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View shoichi's profile

a crack filled with epoxy suddenly opens up on the day of delivery

by shoichi
posted 08-04-2017 10:30 PM


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70 replies

70 replies so far

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

2134 posts in 2130 days


#1 posted 08-04-2017 11:20 PM

How is the table fastened to the base did you allow for a good amount of expansion?
Is if isn’t attached I would consider routing out the epoxy and refilling this is your chance to excercise your artistry.

-- Aj

View Ripper70's profile

Ripper70

1259 posts in 1240 days


#2 posted 08-04-2017 11:21 PM

Damn, Murphy’s Law. I guess it’s better than having the client call you the next day and giving you the bad news.

I imagine that the bowties under the table approach would be a good strategy. My guess is that the deeper they’re embedded, the better long term hold they’ll provide.

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

View jonah's profile

jonah

2064 posts in 3630 days


#3 posted 08-04-2017 11:38 PM

I’d put the bowties on the top, honestly. It’ll make it look more handmade!

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

8273 posts in 3130 days


#4 posted 08-04-2017 11:48 PM

First of all 5 minute epoxy is not usually the best epoxy for bonding especially high stress joints.

Second, it seems unlikely that your “filling” job penetrated all the way through to truly glue the sides of the crack together. If they had been truly glued, the crack would be in the wood beside the old glued crack.

Thirdly, this seems entirely predictable to me and I would not be surprised to see the others open up in time as well.

Did you check the moisture content yourself or just take the word of the seller?

I don’t mean to be negative but I am just not surprised …. and what’s worse, I don’t have a magic bullet.
Sorry.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese! http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

View Snipes's profile

Snipes

394 posts in 2576 days


#5 posted 08-04-2017 11:58 PM

If the client doesn’t want bowties on the top you don’t use bowties.
I agree with Paul, 5 min epoxy is not good for that situation…

-- if it is to be it is up to me

View Rich's profile

Rich

4270 posts in 921 days


#6 posted 08-04-2017 11:59 PM

Since it’s already finished, refilling and sanding isn’t a good option, so I’d recommend a hard fill burn-in. It’ll be easy since the color in there doesn’t match the table to begin with.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View RangerJay's profile

RangerJay

7 posts in 654 days


#7 posted 08-05-2017 12:10 AM

This is not my area of strength so please consider these as just ideas – not advice that comes from a knowledge base of experience ….

That is a big table made up with what looks like just two long wide boards cut to mirror each other. Seems to me those big knots and the swirly grain around them, despite their beauty, are not your friend – they may look good but they also set the piece up for uneven stresses and subsequent movement over time whenever they are facing humidity changes.

Not at all sure this would work but maybe go with the idea of incorporating the look of bow-ties through the piece including the top. Might also consider ripping the entire top down the length of each of the cracks, flipping the pieces, and regluing. Also, when finishing – make sure the ends, and bottom, are as well sealed and finished as the top surface – the intent being to slow down, and even out, its response to rapid humidity changes.

I feel your frustration – looks like you have a gorgeous finish on a beautiful table – sure hope you are able to deal with this issue and salvage a terrific looking project.

Jay

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

10852 posts in 1818 days


#8 posted 08-05-2017 12:21 AM

The longer the set time the stronger it will generally be. Generally.

A shot of epoxy as deep as possible in the cracks. Blue tape on the top side to keep the epoxy from spreading. Clamp it. Deep bow ties in the bottom on each crack.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View 000's profile

000

2859 posts in 1231 days


#9 posted 08-05-2017 12:28 AM

I wouldn’t do bow ties in the bottom. I would use counter top connectors sunk about half way in.
Clean out the cracks the best you can and refill them with epoxy resin.
West Systems seems to be the product of choice here.

Then cross your fingers and hope for the best!

View pontic's profile

pontic

686 posts in 940 days


#10 posted 08-05-2017 12:56 AM

+1 on west systems.

-- Illigitimii non carburundum sum

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

7313 posts in 2531 days


#11 posted 08-05-2017 01:09 AM

+2 on west. And for future reference, when filling – lay down some neat epoxy first, before using any with color or fillers. It lets it penetrate the wood better and provides a better bond.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View Rich's profile

Rich

4270 posts in 921 days


#12 posted 08-05-2017 01:32 AM

Those epoxy suggestions are all good for use in the future, but in order to use them now, it’ll require sanding them flush to the surface. Since the top is already finished that presents a difficult situation. Sanding and refinishing just those areas while blending the repair into the existing finish is a real challenge, so short of sanding and refinishing the entire table top, a spot repair is the way to go.

