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Repairing broken joint on desk

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Forum topic by Astubits posted 08-21-2018 08:57 PM 570 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Astubits

10 posts in 361 days


08-21-2018 08:57 PM

Greetings,

I have posted once before on here, but have just returned back to the project. I am looking to repair a broken joint on a 1930’s roll top desk.

The break occurs along the track for the roll top, so a mechanical solution isn’t possible.

I was about to go at it with regular PVA glue, but I think there are too many gaps for this to be effective.

I honestly haven’t had much experience with epoxies, but I am thinking this might be the way to go. Please see the photos below for reference.

If not epoxy, what do you recommend? And if epoxy, any suggestions?

IMG_0530

IMG_0532

IMG_0533

IMG_0534


12 replies so far

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bilyo

746 posts in 1525 days


#1 posted 08-21-2018 10:51 PM

Are your pictures sideways? It might be helpful if you could pull back a bit and take a couple of shots to show how the break relates to the entire piece.

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Astubits

10 posts in 361 days


#2 posted 08-21-2018 11:10 PM

Thanks Bilyon. Not really sideways, the piece is on its side. Here’s an image with more perspective, hope it helps! You might have to zoom just a bit to find the break.

34_EBC3_C8_A26_B_4_D36_94_B5_5_FE62_BFF53_B4

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Astubits

10 posts in 361 days


#3 posted 08-22-2018 01:44 AM

Break is in the bottom right corner of the piece laying atop the desk. It’s pretty small, but really significant. That little bit of flex is causing the rolltop/tambour to fall out of track. I just need to rebuild and strengthen that break and we should be golden. Added points if the fix looks good!

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Rich

4585 posts in 1012 days


#4 posted 08-22-2018 02:08 AM

This is a textbook application for epoxy putty. Here is a blog post that will walk you through it. Done right, it will not only look good, it will be virtually undetectable. The difference between the blog post and your situation is that the wood is finished, and you won’t want to do any of the obscuring. If there weren’t structural issues, I’d recommend a hard fill, but that won’t strengthen the piece.

http://lumberjocks.com/RichTaylor/blog/121721

Feel free to contact me with any questions.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

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Astubits

10 posts in 361 days


#5 posted 08-22-2018 12:48 PM

Rich,

Thank you so much for this, I really appreciate the primer.

I always thought this was used for defects and voids. Does this have a similar holding strength to a wood glue?

The wood is split beyond the major defect, but the epoxy won’t work there, should I glue that first?

Thanks again!

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Robert

3441 posts in 1903 days


#6 posted 08-22-2018 12:59 PM

I only have experience using thickened epoxy.

Tint to match finish.

Tape as required to prevent dripping.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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Rich

4585 posts in 1012 days


#7 posted 08-22-2018 02:08 PM


Rich,

Thank you so much for this, I really appreciate the primer.

I always thought this was used for defects and voids. Does this have a similar holding strength to a wood glue?

The wood is split beyond the major defect, but the epoxy won t work there, should I glue that first?

Thanks again!

- Astubits

Yes, it will bond the wood. Practice on some test pieces to see. How you work with it will depend on your plans for the desk. If you’re going to be doing some refinishing or finish repair, then you can carve and sand it like my blog post. If not, then I’d recommend using a putty knife to level it and then a damp sponge to clean the surface.

Also, you’ll want to use a backer board on the inside channel. Tape won’t do it because you’re going to be packing the putty in pretty tight. Put some packing tape on a strip of wood that fits the channel and clamp it down tight.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

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bilyo

746 posts in 1525 days


#8 posted 08-22-2018 02:29 PM

Has the break spread apart or is there a lot of missing wood? How thick is the wood at the break? If the wood has spread at the break, will clamps pull it back together? If so, are there still gaps?

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mahdee

4291 posts in 2190 days


#9 posted 08-22-2018 05:15 PM

For something like that I would use bondo used for auto body repair work. Just have to use the right color pencils to match the color.

-- earthartandfoods.com

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Astubits

10 posts in 361 days


#10 posted 08-22-2018 05:33 PM

Does Bondo offer any sort or structural support?

This is a joint that experiences a degree of force every time the roll top is raised or lowered.

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mahdee

4291 posts in 2190 days


#11 posted 08-22-2018 06:02 PM

Well, it is used in car repair and it binds to metal/wood very well. The crack looks small enough that it shouldn’t cause any issues. If you think about it, a dented hood that has been repaired with bondo goes through a lot of stress when it is opened and slammed shot. Same thing with doors and so on. I think it will work out just fine.

-- earthartandfoods.com

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Astubits

10 posts in 361 days


#12 posted 08-22-2018 08:39 PM

Good point! I think the epoxies might get closer to the color assuming all things equal.

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