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Repairing cracks in a wooden table top

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Budding Contributor

Repairing cracks in a wooden table top

Hello, looking for some tips/advice from someone with some experience! My rustic/salvaged look wooden table has been used outside (but undercover) for the last 6 months and a huge crack had developed. I’m hoping it can be filled/repaired - I was thinking some kind of wood filler, ratchet/clamp combination but have no idea how to approach it and minimal tools/experience!

 

What steps do I need to consider and when it’s repired, will treating the table with oil help avoid more cracks?

thank you!

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Super Contributor

Re: repairing cracks in a wooden table top

Hey @rkbake - it’s a lovely looking table - it loooks like the top has been constructed from 3 wide pieces that haven’t been “glued and dowelled”. Bit puzzling as it’s undercover, but that isn’t going to stop it from drying out and warping.

 

Without knowing what other finish you’ve got on it (so, do let us know) I’d suggest 2 options.

 

#1 is the glue/fill and clamp that you’ve already thought about - in which case Liquid Nails have a clear glue (it’s the one in the light blue tube) and so do Sika (sorry can’t remember which one that is) - this would definitely work, and a polyurethane glue is another option., The sand an clear coat refinish. You would need the glue (obviously 😂) and a couple of massive clamps to force it together whilst setting. I wouldn’t suggest a wood filler because it’s going to make it look different, by emphasising the cracks.

 

#2 is to go with the flow and fill the gaps with a clear resin, which by using a clear filler, makes the cracks look like they’re part of the table. So, you could use the clear casting resin that should be on the shelf with the fibreglass kits (casting resin). I’m pretty sure that you’ll have to use an oil base topcoat over this to further protect it - so an oil base exterior varnish of some sort.

 

Hope this helps, cheers Deb :smile:

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Super Contributor

Re: repairing cracks in a wooden table top

@rkbake you really have an awesome peice their worth looking after 

 

It would be interesting to see what your aim is in reference to the finish. Are you wanting to totally remove the current too surface back to bare timber or just fill the holes and cracks and keep that awesome half timber half sanded paint look.

 

It will also depend how much love you want to spend on the table top.

 

I honestly with all the research I've done over quite a while would go with as @Mathy suggested with epoxy resin.

 

You could go clear, black, metallic blues the options are endless. Even after a sand and then fill the cracks with a resin of choice.

 

There are others that gave me some great advice earlier on the post Help With Epoxy Resin River Tables

 

Please post back what you did and pictures of the end result.

 

That would be great

 

Kind regards Rob 👍

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Trusted Contributor

Re: repairing cracks in a wooden table top

One problem with wooden tables is if there is no allowance for movement in the timber, mostly in changes along the grain and less against the grain but in this case it is against the grain that it has moved maybe due to being fixed at the ends and it may not of been properly dried.
My thoughts on clamping it would be that you could put stress back into the top that caused the cracks.
Matt epoxy may be the go to finish to keep the look.
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Community Manager
Community Manager

Re: repairing cracks in a wooden table top

Hi @rkbake,

 

All the best with your table restoration work. It's great to see you receiving prompt and detailed replies from some of our most experienced community members. We are looking forward to seeing how this project progresses. Please keep in touch and share photos along the way!

 

A very warm welcome to the Workshop community. Let me know if you ever need assistance getting the most from the site.

 

Jason

 

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Budding Contributor

Re: repairing cracks in a wooden table top

Thank you! I will looking into these ideas!

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Budding Contributor

Re: repairing cracks in a wooden table top

Thank you I will look into epoxy resins!

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Budding Contributor

Re: repairing cracks in a wooden table top

Thank you! 

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Former Workshop member
Not applicable

Re: repairing cracks in a wooden table top

@rkbake
How have your thoughts turned on this?
Have you done it yet?
Those webbing ratchet tie down strips are our friends, you can finesse the amount of pressure beautifully, like using different pressures along the length, depending how the table responds. I'd also 'splint' the table in places, so clamping pressure doesn't cause more warping. I'd get a little epoxy into the joint and use the tie downs.
For fun you could use slave labour, ie: your kids, relatives kids, neighbour kids, and station them along and tell them to keep pressure on it without moving for several hours. Like I said, just for fun. 😉
I'd also consider some sort of screw down strapping underneath to take the pressure off the table and give it some support.
Having said that, if you want the repair to show and add to the patina, you could just go with the epoxy as is. Depends on the amount of warp.
You could also box it up and encase the whole thing in clear epoxy, but that's getting too excited (and expensive), I'm not serious.
Plus epoxy has a nasty habit of yellowing in time. Don't want that over blue, lol.
Polyester resin doesn't yellow, but is a cow to work with - the smell! OMG HazMat suits and respirators on!
Please report back and tell us how you went if you have time - I love seeing this stuff!
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Former Workshop member
Not applicable

Re: repairing cracks in a wooden table top

And you made me think, so here is an old pic of the job that finally made me buy tie downs for clamping, as opposed to the set that lives in hubby's car... Funnily enough it was also an outdoor table (I thought it was a storage box, but hubby just reminded me), and the whole side timber had cracked due to being dropped (by hubby and cohort).

The only reason I took a pic, was that hubby was away, and I wanted to prove that we didn't have to buy a new table. That was hubby's solution to everything. He's the most un-handy Welshman I've ever met.

I also did the epoxy thing, but the car was elsewhere, and having no tiedowns I improvised with bungee cords, plus wedging a wood block and offcut of floorboard underneath it. The 'weights' are for splintered bits that I epoxied down, plus help to keep it level with pressure both sides. Not your situation, I know.

Then I ran linseed all over, to seep into any areas the epoxy may not have flowed through, and it was due for a coat anyway.

 

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