That’s where the hard fill burn-in sticks come in. It’s easy to just fill those spots, and get them perfectly level. Like I said, color isn’t an issue since you’re not trying to match a wood surface. Also a shellac-based stick like Mohawk EZ-Flow is durable enough for the wear and tear a table top will see. Mohawk Planestick is another good option as it has low sheen and is both durable and flexible.

Those cracks should have been stabilized mechanically, and the type of epoxy everyone is recommending used in the first place.

I recommend repairing it and delivering the table. You have no way of knowing which way the wood will move in its new environment. Possibly it will be stable, but if it opens up, do another spot repair. Eventually it will stabilize.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View shoichi's profile

shoichi

30 posts in 1194 days


#13 posted 08-05-2017 02:23 PM




First of all 5 minute epoxy is not usually the best epoxy for bonding especially high stress joints.

Second, it seems unlikely that your “filling” job penetrated all the way through to truly glue the sides of the crack together. If they had been truly glued, the crack would be in the wood beside the old glued crack.

Thirdly, this seems entirely predictable to me and I would not be surprised to see the others open up in time as well.

Did you check the moisture content yourself or just take the word of the seller?
I don t mean to be negative but I am just not surprised …. and what s worse, I don t have a magic bullet.
Sorry.
- shipwright

i am treating this as a major learning experience. i didn’t check the moisture content myself and just trusted the seller which i will never do again.

i am gonna be proactive and put 1.5 inch thick bowties in the bottom side of the table on all 4 cracks that were fixed with epoxy. this way hopefully the other 3 cracks won’t open later on.

View shoichi's profile

shoichi

30 posts in 1194 days


#14 posted 08-05-2017 02:26 PM



Since it s already finished, refilling and sanding isn t a good option, so I d recommend a hard fill burn-in. It ll be easy since the color in there doesn t match the table to begin with.

- RichTaylor

thanks RichTaylor. I’ll look that up..

View Carloz's profile

Carloz

1147 posts in 923 days


#15 posted 08-05-2017 09:38 PM


the guy i bought the slabs from says his slabs were properly dried when he sold them to me.
- shoichi

Can you imagine a situation where a seller would say : ” These slabs were not dried properly” ? In my not so short life I only a couple of times came across a guy who would be honest selling something and pointed to some hidden defect.
Now back to the table. Can you post a photo of the underside of the table especially at the place the top is attached? Something tells me the problem is there.

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

1856 posts in 935 days


#16 posted 08-05-2017 11:35 PM

+1 Rich and shipwright. Like jonah, I also would put the bow ties on the top of all of the cracks, not just for appearance but for strength to keep the top side from moving. I would also use whatever Rich’s hard fill burnin method is. Never heard of it but he usually knows what he’s talking about. Rich?? What dat?? 1 1/2” might be a little thick for a bow tie. I might use 2 thinner ones on each crack.

5 min (or 10 or 15) epoxy is not the way to go. Next time try something like West System or my favorite, Total Boat Epoxy. They are thinner than 5 min epoxy and when poured in stages will fill all of the voids using this method—> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRvHSM1eYf4 The voids in that crack of yours are not filled. Like someone else said, if they were the glue bond would be stronger than the wood.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View Richard Lee's profile

Richard Lee

236 posts in 1107 days


#17 posted 08-06-2017 12:52 AM

https://www.amazon.com/Ames-Temper-3010600-Fiberglass-Handles/dp/B002JGC9SY

Ive used this stuff, takes a full 24 hours to cure and never had it fail.

View Rich's profile

Rich

4270 posts in 921 days


#18 posted 08-06-2017 02:42 AM


Rich?? What dat??

- Andybb

Burn-in sticks are useful for all sorts of surface repairs on wood. Repair techniques like them, and others, are a good thing for someone like shoichi, who’s getting into business, to have in his back pocket. This time it was wood movement, but it could just as easily been a dent or scratch that happened during delivery.

