transit. Yep, the ones that poke you in the shoulder when you sit at your dinette or when you lean your head back on the sofa. Sooner or later, you will break one of these off, especially the plastic ones.
When you go to replace them, you will likely discover the manufacturer just screwed them into the thin wall paneling and didn’t provide any backing for the screw. As you tighten the screw when installing the new clip you will likely find you are unable to tighten it as there is not enough left of the paneling for the screw to grip. Now, have another screw loose to deal with? Break out the toothpicks and glue!
Author Dave Helgeson must have a screw loose as he has been around RVs his entire life. Sadly, he doesn’t know what to do with something that doesn’t have wheels underneath and a toilet inside!
Dave will be speaking at the 2023 America’s Largest RV Show in Hershey, PA, September 13th – 17th. He would love to meet RVtravel.com readers that are attending. Feel free to introduce yourself after one of his seminars.