Filling gaps on butcher block glue up

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Forum topic by deadherring posted 10-18-2018 09:41 PM 3703 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View deadherring's profile


83 posts in 2450 days

10-18-2018 09:41 PM

Hi all,

I am finishing a floating desk that I will hang on shelf brackets on the wall. It is oak, mahogany, walnut and maple, glued together as a butcher block. It is five feet long by ~32” wide and 2” thick.

Everything went well, except a few gaps that exist between the boards width-wise and a few spots where there are gaps end to end on the boards. See the pictures below.

I’m hoping to make the desk as perfect as I can so I’d like to figure out a way to close the gaps. I can think of two ways to do this:

1. Glue in the gaps and sand on the glue so the sawdust goes into to form a putty. I’ve used this method before with picture frames and it’s worked well, however, I don’t know if these gaps are too big for that. For example, if I put glue in some of the gaps, it might just run out the bottom

2. I was thinking I could use a router bit and widen the gaps and then cut a piece of scrap, glue it in, and then sand, use a hand plane to make it flush. That seems like a lot of work, but if it’s the best method I’ll do it.

Anyway, please let me know if you have any ideas or tips and tricks to make this less painful.



7 replies so far

View SignWave's profile


472 posts in 3841 days

#1 posted 10-18-2018 10:58 PM

Based on the photos, I’d cut the gaps out and re-glue it. Probably less work than trying to patch, and the best odds of having it look the way you want it to.

-- Barry,

View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 2292 days

#2 posted 10-18-2018 11:07 PM

Or glue and sawdust the piss out of it

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

View Nubsnstubs's profile


1727 posts in 2536 days

#3 posted 10-19-2018 12:18 AM

I’m sorry, but perfection should have been thought of before you got this far. Instead of just grabbing boards, clamps and glue, measuring and squaring would have been beneficial. ................ Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

View LesB's profile


2575 posts in 4249 days

#4 posted 10-19-2018 12:23 AM

I would collect some very fine sawdust of the color wood you are filling the gap next to. A orbital or belt sander with a dust bag attaches is a good way to collect the dust. Then pack as much as you can into the cracks followed by some “thin” CA glue, followed immediately with some medium or thick CA glue until on more will seep in. The thin glue acts as a wicking agent for the thicker glue. After it drys if there are some voids where the glue went below the surface just apply more glue. Sand flush and the cracks will almost disappear.

That said if you are having spaces or cracks in the glue joint like that you need to do a better job of squaring up your wood and clamping it during the glue up. Most of those cracks just should not be there if you did everything correctly. Dry fitting, with clamps will show the problems before applying glue.

-- Les B, Oregon

View Lazyman's profile


5660 posts in 2194 days

#5 posted 10-19-2018 12:42 AM

I would probably put some epoxy into the gaps. Adding a little brown dye to the epoxy to darken it may help hide flaws.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View deadherring's profile


83 posts in 2450 days

#6 posted 10-19-2018 01:55 AM

@LesB Thanks for the suggestion. I’m not quite sure where the problem occured as I did joint every edge and face and planed every opposite face.

@Lazyman Good idea, didn’t think of that.

View CWWoodworking's profile (online now)


874 posts in 985 days

#7 posted 10-19-2018 03:31 AM

If you want perfection, just start over. Not that much wood. Cut that top up into smaller cutting boards and sell them.

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