Help with wood table crack plus sand and refinish

Discussion in 'The DIY Tool Shed' started by modavis99, Feb 28, 2020.

  1. modavis99

    modavis99 Tele-Meister

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    Hi all

    we recently got a butcher-block-style wood table for our dining room. The guys installing it did a bad job sanding and finishing; additionally the wood has started to crack by the edge, it’s a bad crack that feels like it could chip off an entire piece of wood.

    I’m a newb to all this but I’m not terrible with tools. I’d like to sand and finish in poly and I’d like to fix the crack.

    two questions - 1) is this easy to do or should I just pay someone and 2) if this is easy, how do I do it? what tools, glue, sandpaper, poly etc so I need? I don’t own a sanding machine so suggestions there are helpful too if I should go that route

    best
    Mo
     
  2. ale.istotle

    ale.istotle Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Having the supplier/contractor make it right is option 1.

    Regarding finishing - if you clean thoroughly with naphtha, sand and apply the same finish that is on it you should be fine. Find out what it is. I'd consider a wipe-on poly to avoid drips, bubbles and stuff. If it's solvent-based you can make wipe-on with 3:2 blend of solvent and varnish. Almost any random orbit sander will get the job done. Clean up the dust and wipe with naptha again before varnish. Repeat until you are happy with the finish.

    Regarding the crack, again option 1 is supplier/contractor make it right. Should not have installed a cracked top. If they cracked it they should replace/repair it. I'll defer to others how to handle it.
     
  3. rolandson

    rolandson Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    There's a skill to this sort of repair. Requiring specific tools and knowledge. If one wishes a seamless, undetectable result that is...

    Question, is this the piece that you want as your learning project?

    If you insist, study...watch videos, read books, visit woodworking shops, talk to people who do this for a living...

    i.e. acquire the skills necessary to do a quality job of it.
     
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  4. modavis99

    modavis99 Tele-Meister

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    Just to clarify, there was no crack at installation 2 months ago. The crack just happened
     
  5. ale.istotle

    ale.istotle Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Got it. Does it go through to the underside? Does it extend to the edge of the table? Does the grain run-out to the end of the table.

    If it is through the whole top and the grain runs out to the edge i would consider clamping it temporarily to prevent further split while you figure it out. I suspect it does because you've said it feels like it could break off. You'll need a large bar clamp or maybe a truck ratchet strap.

    If it doesn't go through and the grain doesn't run to the edge i might let it rut it's course then repair.
    My guess is the wood wasn't as dry as your living space and it had a defect you couldn't see that propagated.

    If it was me I'd start looking for someone experienced to repair it. Maybe the supplier is willing to repair it.
     
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  6. ppg677

    ppg677 Tele-Meister

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    That's not a butcher block table. Appears to be a table made of flatsawn 8/4 red oak.

    The crack is unfortunate and should not have happened here. Probably a result of an existing crack in the wood that expanded.

    I might try thin CA glue. Clamping is a must.
     
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  7. modavis99

    modavis99 Tele-Meister

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    One extra thing to mention. Yesterday my wife put the groceries on this table. She bought Clorox wipes and a bottle of these wipes had a leak that she didn’t see — it sat for a few hours before we noticed it. That explains the stain in the finish close to the crack. I’m guessing the crack might be from warping due to this leak as (I just noticed) there is also a crack in the side of the table in the same vicinity as the crack on the top.

    What a mess. Thanks everyone for the help.
     
  8. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Contact the folks that made it and explain what is happening. It probably had a check in that board when they glued it up and maybe seasonal dryness is making it worse.

    If the wood is cracked through, you could glue it back together with clamps and Yellow wood glue. If it is not cracked all the way through, then other adhesives like epoxy could fill the gaps. I'd call first and have them replace the piece or top. I had a bathroom vanity solid oak drawer front crack in two. I just clamped and yellow glued it. That was about 35 years ago. It's been fine ever since.
     
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  9. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Sometimes wood moves when it arrives in different environments... I would posit that this is what happened here. Unfortunately, wood is a natural product and we cannot always guaranty what it has in it's mind to do.

    As a long time woodworker/Carpenter, I have come across this rarely. But, it does happen. The realistic reason this happened is that the wood was not dried correctly, or was moved between differing humidity levels too quickly. The cause is a fault within the wood. Probably not anything the guys making the table had any idea of, or could see when they were making the table. In other words, it might not truly be the builder's fault.... But, I like to get my wood to 'relax' in between machining steps and prefer to age my wood in the shop for as long as I can before using it in projects. This isn't always feasible, or economically viable.

    With good glue application and enough force, proper clamping pressure, you should be able to close up the crack. A good solid repair might also require something like butterfly/key inlays to lock the wood back together properly. But, that's kind of extreme. The other option would be to put inlays in place to keep the crack from moving further, and filling any open spaces with epoxy, etc. Lot of options. But, who knows? Might get lucky, throw some glue in, throw a couple of clamps on and get lucky?

    As for refinishing, the easiest thing is a random orbit sander and some polyurethane. But, you can make it fancier, more complicated, etc, without trying too hard!
     
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  10. modavis99

    modavis99 Tele-Meister

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    Thank you everyone for the responses. I called a professional for the job - as someone pointed out, this is probably not the right piece for my first repair. The pro said he would insert a hole, apply glue and clamp, then apply wood oak filler, then sand and refinish. He said he thinks the repair will be invisible when done. I’ll keep you all posted - thank you!
     
  11. Peegoo

    Peegoo Tele-Afflicted

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    Yep, it cracked along the grain, so the repair will be undetectable when done.
     
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