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TrevorWalsh 12-08-2010 06:00 PM

Surface Cracks in Cherry Table Top
I'm building a table, from Cherry. The top has some surface checking. It's going to be stained and coated in several layers of shellac and then waxed. I was thinking about using some two part epoxy and sawdust as a filler, but I'm not sure how the stain will look on top of that.

Should I stain first, then fill the cracks with clear epoxy, no sawdust? Then shellac and wax or is there another way to do it?

Thanks for you input,

Poto 12-08-2010 06:32 PM

Re: Surface Cracks in Cherry Table Top
My tendency would be to embrace the cracks, and show them off. I'd either use inlaid butterflies to hold it from expanding, or fill it with a contrasting color of epoxy (bright red or white). The stain won't adhere much to the epoxy, I think.

TrevorWalsh 12-08-2010 06:55 PM

Re: Surface Cracks in Cherry Table Top
If it were a personal piece I'd love to put butterflies in, but I don't think the people this is for are going to go for that. Considering the other part of your comment I'll take that as a +1 on the "stain then epoxy" method.

Thank you Poto.

JayKnoll 12-08-2010 07:45 PM

Re: Surface Cracks in Cherry Table Top
I would epoxy and then stain. Staining first might interfer with the epoxy adhering to the wood. Plus you'll need to sand it down smooth -- if you stain first you're just going to have to redo the staining after you sand.

TrevorWalsh 12-08-2010 08:34 PM

Re: Surface Cracks in Cherry Table Top
Good point Jay, I know turners use CA to fill cracks in vessels and whatnot, might a gel CA be the thing to use here?

JayKnoll 12-08-2010 11:53 PM

Re: Surface Cracks in Cherry Table Top
My experience has been with the West System, I like the fact that it will penetrate the wood and before it cures. A lot depends on the size of the crack that you're trying to repair, I certainly would discuss alternatives with your client before you proceed. You don't want to present a finished piece and have it rejected.

If you can find some other wood with cracks you can experiment before you commit

Good luck


RobGB 12-10-2010 06:44 AM

Re: Surface Cracks in Cherry Table Top
You can use clothing type dyes to colour the epoxy resin, they are the type you run through the washing machine to dye clothing. It's a trick I saw when boatbuilding, you mix some in with the resin before adding the catalyst part.

Poto 12-10-2010 06:48 AM

Re: Surface Cracks in Cherry Table Top
I've used acrylic paint to color epoxy - it doesn't take much. But I sure wouldn't want to put colored epoxy on a nice table top. It'll be really obvious, regardless of how well you match the color (which will be a challenge). It depends on how big the crack is, of course, but the texture of epoxy will always be different than wood.

Can't you get some unchecked wood, and save the checked stuff for a project that the splits won't matter?

PaulMarcel 12-10-2010 07:07 AM

Re: Surface Cracks in Cherry Table Top
Any chance of a picture of the checked top? There are many ways to rotisserie a cat, er, skin a cat, but many depend on the size of the checks, placement, grain, etc.

I don't like the epoxy option at all as it will show no matter how thin the line. Other options will hide it better.

In passing, stunning table Potomaximus. Love the curved legs.

Poto 12-10-2010 04:04 PM

Re: Surface Cracks in Cherry Table Top
Thanks Paul-Marcel. It's part of this set, all made from a single plank of cherry:

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