Repair of split in wooden table top

Discussion in 'Wood / Woodwork / Carpentry' started by Buddy2003, 12 Jan 2005.

  1. Buddy2003

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    Hi,

    Two months ago I bought a solid wood circular table imported from Indonesia and made out of a local hardwood. Last week, the table top developed a foot long crack that goes all the way through (table top ~1 inch thick). This has occurred along the line of a knort in the wood. Living in Toronto, Canada, our winters are dry. I contacted the shop where we bought the table and thay have offered to come to the house and repair the crack using some kind of adhesive / resin. They said leave it until March to ensure that the wood does not move any further (which I had already thought of).

    My questions are: I presume that the wood cracked because the timber was not properly dried - correct, or will any wood crack in a drier environment i.e. how much blame should the store take concerning the quality of their product?

    Any tips on the best way to repair the crack and how to ensure that it won't get any worse? The table has a stained finish, which complicates any repair. Just want to make sure that their repair will be effective.

    Thanks in advance for the help!
     
  2. IanDB

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    I've seen repairs carried out like this and generally if they know what they're doing, the final result should be pretty good.

    I don't know what the sales laws are in Canada but in the UK buyers have a 12 month legal warranty on all goods purchased.

    I expect that the table would have developed this fault in the shop if it had been left but if you have central heating then the drying process would have been increased further. Your supplier's suggestion about leaving it for another few months to ensure that it won't move any more seems resaonable. There's nothing you can do to stop it getting any worse (unless you want to put bowls of water all over the place to increase the humidity - not a long term solution!!).
     
  3. matz

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    In my experience, repairing these defects effectively is nigh on impossible. Because wood expands and contracts depending on temperature and humidity, if you fill the crack, the filler will either pop out if it closes up or the crack will open up further if the wood shrinks. Any more extensive work than this on the crack will probally disturb the surface finish with the further problems this brings.

    If I was cynical, I'd say the shop has given a stock response. yes on the face of it, its a good idea to leave it "to settle" but realistically what they are doing is putting you off and hoping you won't get back to them in the future. There will be hardly anything they will be able to do months down the line nor will they want to bother (probally)

    If this damage really bothers you, I'd ask for a replacement straight away. The table is faulty and you shouldn't be stuck with it.
     
  4. Freddie

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    It is best to leave that table as long as possible in the room to settle down properly.

    It can be repaired but only this way.

    If the crack is down the grain or along a glue joint, it has to be sawn in two along that crack or glue joint. Both surfaces should then be clean and new, so then it needs to be glued and reclamped up untill the glue has set 24hrs.

    Unfortunatly it will have to be sanded down and completly refinnished after the repair.

    In other words yes you can repair it, but the cost involved is huge unless you do it yourself. Why should you ? It's a new table, ring the shop up and tell them to replace. It will actually work out cheaper for them in the long run.
     
  5. petewood

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    One reason that tables split like this is that they have been made incorrectly.
    Underneath the table, running across the grain, will probably be some kind of rails or braces.
    These rails must be fixed so that as the table top expands and contracts (as it will do throughout the year according to ambient humidity), the rails will allow for this movement.
    There are several ways of doing this, I think the simplest is to use table brackets, which are metal brackets in which the holes through which the screws pass into the table top are elongated so that the screws can move slightly across the bracket.
    Another way is to cut channels in the rails and then fix the top to the rails using woodwen brackets that will slide in the channels (even though they should be a pretty tight fit),
    If the rails are just screwed or bolted to the table top without any allowance for movement, when the table top expands it may bow or distort, and when it contracts it will split along the grain.
    I have seen some nice table tops do this, presumably because of a lack of skill of the maker.
     
  6. matz

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    Yes, you may be able to repair it this way but being a circular top, and as you need to take ALL the split/ crack out when you saw it down its length, theres the danger of ending up with not a true circle which then means you have to reshape the edge as well. All in all, more trouble than its worth.
     

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