In the shop, it’s much easier than trying to do the glue/sawdust type of fix. These days, if I get a blemish on the surface from tear-out, clumsiness, whatever, I go ahead and do my finishing up to the first layer of topcoat. Then I do the repair and finish the rest of the coats. Even though I know where the repair is, I can’t distinguish it.

A good source of info is Mohawk Finishing Products web site. You can also find their videos on youtube. I use Mohawk exclusively, because they work for me, but there are other brands too. Touch Up Solutions has some great videos on burn-in techniques.

Both companies videos cover repair techniques of all types, not just burn-in.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Rarebreed68's profile

Rarebreed68

148 posts in 633 days


#19 posted 08-06-2017 03:09 AM

I’ll give another +1 for West Systems. The burn in sticks work quite well in a variety of situations. I’ve been able to repair shipping damage on several pieces for different hotel chains using burn in sticks, spray tints and toners. They are indispensable when delivering furniture or cabinets, and once you get comfortable with them, you can pick up a good bit of work doing in field repairs for clients. Depending on the piece and amount of damage, I usually charge a $25.00 consultation plus $75.00 and up for repairs. Most of the time I have less than an hour in the whole thing.
Another method worth considering for the spot repair is using an air powered buffer with polishing compound to blend in your finish and polish everything to an even sheen.

Best of luck on whichever method you decide to try.

-- EARTH FIRST! We'll log the other planets later. Trust your neighbors, but brand your calves. Opinion worth price charged.

View Snipes's profile

Snipes

394 posts in 2576 days


#20 posted 08-06-2017 04:17 AM

I’ve never used burn in sticks on such a large crack, but using them to fill four large cracks and selling to some unsuspecting costumer seems like a poor way to do business to me.

-- if it is to be it is up to me

View Rich's profile

Rich

4270 posts in 921 days


#21 posted 08-06-2017 04:39 AM



I ve never used burn in sticks on such a large crack, but using them to fill four large cracks and selling to some unsuspecting costumer seems like a poor way to do business to me.

- Snipes

There are large cracks filled with epoxy. It would take a blind person to be unsuspecting :)

I also didn’t suggest using burn-in sticks in place of epoxy in the first place, I said it would be an easy way to repair the defects in the photo the OP posted. I’m not sure how anyone could have misunderstood that.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View ArtMann's profile

ArtMann

1336 posts in 1148 days


#22 posted 08-06-2017 02:22 PM

My opinion is that epoxy should be considered a crack fill rather than an adhesive to hold a split together or keep it from getting worse. My experience has been a mechanical solution is the only one that works.

View Nubsnstubs's profile

Nubsnstubs

1508 posts in 2062 days


#23 posted 08-06-2017 03:28 PM

Schoichi, has your customer seen the table yet. I ask because it was supposed to have been delivered on 8, 04. If you’re stalling, that’s not a good practice to get into. I don’t know what your deal the customer was, but maybe he will be up for some suggestions on what to do to get his table done and delivered…...

One thing might want to is to forget about the epoxy and try other methods that your customer might approve of.

If the customer was agreeable, with a good long straight edge, you could rout a slot ‘x’ deep by ‘x’ wide along the table length from crack to crack. Insert the same or contrasting piece of wood. If the slot is wide enough, and you use good glue, it might aid in keeping the crack in check. you could do it on both sides as that would be better. As far as the crack that would still be exposed on the ends, fill them with a good filler you and customer approves of.

The second alternative would be to drill out a 3/8” hole all the way across the table width. Drill out 3/4” recesses for a washer and nut deep enough to cover with a plug of the same species as the top. Use a 5/16” all thread rod and try to pull those cracks together…....... That’s it, all I got…......... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson) www.woodturnerstools.com

View builtinbkyn's profile

builtinbkyn

2927 posts in 1272 days


#24 posted 08-06-2017 03:39 PM

Short of implementing a mechanical repair as suggested, using butterflies/bowties (is one name more correct than the other?), which may or may not arrest the situation, I would probably rip the slab where the cracks are developing, and just glue the top up again. They seem to want to stretch from one end to the other anyway, and that’s telling. There’s already a glue line in the table so they won’t look misplaced. This would require refinishing the top, but sometimes that’s how it goes. I would feel more confident that this won’t be an ongoing issue that I’d have to deal with down the road, which would make for a very unhappy customer.

