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Can I still use this board with cracked end?

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Forum topic by Travis posted 06-26-2020 04:14 AM 809 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Travis

445 posts in 537 days


06-26-2020 04:14 AM

Hi all,

I was examining my boards to determine the layout for my table top and I was horrified to spot some hairline cracks in one end of a board. Most of my boards are oversized and so I would just chop the end off, but this one is basically at the desired final length. I would need to take off about 4 inches to be comfortably clear of the cracks. Is this something I can patch up, or am I better off scrapping the piece? I’m not willing to lose the 4 inches, so it’s either fix it or replace it.

This is largest at about 3.5 inches:

This is the smaller one, probably about 1.5 inches:

And here is a picture of the end grain, just in case that matters:

What would you recommend? Material is ash, about 9/8 thick, been in my garage for about 1 year. Planed it down in the last couple of days, don’t know if this was there before or not because I didn’t look that closely at the end before.

Thanks in advance!

-- The plan is wrong; my finished piece is right.


22 replies so far

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

6150 posts in 3584 days


#1 posted 06-26-2020 04:26 AM

I’ve encountered this many times. Cut off the split end, and use it for something else. On the rare occasion a crack has made it into a piece of furniture, I’ve really regretted it.

Cry once and do it right.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Broglea's profile

Broglea

693 posts in 3862 days


#2 posted 06-26-2020 05:01 AM

You probably need to use a different piece. If that is not an option, then you may be able to rip the piece at the crack and glue it back together.

View SMP's profile

SMP

2106 posts in 676 days


#3 posted 06-26-2020 09:12 AM

Also kind of depends on if the table is designed to have a “rustic” feel or is supposed to be “perfect”.

View DrTebi's profile

DrTebi

374 posts in 4038 days


#4 posted 06-26-2020 09:42 AM

If the piece is sandwiched between other pieces, you may get away with it. It may not look that great though, a matter of taste I guess… :)

I would certainly not use this as a last piece in a row of pieces being glued together. I just cut off some cracked parts or some cherry boards, and was surprised how easy it was to snap the cut-off piece in two.

To be on the safe side… use another piece. You will probably use this table for many years… and may regret the wrong choice later on.

View AMZ's profile

AMZ

108 posts in 160 days


#5 posted 06-26-2020 10:14 AM

I encountered the same issue this week, with some 5/4 cherry: I cut off the evident crack, and started working the remaining piece, with quite a bit of scroll work. Several hours in, what I had thought was all cut off, showed up as a crack beginning.

If you insist on trying, wedge the crack open, and glue with a very viscous (watery) glue. Clamp and let sit for 24 hours.

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

3167 posts in 2265 days


#6 posted 06-26-2020 10:23 AM

+1 Cut it off, or replace the board.

BTW: Welcome to storing wood in unconditioned space in Arizona.
End cracks are pretty normal feature IME?

Has been common for me to lose couple inches on the end of non-native lumber stored outside in Arizona due cracking. Even with kiln dried lumber. Large grain woods like Oak/Ash, especially thicker 8/4 or 12/4 cuts tend to get more cracking, and tends to grow the longer they are stored. Was told it has do with fact we see wild swings in RH more often, and open grain woods soak it up faster? Suggest if you are going to store any lumber for more than couple months, paint ends with some old latex paint to seal them up. It can get pretty bad; have seen unsealed oak stored outdoors in a desert wood shed for 15+ years where cracks were 6-8” into the end.

Another lumber lesson learned?
BTDTGTTS

Best Luck.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View jdh122's profile

jdh122

1163 posts in 3588 days


#7 posted 06-26-2020 11:06 AM

I’d rip them along the split and re-glue.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View bondogaposis's profile (online now)

bondogaposis

5787 posts in 3122 days


#8 posted 06-26-2020 12:09 PM

If it was mine I would use another board and put that one aside for another project.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

8906 posts in 3348 days


#9 posted 06-26-2020 12:16 PM

Replace it

View Travis's profile

Travis

445 posts in 537 days


#10 posted 06-26-2020 01:58 PM

Well, the answer to this one looks pretty “cut and dry”...
Sorry, couldn’t help myself.
Thanks for the feedback everyone. I suspected as much but hoped that someone could talk me into keeping the piece. I’m headed to the supplier after work today to get a replacement piece.

-- The plan is wrong; my finished piece is right.

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

4730 posts in 2759 days


#11 posted 06-26-2020 05:01 PM

I would keep it and put in a bow tie. Makes an interesting thing about the table.

View HokieKen's profile (online now)

HokieKen

14004 posts in 1909 days


#12 posted 06-26-2020 05:20 PM

You can seep some thin CA glue down in there and close that crack up and prevent it from propogating. But, if the wood is determined to move, it’ll just start another crack somewhere else. Replacing that board is definitely the best option IMO.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Aj2's profile (online now)

Aj2

3077 posts in 2569 days


#13 posted 06-26-2020 05:22 PM

The crack wouldn’t hold me back at all. I would simply rip it down the middle and join it back together on my jointer.
This would have been done early in the sizing of my boards. It’s a very common character defect in wood and one I look for early.
I hope you get the top glued up before the first snow fall. :)
Good Luck

-- Aj

View DrTebi's profile

DrTebi

374 posts in 4038 days


#14 posted 06-26-2020 06:09 PM

Since this is a very straight crack (as in, perpendicular to the end), it seems like a very good solution to rip out the crack and glue the pieces together. You will loose maybe ¼”. Not sure if that works with your design, but worth a try I’d say.

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

5757 posts in 1345 days


#15 posted 06-26-2020 07:28 PM



The crack wouldn’t hold me back at all. I would simply rip it down the middle and join it back together on my jointer.
This would have been done early in the sizing of my boards. It’s a very common character defect in wood and one I look for early.
I hope you get the top glued up before the first snow fall. :)
Good Luck

- Aj2

Perfect explanation of the fix.

Likely the cause was minutes after the tree was felled, when the log was losing moisture at a rapid pace, and the wood cells were shrinking, and drying. The reason to paint the ends right away is in “hopes” of stopping these checks. Often times looking at the end grain you will see that crack aligns perfectly with the Pith, which is after all the BIG drinking straw of any tree, and the most common place to see a crack. AJ’s rip, joint, and reglue is the ages old way to work with it.

-- Think safe, be safe

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