Repair split oak worktop?

20 Aug 2020
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Market Harborough
United Kingdom
I'm finally fitting the kitchen after a bunch of unexpected repairs in our new house. The oak worktop which iv had stored for 18 months has got a split on the end. The other one I've fitted

It was pre mitred to be rounded at this end so impossible to flip round. It's happened whist stored (inside)

What's the best way to repair this? Should I fit a plate underneath to stop the spit from growing over time?

I'm using osmo oil on the worktop itself.

Also just noticed a small chip. Mix a dab of a glue with some sawdust and sand then osmo oil? If so which glue?


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Not sawdust and glue - always a complete and utter DIY bodge job on clear-finished timber! (It is a repair technique used for parguet flooring, etc where the results are further away from the eyes) Ideally I think you need mask off the area around the crack, inject glue into it, then pull the worktop together with a heavy sash cramp (it will need a lot of pressure to close that crack). Protect the timber from bruising by using longish softwood "pads" on the metal cramp jaws (say a couple of pieces of 3 x 2in CLS about 200mm long). I'd probably use either a cyanoacrylate glue (Superglue) or an epoxy resin (e.g Araldite). Glue squeeze-out can be controlled by masking off tightly and not injecting too much glue and any excess can be removed with a sharp safety razor blade (the type with a metal top cover) or a very sharp chisel of plane iron once the glue is fully set (not before)

Alternatively you could just fill the crack with some coloured epoxy resin and make a feature out of it (needs to be machine sanded afterwards). I did this with some recycled oak flooring once where the client requested the cracks were left visible - so they were filled with West epoxy mixed with red mica powder (client's choice). Looked good afterwards, although personally I'd have gone for brown or black
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Thank you for the info on crack repair. The chip I meant is in the middle of the oak worktop - well looking again it may not be a chip and a small imperfection in the wood


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The chip I meant is in the middle of the oak worktop - well looking again it may not be a chip and a small imperfection in the wood
Chips are always a bit more of an issue in solid wood. The comments about glue and sawdust being a highly visible bodge still apply, however - do that and you will forever see the flaw, it will draw the eye, particularly as it won't absorb any finish (e.g. oil) evenly

Unfortunately, because you've already had everything cut to size that may (or may not) have reduced your option to cut the defect out (at the end of a piece), or cut the top in such a way as to place it in a sink or hob cut-out position. As a woodworking solution, if you attempt to sand or plane out a chip you'll end up with a hollow area which will be where water pools, if given the chance, but also any hollow will also be quite visible under all finishes other than a flat matt finish. So I think that leaves you with four main options:

(i) Contact the "plastic man" (e.g. Plastic Surgeon). These guys can sometimes do an invisible repair on a worktop, but normally that would be after installation has been done, and it won't come cheap. They have sort of taken over from the French polishers who used to come to site to tint-in and do minor cosmetic repairs on solid wood work (commercial builds)

(ii) Do a surface patch repair where a shallow piece is routed out of the surface, one stave wide, and a near matching, tightly fitting piece of timber is glued in (and clamped) then planed in nearly flush and finally sanded flush. The timber can possibly be taken from the underside of the same piece of worktop or from the sink cut-out, if there is one. This requires a modicum of woodworking ability to pull off a neat repair.

(iii) Use a Forstner bit to drill out the damaged section then add-in a repair - this can either be a near match piece of circular timber, or a contrasting timber or even something like a coin (possibly with this year's date). Call this trying to make a feature out of a problem.

(iv) The workshop approach: find a joinery or furniture making shop locally who possess a wide belt sander and get them to pass all the tops through their sander to reduce the thickness by the depth of the damage. The radiused edge will also need to be remachined afterwards

As a joiner I think I'd look to doing options (ii) or (iv), but that is dependent on a combination of knowledge and access to a shop with a wide belt sander who would be able to help me (he's actually a kitchen manufacturer who makes his own solid wood doors). In your area you might rank things differently

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