-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

1856 posts in 935 days


#25 posted 08-06-2017 05:14 PM


My opinion is that epoxy should be considered a crack fill rather than an adhesive to hold a split together or keep it from getting worse. My experience has been a mechanical solution is the only one that works.
- ArtMann

+1 “Opened up” as you said seems to be a verb, it seems to me that the wood is still moving. I think you need to take steps to stabilize it before delivery. Since you used epoxy on them that means the cracks were there when you finished it. Don’t blame the guy who sold you the slab.

Just curious…..Did you purchase the slab already bookmatched and jointed or did you do that yourself? I ask because other than the cracks the slab and finish look awesome. Nice work. However, it looks like those cracks on each end line up with each other. If so, I’d be worried about tension in the wood and eventually appearing along the length of the table. As someone else suggested, maybe rip and re-join on either side of the cracks along the entire length. Might take an extra week but asking for forgiveness from the customer for a weeks delay may be better than those cracks re-appearing a year from now?

If its your first table for $ you want it to be right. You might want to use the customer as a reference and get some good Google reviews.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View Ocelot's profile

Ocelot

2148 posts in 2970 days


#26 posted 08-06-2017 05:46 PM

I’m no expert on anything, neither woodworking nor business, but I know that your reputation is the most important thing to consider at this point. Whatever you do I would keep that uppermost in mind. Treat your customer the way you would want to be treated. You are probably going to lose money on this project. You can still carry through in a way that will enhance your reputation and bring you future business.

View Tony_S's profile

Tony_S

962 posts in 3415 days


#27 posted 08-06-2017 10:52 PM

I have no Idea what your customer has for expectations…..are they aware of the previously filled cracks and this second attempt at a repair? And quite possibly more repairs down the road?
Just my opinion, but I would replace the top with sound, stable Walnut and chalk it up to “live and learn”.

-- It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

View Mario's profile

Mario

182 posts in 3728 days


#28 posted 08-06-2017 11:14 PM

Sorry to spoil it shoichi but you are starting up with a very unstable piece of wood to begin with. Lumber with gnarly figures, crotch, large knots and extreme pattern bends are best used as veneer over a more stable substrate when building a counter or table top. But it’s done, so the best at this point as mentioned before is using a different kind of epoxy (System West), add some mechanical contention (butterflies), suck it up, strip, refinish and pray it won’t crack again.

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

1856 posts in 935 days


#29 posted 08-07-2017 12:18 AM


I have no Idea what your customer has for expectations…..are they aware of the previously filled cracks and this second attempt at a repair? And quite possibly more repairs down the road?
Just my opinion, but I would replace the top with sound, stable Walnut and chalk it up to “live and learn”.

- Tony_S


That kind of defeats the concept of a “live edge slab” table which I think is what the customer expects. I’ve never done a live edge slab that didn’t require epoxy in some small or large amount. The original crack is the nature of the beast, not a repair.

I suspect the crack, improperly filled and not stabilized with bow ties allowed the wood to articulate. It’s a very nice looking top and is easily repairable IMHO. I don’t think you’d have to sand the entire top.down again. Rip on either side of the cracks. Joint then sand an inch or so on either side and blend. Maybe use biscuits for alignment. If you bought it already bookmatched and are uncomfortable jointing such a large piece then ask the guy you bought it from to do it then just blend the finish.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View shoichi's profile

shoichi

30 posts in 1194 days


#30 posted 08-07-2017 01:46 AM

mistake was mine because i never checked the moisture content of the slab when i picked them up. that was my first fk up which won’t happen again. the slabs did have a crack on them and the guy who sold them to me who happens to build and sell ton of similar tables assured me that the epoxy fill will be good enough

i picked the two slabs up and joined them myself. my worry is that the wood is still wet and so the table may have more issues down the road. the live edge off cuts are actually bent a little. i just noticed this today. will take a photo and upload here tomorrow.

i was planning on having professional photos taken of this table and making some ads with it which never happened but thanks to all you good folks here, i feel like i am on the right track to getting it right.

View shoichi's profile

shoichi

30 posts in 1194 days


#31 posted 08-07-2017 01:50 AM



I m no expert on anything, neither woodworking nor business, but I know that your reputation is the most important thing to consider at this point. Whatever you do I would keep that uppermost in mind. Treat your customer the way you would want to be treated. You are probably going to lose money on this project. You can still carry through in a way that will enhance your reputation and bring you future business.

