LumberJocks Woodworking Forum banner
1 - 18 of 18 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was fortunate enough to get my hands a quite a few large walnut live edge pieces. Planning on doing benches, coffee tables and serving trays with them. I will probably cut out the really rough areas to make other stuff with. My question is what is a good method to fill cracks and voids? I was thinking saw dust and wood glue. Really need to make sure I get the pieces used as serving trays/charcuterie boards filled in correctly to prevent any bacteria from food getting in the cracks. You can see some cracks around and in the knots.

Automotive tire Sleeve Wood Gas Flooring

Elephant Automotive tire Working animal Wood Grey
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,411 Posts
i use epoxy, easy peesey, add some color and fill, and oh yeah tape the back side for leakage, let'r cure and have at it with a sander, planer, what ever it takes, fills can add charactor imo.
good luc
rj in az
 

· Registered
Maker
Joined
·
688 Posts
For cutting and charcuterie boards, epoxy with some kind of color (usually black) works the best. That will seep into all of the nooks and crannies where bacteria would normally start. Though I remember reading some threads on this site about wood cutting boards being naturally bacteria resistant anyway.

But if you wanted to turn it into a table or cabinet top, you could also use bowties (aka butterflies) or other decorative inlays to cover over unsightly knots and cracks. That may also work for cutting boards if you cover every glue surface with Titebond 3. Gotta seal out any water from settling in that glue joint. Actually, epoxy would probably be better for that since it will fill any gaps between the inlay and the cutting board.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Will epoxy have problems with expansion and contraction during season changes? I live in a climate that has every season. Winter it can be way below freezing and dry and summers it can be 90+ degrees out and humid as hell.
 

· Administrator
Joined
·
3,355 Posts
as for the tape to block the flow of epoxy, I strongly recommend the Red Vinyl "Stucco Tape". Which is available in your local Box Stores or online. 2 inches by 60 yards goes a long way in many projects. (epoxy doesn't stick to it).
Font Material property Electric blue Drink Advertising
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,844 Posts
What epoxy does everybody recommend? Anything I can pick up at a big mix store or local hardware store?
System 3 is pretty easy to work with just pay attention to your temperatures. West Systems is very good but a bit larger investment to get set up in the beginning. As @Tony1212 said above, wooden cutting boards will wick away moisture from cracks & crevices and without moisture, pathogens can't propagate on a wooden board in the crevices but filling them aids with basic cleaning and most person's perceptions of the board. If it's just a char-coochie board and at most will only see a simple cheese knife you're okay to fill with epoxy, but if it's a board that will actually be used as a cutting board I'd advise to go with patches of whatever shape works for you so that there is no risk of epoxy being "chopped" into the food.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Black or Brown med/thick starbond CA glue for those small ones, works better than epoxy for small cracks IMO. Thinner so it fills better. Epoxy for the larger ones. I heat my epoxy in a bowl of hot water to make it flow better, especially when its cold. No need to buy the expensive pigment to color it either, you can use any acrylic based paint to color epoxy. I wouldn't use it in large areas on a cutting board, although I have done it for people that requested it. It will get cuts in it, will not hold up to being chopped on. I have seen it for sale in small containers at "Michaels" but it is way more expensive there. Total Boat is what I use, with the slow hardener. Cures to workable state in about a day if it isn't too cold in your shop.
 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
10,525 Posts
For relatively shallow cracks and knots, black or brown CA works well. For larger cracks, a dyed or filled epoxy is the way to go. I use aluminum HVAC tape to seal the bottoms and edges because it seals, well, can be sort of shaped along edges if needed, won't release because of the heat and still comes off fairly easily when done. For the cracks on the end, I would consider butterflies to stabilize them.

I use Devcon 2-ton epoxy for fills like this because it has a 30 minute set time which gives it longer for bubbles to work out. Coffee makes an excellent fill material, BTW. One of my favorite fill materials is brass powder mixed with epoxy. I bought the brass powder on Amazon. You add enough powder so that the epoxy becomes like a putty and then simply press it into the cracks (wear gloves). When you sand it to a high polish (800+ grit), it looks like you poured metal into it.


Experiment with some scraps to figure out how much brass you need to add. If you do not add enough, it just looks sort of green and not like metal. A 30 minute epoxy is the minimum set up time need to give you enough time to mix and apply. Leave it a little proud of the surface and use a block plane to level it after is cured. I also like using a blue mica powder/dye. it gives you a turquoise look. Turquoise sand is another option, though for deep fills, I would fill to within about 1/4" of the surface with plain epoxy and then use the sand for just the top.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
2,260 Posts
Another method is to fill the cracks with fine sawdust from the same or darker wood. Pack in as much as you can. Then in quick succession add thin CA glue which will soak in quickly then top it with medium CA glue until it will accept no more. The thin glue acts as a wicking agent to draw the medium glue into the sawdust.
I collect the fine sawdust using a belt sander or orbital sander with a built in dust collector. Over time I have built up a collection of various wood dusts and store it in small plastic jars. I use mine mostly on lathe turning projects.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,163 Posts
Epoxy here as well. I use my CNC to cut a fractal into any areas needing to be repaired/replaced. The fractal ads interest and provides a great mechanical connection that is not coming loose later. You could do it by hand with a router as well. The walnut had a large bark inclusion both had cracks and a knots.
Natural material Wood Sports equipment Wood stain Skateboard
Outdoor bench Table Furniture Wood Outdoor furniture
 

· Registered
Joined
·
85 Posts
I’ve poured a lot of epoxy on Walnut. I’ve used West systems but generally find it to be over priced and overrated. I’ve also tried cheaper epoxies like aeromarine, but they don’t behave well and can actually squeeze out when the wood moves seasonally. These days I prefer to use Masepoxies. I use three of their epoxies and two different hardeners depending on what I’m doing. For filling cracks in Walnut like you’re doing I would use their LV with a medium hardener. You’ll have maybe 10-15 minutes after mixing before it starts to get hot in the cup so that’s plenty of time to pour and fill up your cracks without it cooking in your hand. Walnut is the only wood where I dye the epoxy black. The dye can bleed into the surrounding pores which looks awful in lighter color woods. Masepoxies are higher quality resins so they doesn’t squeeze or do anything funky with seasonal movement. I’ve had zero issues with them over the years on many customer projects. It cures to roughly the same hardness as hardwood so you can sand it, plane, finish it, etc. without issue. (Pine is a whole other story.) If you have to do a big pour in a void pour in stages no more than a 1/2” at a time a few hours apart while it’s still tacky. If you mix too much the exothermic curing reaction gets out of control and it’ll cook and create a lot of bubbles that you have to grind back out with a Dremel tool. When you go to pour, tape the bottom side with as much tape as you think you’ll need, and then double it or it’ll just end up on your floor. Don’t pour epoxy below 60°. (Some epoxy resins like AeroMarine will actually start turning into a solid in the jug below 60°.) I constantly have to fill small cracks and voids in my walnut live edge cribbage boards. I always do them at the end of the day in the shop so when I come back in in the morning it’s ready to plane, sand, drill on the CNC, etc.
I could keep going here, but I’ll end up writing a book. Start small, you’ll figure it out.
Brown Wood Rectangle Floor Flooring

Table Rectangle Wood Flooring Floor
Brown Wood Rectangle Floor Flooring
Table Rectangle Wood Flooring Floor
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top