Damaged wood. help.

  • Advertise with us

« back to Wood & Lumber forum

Forum topic by kennyjoy posted 12-29-2017 05:30 AM 1403 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View kennyjoy's profile


8 posts in 753 days

12-29-2017 05:30 AM

Topic tags/keywords: wood question tips resource tricks

So im plaing on using this a as a mid century coffee table. But this issue this the damages they are pretty visible. I didnt want to use fillers, for some reason everytime apply a oil finish on a filled surface it looks very off. Should i plane the surface? Any tips? Btw Im new to wood working. Thanks!

Wood type: kumbuk (sri lanka)

15 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4252 days

#1 posted 12-29-2017 06:16 AM

You can hand plane it with the grain using
a sharp #4 plane. Sharpening and tuning
planes for use is something of an art however
and if you don’t have stones you’ll need to
acquire them.

Planing as well is something of an art. What
you have there is tearout from reversing grain
and while hand planes can handle reversed
grain it requires finesse in set-up and use to
do it successfully. You’ll have to plane off a
good bit of material from the whole board to
correct the torn out areas and in doing so you
may tear out other areas. Knowing when to
put the plane aside and resort to a card scraper
is learned from experience.

You can do it. It will be a learning experience
for sure. The easy way would be to run it
through a wide belt or drum sander.

View Kelly's profile


2627 posts in 3548 days

#2 posted 12-29-2017 07:28 AM

If you have a small test piece, and you don’t want to lose wood, consider epoxy fill. It sands and polishes nice.

View Dave G's profile

Dave G

335 posts in 2652 days

#3 posted 12-29-2017 10:27 AM

If the sharp smoothing plane does not do it, a toothed plane I’ve heard will manage. that. I don’t actually have a toothed plane so that remains a rumor. It supposedly works by creating a hundred tiny little planes side-by-side so the grain cannot stick together and tear out the piece nearby. Finish with a card scrapers.

You have a lot of material to remove, however. I assume you tried different things in the surface planer. And any more experimenting and you won’t have any thickness left. You have no choice but to use an aggressive belt sander. If you have access to one of the shop table sanders (looks like a surface planer) that will be easiest. I fixed a hard maple top like this once using a large 4” hand belt sander and it tool me at least 8 hours to do it right (being careful to avoid digs). It would be worth it to find a mill with the large belt sander. Then apply a card scraper.

-- Dave, New England - “We are made to persist. that's how we find out who we are.” ― Tobias Wolff

View Tony_S's profile


1062 posts in 3687 days

#4 posted 12-29-2017 12:55 PM

Interlocked grain and deep tear out like that is gonna be a bitch, regardless of how you tackle it.

A standard surface planer with SHARP blades would take care of some of it if you watch the feed direction, but it’ll more than likely crop up somewhere else, possibly worse than before.
A surface planer with a Helical head would help HUGE, but probably not eliminate it 100%. That, in combination with a large overhead sander would work 100%. I’m betting you have access to neither.

Sweet Jezus….I can’t even fathom using a hand plane on a coffee table size slab and having to plane that deep.
I couldn’t find any real info regarding ‘Kumbuk’....usually tropicals that tear out like that are hard and ‘rubbery’ for a lack of a better term.

-- “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.” – Plato

View Tennessee's profile


2901 posts in 3118 days

#5 posted 12-29-2017 01:04 PM

Apparently Kumbuk is used a lot in Sri Lanka, often used as flooring, so not even endangered.
I even found a pricing guide for Kumbuk flooring.

But to be honest, it was a new one on me – never heard of it till I read this thread.

With the slab that torn, I think I’d be using an epoxy fill as Kelly suggested. Once dried, it will sand and blend in nicely with the dark grain, and should hold up well. Simply sand and finish like the wood itself, save it won’t take a stain, but who would stain that nice piece of wood?

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View JBrow's profile


1368 posts in 1524 days

#6 posted 12-29-2017 04:08 PM


I can think of five options for fixing the defects:

1. Apply a protective finish and use the table as is. Obviously the fastest and easiest method; of course the defects remain and dust and debris can become trapped and difficult to remove. If the underside of the top is in acceptable condition, then the top could be flipped over. However, you could be left with some holes from fasteners that would have to be either left or filled.