- Ocelot

you are absolutely right. i am gonna build a small clock for the customer as a thank you for their patience. the guy was very angry on the first day but then i spoke to him on the phone and i explained to him that it was an honest mistake on my part but that i am doing all i can to make it right. i hand delivered to them the clock i made as a little gift for their new home and got about two weeks extra from them.

View shoichi's profile

shoichi

30 posts in 1194 days


#32 posted 08-07-2017 02:10 AM



I have no Idea what your customer has for expectations…..are they aware of the previously filled cracks and this second attempt at a repair? And quite possibly more repairs down the road?
Just my opinion, but I would replace the top with sound, stable Walnut and chalk it up to “live and learn”.

- Tony_S

i am actually considering this.

today i went to where the table is and took a look at the off cuts of the slabs i cut and the one i looked at was kind of warped. i couldn’t stay long but i m going back in tomorrow to take a look at them again.

plus i just ordered a moisture meter and it’ll arrive in a couple days. i am gonna see how wet the off cuts are. if they’re still pretty wet, that means the table is not fully dried and i’ll just have to put it to the side and build them a new table with new wood. my reputation for me is far more important than money at this point in my life…

hopefully the moisture content of the wood is low so i don’t have to pay for new wood.

View shoichi's profile

shoichi

30 posts in 1194 days


#33 posted 08-07-2017 02:13 AM



Sorry to spoil it shoichi but you are starting up with a very unstable piece of wood to begin with. Lumber with gnarly figures, crotch, large knots and extreme pattern bends are best used as veneer over a more stable substrate when building a counter or table top. But it s done, so the best at this point as mentioned before is using a different kind of epoxy (System West), add some mechanical contention (butterflies), suck it up, strip, refinish and pray it won t crack again.

- Mario

quick question

if i find out that the walnut i used for this table was not fully dried and is still technically wet, is there anything i can do to prevent it from warping in the future? i have this feeling that the wood wasn’t fully dried so even if i fix the crack, what are the chances that other parts of the table won’t have issues such as cracking or warping?

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

1856 posts in 935 days


#34 posted 08-07-2017 02:19 AM

the slabs did have a crack on them and the guy who sold them to me who happens to build and sell ton of similar tables assured me that the epoxy fill will be good enough
- shoichi

I suspect he was right if you had used a true epoxy fill vs 5 min epoxy. Don’t think the moisture content was the issue. If he sells a ton of them I think he knows what he’s doing. Ask him what epoxy he uses and use that next time. Watch the youtube vid I linked earlier.

For this project, rip and re-joint. If you jointed those slabs then you have the skill to fix them easily.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View 000's profile

000

2859 posts in 1231 days


#35 posted 08-07-2017 02:39 AM

I keep seeing recommendations for ripping the tops where the cracks are.
I doubt that the cracks line up from one end with the other so I don’t think ripping and re jointing is an option.
Plus it isn’t going to look like a book-matched slab anymore. You will see the seems.

Your best fix is to mechanically bind the cracks (from below) with whatever method you deem best, refill the cracks with the proper epoxy, sand the tables back down and refinish them as if they were being done from the beginning.

Another method for binding the cracks would be to rout out a recess for a piece of wood (3/4” thick) covering the cracks, something about 3 or 4” wide and glue the crap out of it when you clamp it in. If the wood is still wet and moving there will still be the possibility of future cracks opening up.
JMO

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

1856 posts in 935 days


#36 posted 08-07-2017 03:22 AM

Well, now you’ve got plenty of suggestions. Good luck with it. Let us know how it works out and take pictures.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

2244 posts in 3276 days


#37 posted 08-07-2017 03:47 AM

To elaborate on the other posts, five minute epoxy is wonderful, but it’s thick and doesn’t soak in to the wood wll. Compared to the 2:1 I use now, it doesn’t soak in well enough to get certain jobs done.


If the client doesn t want bowties on the top you don t use bowties.
I agree with Paul, 5 min epoxy is not good for that situation…

- Snipes


View Mario's profile

Mario

182 posts in 3728 days


#38 posted 08-07-2017 04:09 PM

quick question

if i find out that the walnut i used for this table was not fully dried and is still technically wet, is there anything i can do to prevent it from warping in the future? i have this feeling that the wood wasn’t fully dried so even if i fix the crack, what are the chances that other parts of the table won’t have issues such as cracking or warping?

