Top Secret....Rocker for my Wife #11: Slow progress and more problems - Help Needed!!

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Blog entry by bues0022 posted 06-12-2011 11:21 PM 2145 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 10: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me Part 11 of Top Secret....Rocker for my Wife series Part 12: Thoughts/opinions about back braces »

I know it’s been nearly two months since my last update, so I don’t really remember where I left off. Lots has happened since I posted last – unfortunately not much on the chair. Let’s see, I moved from my godfather’s place to my own place not too far away. My wife also moved up here with me finally because she finished her rotations for med school. That also means she officially graduated from med school also. I’m very very proud of her. Because we moved into a smallish townhome and she got suspicious, I had to tell her about the chair. Needless to say, she was very excited about it. BUT, with her at home all day, and me gone all day, it’s been tough to come home and ditch her again for the garage to work. Oh well, I’ll get it done eventually.

On that note, I have been working more and more towards the finished carving of the seat pan. Everything was going well, I love the wood choices I made, but I found one MAJOR problem: The top layer of my laminate has an absolutely terrible glue joint. In fact, it’s so bad I’m ashamed to even show its face here, but alas with my rookie skills I need some guidance.
This first picture shows the seat pan.

Now, onto the nastiness:

My thoughts on fixing this mistake are as follows…..Two options: try to match, or try to contrast. I think trying to match would be nearly impossible. I could possibly use some hand carving tools to carve out the angled portion of the walnut, replace with a new piece of walnut, then sand flush. Basically an inlay (and I’ve never done inalys) I fear this will look exactly like it sounds – a bad patch job. My other thought is to make the fix look purposeful. In this idea, I carve out a small portion of the angled section of walnut (where the poor glue joint exists), and instead of filling with more walnut, fill with an epoxy mixed with black dye. This would then give the appearance of a black border between the walnut and maple layers of the seat. For completeness sake, I could continue this boarder all the way through every exposed area of the seat pan where walnut meets maple. I just don’t know what kind of epoxy matrix and dye I would use.

Thoughts on my options, or others? I’m about 95% leaning towards my idea #2, but just don’t know now to execute. I need help soon if I ever plan on getting this done for my wife to use. (due-date is Mid August!!)

-- Ryan -- Bristow, VA

8 comments so far

View sras's profile


5651 posts in 4045 days

#1 posted 06-13-2011 12:46 AM

I’m not sure I have a grasp on the situation, but could you carve the seat profile a little deeper? Would that get you to a better area of the glue joint?

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View fernandoindia's profile


1081 posts in 3859 days

#2 posted 06-13-2011 01:11 AM

Hi Ryan. I wouldn´t bother for the seat. Just think for a while you´re going to put a cushion there. Keep going.

Meanwhile something will crop out from your head. If not, just make another one.

Having said that, check whether you can fill CA and walnut sawdust, with some clamping force as well. I meant, try to match

Nice dreams

-- Back home. Fernando

View bues0022's profile


256 posts in 4076 days

#3 posted 06-13-2011 02:34 AM

I cannot carve the seat any deeper to fix this situation. The laminates of the seat are horizontal, and the cut is vertical. There is actually a slight gap between the top two layers of the seat, and I need to do something to cover this.

Also, this must be fixed. There is no plan to put a cushion on there, and my wife has no desire or one either. Making a new seat is also not an option. First, I have far too much time into this laminate seat to go back, and second, I’ve looked for another piece of spalted maple to no avail in this area.

Any thoughts on my dyed/epoxy idea?

-- Ryan -- Bristow, VA

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3590 posts in 4628 days

#4 posted 06-13-2011 05:13 AM


Is there any possibility of “injecting” glue carefully into the crack and reclamping? Have you tried clamping it as it is to see if it would pull together if you added glue? The gap is close enough to the edge to get some pretty good clamping pressure if there isn’t dried glue holding it up.

Your second idea sounds like a good one, but we’ve never used epoxies and dyes to know how to do it. Maybe you could check some of the projects that use epoxies on tabletop cracks and send a PM to the LJ for advice if you don’t get more feedback on this.

And don’t worry about how fast you get it done. Even an old woman like me would appreciate it! LOL


-- “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin -- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View sras's profile


5651 posts in 4045 days

#5 posted 06-13-2011 05:25 AM

The epoxy solution can work. You might find some help with a search. I have heard of using laser printer toner for black tint. Another tint idea would be to use fine walnut sawdust. You might want to try things out on a test piece to make sure you will like the result.

I think Fernando’s cushion suggestion was not so much about a cushion as letting yourself have some time to allow a good solution present itself. A good idea and you can try out other ideas on test pieces in the meantime.

Another idea might be to create a router template that follows the line between the walnut and the maple. Use the template to create a groove that you fill with strips of walnut or epoxy or a contrasting wood. Again, you could try this on a test piece.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View kenn's profile


813 posts in 4636 days

#6 posted 06-13-2011 07:47 AM

Here’s my suggested solution … Put in a dyed black piece of maple that runs along the poor glue joint. here’s how I would do it, sitting here at my home where it’s real easy to tell you how to do it without actually having to do it myself. Make a template out of MDF that is off set from the joint line by the distance from your router with a edge bearing and 1/4” bit. Make this template very carefully, using a disc sander to fair the curve, mark orientation lines between the template and seat to keep things organized. Clamp everything tight, get your nerve up, rout it. Mill your maple down to 1/4” x how ever deep you had to rout the seat + 1/16”. Dye the maple. Insert maple into groove with glue making sure you’ve got it in all the way. Go back to shaping the seat like nothing happened. Say “Thanks” when people comment on the black accent stripe setting off the spalting in the maple. Tell NO ONE that you did a poor glue joint, it’s nome of their business and if they think they can do better, build a chair. Good luck, I’m pulling for you.

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View bues0022's profile


256 posts in 4076 days

#7 posted 06-13-2011 03:00 PM

Good ideas everyone. As far as just glueing and clamping, I took a peek at that last night, and it doesn’t look like it’ll pull in enough to make it acceptable. I’ll start exploring some of these options. I didn’t think about a router template – but I’ll admit the thought of doing this scares me a little. I can just see the router tipping or grabbing and me ending up swearing even more! :)

We’ll see what ends up after I think about this some more….

-- Ryan -- Bristow, VA

View sras's profile


5651 posts in 4045 days

#8 posted 06-13-2011 03:49 PM

Thinking is a good thing! Take your time until you get comfortable with a plan of action.

If you want to explore the template idea, make a template big enough that you can eaxily clamp it to the seat. Practice getting the router to follow the template on a test piece. Use shallow cuts and make a few passes.

Whatever you end up doing, follow the last few lines in Ken’s post. Sometime sthe best features are the ones we create when trying to deal with the unexpected.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

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