So you’ve got a split wood tabletop and you’re looking for ideas on how to fix it. Well just keep reading and we’ll go over how you can repair it in only a few steps; with those steps gradually building on depending on the severity of the damage, and how much treatment the split needs. Later, we’ll also share some useful FAQs related to wood repair so you can see if there’s anything else you need to know.
What Are The Tools And Materials Needed To Repair Wood
First things first, you’re going to need some tools. Now what and how many tools you’ll need depends on the severity of your damage, so we’re just going to list some basic common tools that may come in handy. These include, but are not limited to:
How To Repair Split Wood Table Top
Now that you’ve got your tools, let’s get down to business! This is the stage where we’ll go through several phases on how to repair a split wood tabletop.
1. Evaluate the Damage and Plan
The first thing you want to do is assess the damage. Are you dealing with a simple split or is the damage more complex? Is it a clean break, in which there are no gaps when the broken pieces are put against each other or are there spaces in between the broken pieces? Is there damage to the surrounding wood or is it isolated?
Examining your damaged furniture will help you decide on what course of action will be best suited for repairing your tabletop. If it’s a simple clean break then apply some wood glue into the crack (make sure you get the glue into the crack, down to the base of the wood) and clamp it together. This is very important, as letting the glue dry on its own may cause gaps and spaces, which would only complicate your repair, making it look messy and it won’t even hold over time.
You should allow the glue to dry with the clamps on for up to 24 hours to guarantee the fracture has been sealed completely. If the clamp is causing you concern about harming the wood’s surface, try using a small towel or rag as a barrier in-between to separate them.
Also Read: Types of Wood Glue
2. If there are small cracks, you can use shims
Shims are small pieces of wood, metal or even plastic that are used as a filler to expand the surface of the wood. Using shims will help you close up small cracks and holes when broken pieces are put back together.
Use sandpaper to smooth down the surface of the split wood and cut a shim equal in length to the split then sand it to match the surrounding surface.
Make sure they are equal in angles so that the wood doesn’t look like it has any visible breaks. Then glue into place.
Ensure that the shim’s margins touch the split’s walls without expanding it. Tap the shim into the split with a hammer until it is as far down as possible.
Allow the glue to dry overnight or for 24 hours. Scrape away the dried glue with a putty knife once it has hardened. Sand the repaired surface after removing any excess glue with a sanding block.
3. Install plywood in the most significant splits
If your wood is split into a significant length, then you may want to consider installing a new piece of plywood instead of shimming or gluing back the old wood. Like the shimming method, similar steps apply to this process; first sand the split wood’s surface and then cut and sand the plywood to fit the length of the crack. Then glue it in, tap it down and allow the glue to dry.
Later once it has dried, apply some resin or lacquer. The split will look cleaner and smoother after applying the resin or dark lacquer layer, which will also ensure that your wood does not get damaged by water or any other elements.
4. Improvise and innovate
If the damage is too significant or if you cannot find any compatible piece of shim or plywood to fit the length and width of the broken wood; you can cut the table in half and adjust it to fit your needs. After cutting, customize it by sanding and recreating another smaller table. This way you can make a custom table that will match the decor of your living area or whatever other furniture pieces you have.
5. Filling in Broken Wood Repair
Above were some basic methods to repair split table tops, whether it’s just minor damage or something more complicated; but if you’re interested in going professional and making your furniture pieces as good as new, we have some filling ideas that you might want to consider. There are a variety of filler options available to repair wood, we’ll share 4 that we think you’ll find simple and effective.
Wood Filler is a product that is easily available at stores and closely resembles wood in appearance. It typically dries pretty fast too, so it’s a very easy and good option to choose for your repair. One thing to be mindful of before purchasing your filler is that you must pick the right shade of wood glue for your split table. As mentioned earlier too, matching the color is important, it shouldn’t be too light or dark otherwise you will see the filler once the repair is done.
Sawdust and Wood Glue
This mix will create a type of filler that ensures that the wood is restored back to its original state, without even having to worry about the mixture having the same color as the wood or not. This trick has been used by many woodworkers for a long time and is one of the best options to fix large cracks.
To make this work, find a small piece of wood in the same color as the wood you’re repairing and sand it down to collect the sawdust. You’ll need to combine the sawdust with the glue at a ratio of around 50/50 to form a paste. Apply this to the crack and allow it to dry. Once done, you can sand down the area using fine-grain sandpaper until the surface is smooth.
Also Read: Best Glue for Cutting Boards
Joint Compound is another great option to repair split wood. It is actually used to fill, seal and repair mistakes made by the plasterer, but also works great for wood repairs. Though it is white in color, it is smooth, easy to apply and also paintable.
Apply it by using a putty knife. Add some pressure as you spread it evenly. Once you’ve covered the regions that need filling. Allow it to dry and then sand it down to the appropriate smoothness The main disadvantage of joint compound is that it cannot be stained to match the wood.
Bondo is another great filler. It is primarily used for filling cracks in cars, but works quite well when repairing wood too. This compound is strong, with the ability to repair some serious damages, but not only will you have to do this method in a safe, open ventilated area but also wear gloves, goggles and a mask to protect yourself.
Using this method, apply a thin layer on top of the split and allow it to dry. Once dried, sand it down until the surface is smooth and then use sandpaper to sand down the edge of the split. You may also paint it to match the wood.
What is epoxy wood filler?
This compound is very thick and strong which is ideal to fix small or large splits. When applied, it dries very fast which is why it’s good for fixing cracks. This product is also sand-able. Furthermore, it doesn’t shrink and can be painted over easily.
Epoxy wood fillers are very popular regarding restoration projects and can be easily applied with a spatula or even syringes or brushes. Fun fact, the filler is sometimes used as a combination with wood flour to enhance the strength of the material.
What kind of epoxy should I use on wood?
There are a variety of epoxy products on the market. Depending on your needs, you’ll need to choose the right product for the job. There are some that have been designed especially for woodworking, maybe for filling in cracks, adhering or bonding two pieces of wood together or even providing a protective finish.
A good rule of thumb, check the label and see what the product is intended to be used for then see if it will be suitable for your project. Also, it’s always better to ask a professional to avoid any mistakes.
Is there a difference between resin and epoxy?
No, not really. Actually, epoxy is a resin or to put it more clearly, a type of resin. There are 3 different types of resins: epoxy resin, casting resin, and polyester resin. You must pick the appropriate sort of resin for the intended purpose. Generally, the Epoxy Coating Resin is for surface applications, whereas the Casting Resin is mostly utilized for jewelry, molds, or figurines. On the other hand, Polyester resin is typically used by the marine industry.
Does epoxy resin scratch easily?
No, it does not. This material is very durable and can handle a lot. It may last for several years, depending on the usage and care of the material. It is composed of very strong substances, making it scratch-resistant. So, you do not have to worry about it getting damaged with normal actions.
When it comes to repairing split wood, the options are numerous. After reading this article you’ll be able to make an informed decision based on your needs and be back to showing off your prized possession in no time.
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Lawrence D. Reynolds is an experienced carpenter and woodworker who started this site to help others get into this craft by providing advice on choosing tools and materials and sharing How-To guides about woodworking. He has been into Woodworking for over 25 years and enjoys nothing more than sharing his knowledge and helping others learn about this wonderful material.