If your slab is not within the EMC (Equilibrium Moisture Content) range for the current location it will most likely warp or crack.

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

2244 posts in 3276 days


#39 posted 08-07-2017 04:25 PM

Since cracking and spitting is a result of shrinking, as the wood dries, it MIGHT be possible to flip the beast over and get non-hardening oil or some other product to penetrate the wood and replace lost moisture. This doesn’t work over night though. When it quits sucking it up, you have to slather it on and leave it, until it’s ready for the next coat.

You have to thin the oil enough to get penetration.

Years ago, I had good luck with Varithane’s Plastic oil. I don’t know if that was just thinned poly or what. If I went that route, I’d use the technique I’ve used over and again over the last four decades – as long as you keep the surface wet and don’t allow it to harden, you can keep adding. That may mean wrapping it in plastic at night, then proceeding the next morning.

When I did this to a butcher block, which had too many splits and cracks to count. After a few weeks of non-hardening oil swelling the wood, the cracks and splits ALL disappeared (happy accident?).

View dbray45's profile

dbray45

3320 posts in 3108 days


#40 posted 08-07-2017 07:27 PM

In looking at the slab, it is not just the MC of the slab that is the issue. As the weather changes, this is going to be changing as well – glue is not going to fix it.

It looks like your split is the result of the stresses between the knots and the wood and both are going to move in different directions. Moisture has a 50% play in this, the rest is a result of what is moving at what speed.

In gluing it further, when is splits again, the wood will fail next to the current joint.

The remedy is not easy but you have to stop the split and then reduce the stress. You either work with it, or change it. I doubt that you will be able to stop it – or it will warp or split again.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

2134 posts in 2130 days


#41 posted 08-07-2017 09:05 PM

The problem using that slab before it’s dry is allowing for movement and still having it attached to the base.
I doubt it will dry flat most likely it will want to cup and twist, how much would be anyone’s guess.

-- Aj

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

1856 posts in 935 days


#42 posted 08-07-2017 10:56 PM

Take a deep breath. So, if it was me, by now I’d be thoroughly unsure and uneasy about what the future holds for this slab. Maybe check the moisture content just to be sure. I still doubt he’d sell you a slab that wasn’t dry since you said he sells tons of them, which means he has tons of customers which means he knows what he’s doing. He may have a way to check the moisture content. If it’s not dry he’ll probably compensate you in some way. Tell him what happened and the suggestions you got from here. See what he thinks. He may be able to put you in touch with one of his customers who is a pro who could take a look at it for you. If he’s close buy, take it to him and let him look at it. Maybe he’ll cut you a great deal on another slab or even exchange it. I’m sure he wants to keep you as a customer. Ya never know what he’s got on hand if he does a lot of them.

Since you have 2 weeks and if you have the $ start from scratch. If not, maybe you can work a deal with the slab guy to pay him after you sell it. You can fix and sell this one later. Let it sit in your shop for a month or 2 and see what it does after you fix it. Remember, the first one is always the prototype. Order some epoxy, do this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRvHSM1eYf4 and make it right maybe?

By now I’d be close to an anxiety attack worrying about it.

One last suggestion….Take a jig saw, angle it so it follows the cracks you filled and clean out the 5 min epoxy and fill the crack properly. Then put some butterflys on the bottom just to be sure.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View dbray45's profile

dbray45

3320 posts in 3108 days


#43 posted 08-08-2017 04:32 PM

Best idea – let this sit. If you have a dehumidifier in your shop, that is a very good thing. One of the things that I have done to deal with a split like this is to release the stress.

This is what I do for these things – dry it to 2-4% MC, let it do what it will do.
Once it has finished the splitting on it’s own, draw a line following the grain to the end of the opposite split.
Take a jig saw and run it through the split, through the line and then through the split.
Make sure that the slab is fully supported, you do not want the end to split and break off, you are running the blade through to the other end of the board.
Keep your cut line a smooth as possible
Once you have removed the long piece, clamp it back to the piece it just came from
You will see that the split has reduced the thickness of the blade
Do this again
Sometimes it takes 4 or more times to fully eliminate the open split.

When you have removed the open split, glue and clamp the two pieces together. The boards are at rest and no longer in a stressed condition.

If you are careful and take your time, the cut line will be all but invisible on the top. You will see it on the bottom because the grain is different there. Even if you have to cross the grain lines, when you make your cuts, you have room to adjust over several cuts.

-- David in Damascus, MD

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shoichi

30 posts in 1194 days


#44 posted 08-08-2017 10:42 PM

So to just to give an update

I ordered a moisture reader and took some readings today… To my surprise, the readings came all under 10%.

I was suspicious that maybe the boards weren’t as fully dry but it seems like the meter rules that out, doesn’t it?

another possible cause which I just thought of today is that maybe the unusually high level of humidity in my city – toronto in canada – led to the crack to open. It rained about 3-4 days out while I was working on the table so maybe that had something to do with it?

also, one more thing, i took a reading of a lot of the 2×4s and 2×10 joists in the shop i am working at and their readings also came in the upper 9% and 10%. I was expecting them to be much lower since they’ve been installed in the house for over 30 years.

anywya, any feed back on this id appreciate

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sras

5036 posts in 3461 days


#45 posted 08-08-2017 11:49 PM

Just remember – even though wood is dry, it will still expand and contract with changes in the weather. The piece needs to have features to allow the wood to move. People have been making slab topped tables for a long time, but it does take proper preparation. You should be able to rescue the top.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

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Steve

191 posts in 2332 days


#46 posted 08-09-2017 02:24 AM

I would purchase a good moisture meter, and buy quality epoxy like West System.

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Mario

182 posts in 3728 days


#47 posted 08-09-2017 04:37 PM

Shoichi, you need to place both pins on either side of the crack, otherwise you will be getting the wrong moisture content…..

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a1Jim

117603 posts in 3909 days


#48 posted 08-09-2017 05:12 PM

shoichi
I haven’t read all the comments but My response is not what any one wants to hear … Remake the top, but first, check the moisture content of your material and if you cleat the bottom make sure you don’t glue it down, use screws with elongated holes to allow for wood movement also make sure you finish top and bottom equally. In my opinion, patching filling or adding Dutchmen may not be a long term fix if the wood is still not dry.
If you don’t redo the top all together rip out the cracks and reglue back together but only if the woods moisture content is acceptable.
Your customer deserves the best product you can give them.

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Andybb

1856 posts in 935 days


#49 posted 08-09-2017 06:17 PM

This is by no means the only way to fix this but is how I would do it….

As I suspected the MC is not the issue. I still think the slab will be just fine. Clean out the cracks to get rid of the 5 min epoxy. Sand or scrape a few inches on either side of the cracks on the top side to remove the finish. Apply the tape like in the video to the top side. Rub it hard to get a good seal. Flip it over and in stages, pour something like West System into the cracks from the back. Your first pour should be a minimal amount, just enough to work its way down to the tape. Let that harden. The reason for that is because the epoxy heats up as it cures and will stretch the tape and ooze out of the crack on top so you don’t want it to get too hot, which will also cause it to form bubbles. Then once that first layer is hard you can then fill the rest of the void. Just to be sure, you can add butterflys and sand them flush. Then, flip it back over. If you got a good seal with the tape you should have a nice, damn near flush result on the top side. Any part that didn’t penetrate you can fill from the top. Sand or scrape smooth. Refinish and blend and buff. This same technique was shown to me by a guy here in the PNW who has done these for years for clients like Microsoft and Amazon and it works great. Do this on one of your off cuts first to practice the technique. Nothing wrong with attaching the base with something that would allow for movement.

Option 2: Start over.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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a1Jim

117603 posts in 3909 days


#50 posted 08-09-2017 06:20 PM

Obviously, I missed your giant photos of you moisture gauge. It seems that you may just be dealing internal stress.
I also read Jbays comment about the cracks not lining up on both ends of the top and losing the book match by ripping the cracks out, all good points, so unless your customer doesn’t mind losing the book match and some width off the top I think I would still go with the making a whole new top.
Over the years I found that many times when I try the less troublesome fixes on problems I end up doing the more difficult fix, after all, is said and done. so nowadays I just get it done right even if it takes a lot of extra time and possibly a financial loss instead of trying short cuts that may or may not work. Customers appreciate people who take care of problems and even if they don’t, you have the satisfaction of knowing you did the right thing the best way you know how to do.

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