2. Fill the defects. Again the defects remain but the filler will keep dust and debris at bay. It too would be a fairly easy approach.

3. Remove the defects by reducing the thickness the top. The defects appear to be too deep to be address by removing material around the defect only; significant depressions would be left. Therefore, the thickness of the entire surface would have to be reduced. The top appears to be about 1” thick and the bottom of the defects could be deeper than ¼”. Thus, this approach would leave a top thinner, perhaps even less than ¾” thick. Rather than trying to plane the entire surface, a local cabinet shop may have a wide drum sander that could reduce the thickness. Sanding would avoid the tear-out problems that could arise if the surface were planed.

4. Apply patches. The ideal material for the patch would be kumbuk, which could be difficult to find. The defect would be routed out and the kumbuk patch cut to fit and glued in place. The patches would likely be visible, even if well done.

5. Replace the defects with new kumbuk planks. This would require ripping the defects out at the table saw and edge gluing new planks to recreate the top. The top would then be sand flush. This would be a lot of work and would require kumbuk planks of the appropriate thickness but could leave little, if any, evidence of the defects.

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2131 posts in 767 days

#7 posted 12-29-2017 04:41 PM

when I was using a lot of Honduras Mahogany, I often ran into this issue.
after a few frustrations of trying to repair it, I gave up and put those boards
in a corner for projects that required shorter pieces, like plaques and things.
if you have more on hand, and cost is not really an issue, i would put that board
away for smaller projects…... just not worth the time, effort or frustration to fix it.

jus my Dos Centavos

-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --

View bondogaposis's profile


5605 posts in 2955 days

#8 posted 12-31-2017 11:39 PM

This may be too obvious, but can you flip he board over?

-- Bondo Gaposis

View alittleoff's profile


545 posts in 1881 days

#9 posted 01-01-2018 01:37 AM

I’d run it through the table saw and cut the bad parts out, then glue it back together. That’s if it’s wide enough to do that way. Another is to cut the bad out, flip them over and reuse them with the other side up. A good glue joint is hard to see.

View Alex Lane's profile

Alex Lane

554 posts in 4494 days

#10 posted 01-01-2018 01:57 AM

Some people also like to highlight defects and voids with a contrasting inlay of wood or epoxy mixed with something like crushed turquoise or copper flakes. I even recall hearing that coffee grounds and epoxy can make a decent filler, even though you said filler is not what you’re looking for. Not sure what your goals are, but you’ve got plenty of suggestions here. I look forward to seeing how this turns out for you! Best wishes!

These pictures are not mine. Found them on Google and Pinterest.

This may be too obvious, but can you flip he board over?

- bondogaposis

That was funny but true!

-- Alex...builder of wooden wings for vintage sport biplanes...I'm your wingman :)

View kennyjoy's profile


8 posts in 753 days

#11 posted 01-03-2018 07:24 PM

Thanks for all the tips! I really appreciate it. Well this is that i did. 1.Used a chisel to make the chipped groves even 2.Their were 2 deep groves around the corners, I didn’t want to chisel them out as they were to close to the edges, so filled them with epoxy, super glue and saw dust(still in progress). 3.Hand sanded around the groves using a 60 Grid to make the surface even and then 80 to 220 grid.(The whole surface is not totally true flat, but very even to the touch no holes or bumps.)

Before and After

View Ripper70's profile


1369 posts in 1513 days

#12 posted 01-03-2018 08:26 PM

Nicely done!

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

View runswithscissors's profile


3081 posts in 2629 days

#13 posted 01-04-2018 12:37 AM

My favorite filler to use with epoxy in a situation like that is sanding dust from the same wood species. It will darken with finishing, however; but that may just add character to it. With the right proportion of dust in the epoxy, it will take stain readily. Anyhow, it looks like you got it done.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View Alex Lane's profile

Alex Lane

554 posts in 4494 days

#14 posted 01-04-2018 02:20 AM


-- Alex...builder of wooden wings for vintage sport biplanes...I'm your wingman :)

View BurlyBob's profile


6906 posts in 2870 days

#15 posted 01-04-2018 04:43 AM

Kenny my hat’s off to you . You really did a nice job fixing that table top.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics