12’ x 4’x 4.5” solid Indonesia sura table need help

  • Advertise with us

« back to Joinery forum

Forum topic by Robszwed posted 03-18-2018 02:05 PM 669 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Robszwed's profile


3 posts in 883 days

03-18-2018 02:05 PM

I just moved my table from Asia to Wisconsin. As you can see I am having cracking issues due to humidity. The humidity issues is fixed. My table moisture is not stable as u can see by the finish. My table is not connected to the legs it’s floating on 2 metal pedestals. I plan to fix the cracking issues in the edges. I plan to use bow ties and epoxy.

1)I read bow ties (wood) are 2/3 thickness of table but how long do you make them and what is the spacing/ placement. My guess 3 “ away from edge of table and another and end of crack. How long are the bow ties I have seen many different sizes.

2) I was told not to apply 2 part epoxy and squeeze clamp the table. This will cause additional stress.

3). What order of operation. Do I epoxy fill first than bow tie. He is using a commercial 2 part epoxy.

4) I read flip table and apply epoxy from bottom, bubble remove by blowing or quickly torch.

5). Bow ties will be placed both on top and bottom offset.

6) table will be sanded to remove finish and that will be another post. My moisture meter arrives this week to figure out table moisture stabilization

7). Any ideas on wood species? I have the bench I can rip the sides off to get bow ties. But many articles say use a darker wood for contrast? Any ideas? Lol I can’t get sura wood at homedepot.

8) there are cracks on the longitudinal/ long edges minor. I’ll take pics of that. I and guessing after the sanding apply wood epoxy fill on those also

I have a contractor ( custom home builder he build my home ) starting this week and have found many YouTube videos but I still have questions and is why I am here. Thank u all for helping me so far and I look forward to your replies. I post pics as work progresses. Thanks rob

4 replies so far

View LittleShaver's profile


681 posts in 1428 days

#1 posted 03-18-2018 02:29 PM

Step 1 – Stop
Step 2 – Wait a year or two, maybe three or four

The wood is going to need at least a couple of years to stabilize to your new environment. If you jump into fixing it right away, you’ll be doing it again in another year or less.

Bow ties are as much a matter of aesthetics as they are mechanics. Light or dark, large or small, short or long. try making some out of paper in various configurations and colors to see what you like. You have plenty of time to work it out.

-- Sawdust Maker

View Manitario's profile


2816 posts in 3691 days

#2 posted 03-18-2018 06:09 PM

Welcome to LJ’s.
Beautiful table, sorry that it has cracked. I’ve done a bunch of slab projects using bowties, so I’ll try to answer your questions based on my experience. Probably the best thing that you can do for ideas on spacing/contrast/size/shape is google Nakashima, who arguably introduced the WW world to slab furniture that incorporated bowties and is still the best example of this style of WW.
1)Yes 2/3 depth is the general rule. Not sure that there is any hard rule about placement/number etc. I generally use one larger one at the start of the crack and one or two smaller ones near the end.
2)Agree. You may have luck in clamping the crack back together but most likely you’ll just end up making it worse.
3+4)Are you really sold on using the epoxy? It is not really going to add much to preventing further cracking (again, see Nakashima) and it makes for a huge amount of work. If you really want to go that route;
-not all two part epoxies are equal. Use a slow setting eg. Envirotec Lite or West System.
-I’ve used water based paint or ink from craft stores to tint the epoxy.
-duct tape the bottom and end and fill from the top
-I use a small propane torch to pop the bubbles. Breath works too, but you’re going to be doing it until the epoxy starts to set so easier with a torch.
-sanding the epoxy level with the top and bottom sucks. This is the huge amount of work part, and you’ll need to end up sanding the whole table top as it prob be difficult to match the finish if you just sand the epoxied area.
-if you use a clear epoxy, give it a light scrape with a card scraper to remove the sanding scratches after you’ve levelled it.
-once epoxy is dry (can take several days to reach full hardness) then do the bowties.
5)I’m not sure there is any utility in putting the bowties on the bottom unless there are cracks on the bottom that don’t yet go through to the top
6)Good plan. Wait at least a couple of months though before you do anything with the table, it will take that long b/f the slab reaches moisture equilibrium with the new environment
7)Personal preference. Walnut would blend in, cherry would give a bit of contrast, maple would look strange.

Do yourself a favour and look at a lot of pics of bowtie slabs before you do this. On a beautiful table like this, slim, elegant bowties would look a lot classier than the big, clunky bowties that are often used.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View runswithscissors's profile


3107 posts in 2833 days

#3 posted 03-18-2018 10:54 PM

My preferred way to color epoxy fill is to mix it with wood flour (sanding dust—not sawdust). Doesn’t need a lot. Whatever finish you apply—oil, varnish, or stain—will be taken up by the epoxy/wood flour mixture. No need to tint the epoxy. It is my opinion that a moderate amount of wood flour actually strengthens the bond. I first ran into this in building wood kayaks from kits supplied by Pygmy Boats of Port Townsend, WA. They recommend this thickening of the epoxy to edge join the 4mm plywood panels for the hull. It is very strong, as I discovered in trying to correct a slight misalignment between 2 panels. Couldn’t break the joint, had to saw it out with a hacksaw blade.

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

View AlaskaGuy's profile


5871 posts in 3117 days

#4 posted 03-18-2018 11:19 PM


-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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