filling holes/gaps

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I've got a "new" antique pine farmhouse-style kitchen table. It's a proper antique one. It has quite a few knot holes that have been badly filled in the past (looks like with wax, which has split, the colour match is awful and it's not flush with the top, but dips). What can I use to fill them? Should I dig out the old filler first or just fill on top?

There are also several wide (about 4-6mm) gaps between some of the boards, plus thinner ones (about 1-2mm). What can i use to fill those?

I am very much a novice and due to chronic health problems, I am quite limited on what I can do, so please keep it simple!
 
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OK...some pictures would help but I'm guessing this is a fairly rustic table with the top made of boards/planks lined up next to each other?

Firstly forget the gaps between the boards - unless you're willing to screw something to the underside of the gap (like a sheet of plywood etc) anything you put in that gap is either going to look awful or fall out (or both). The gaps are likely caused by shrinkage of the wood as it ages and dries out, really the only way to fix would be to remove the table top and re-shape (with a plane/saw/jointer) the edges of the boards so they mate properly, glue and clamp them together and reattach to the table which I'm guessing falls in to the category of 'not simple!'

Again, in my opinion, large filled knot holes are always going to look a bit off so I would probably leave them or fill with a coloured epoxy. However if you want to get close to the wood colour I would try to match the filler colour to the lighter colour of the wood (the paler bit between the growth rings - think of the growth rings as another darker colour). Once you fill the defect with the paler colour and its been sanded etc you can try to add in the growth rings/grain with a coloured pencil before you varnish/oil over the top.

With epoxy or a coloured resin type fill you could go for a deep dark brown-black which will look more like the knot wood is still present or a contrasting colour to highlight the area - some people even use things like glitter etc in the epoxy. You could actually use epoxy to fill the gaps between the boards as well but it'll cost you in terms of tape and resin! Theres quite a good video by Matt Cremona on epoxy filling here:
 
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Thanks for the reply Chud. That sounds like something I can manage - the epoxy filling anyway. Definitely not taking apart and reshaping.

"OK...some pictures would help but I'm guessing this is a fairly rustic table with the top made of boards/planks lined up next to each other?"
Yes you're right about that.

I forgot to explain about the gaps - There are drawers under the table. Every crumb and spilt drink (I have young children) ends up either getting stuck in the gaps or going through into the drawers. I need to use the drawers, so need the gaps filled. There are planks going the other way to the top planks underneath, so there is something I can fill onto, but these also have gaps in (hence the leakage to the drawers!) Can I use epoxy for that too?

Is epoxy better than PVA and sanding dust? Can I mix sanding dust with the epoxy to match the colour?

Thanks for sharing the video - very useful and I like that he went into a lot of detail about how to do it.
 
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Epoxy when coloured should do the job for the cracks but as per Matt's video you'll want to make sure you've thoroughly taped the underside of any cracks/gaps that go through the table or you'll end up with epoxy all over the frame and on the floor.

I wouldn't touch PVA and sawdust personally - if you want an amorphous wood coloured filler I'd go for something like this http://www.toolstation.com/shop/p79488?table=no - PVA will bugger up any future attempts to oil or stain the table. I doubt that filler will hold in a gap between two separate planks though - epoxy or some of these cartridge based polyester repair resins are really the only thing I can think of that would do that.
 
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Epoxy is so expensive. I think it'll cost as much as the table did to buy it for the gaps! at B&Q it's about £5 for 25ml. Think I'll have to look elsewhere!
 

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