Repairing a Checked Tabletop
As a web producer here at Fine Woodworking, I find building furniture in the FW workshop to be an invaluable source of online topics. It’s as if I get to share the building process with thousands of folks I’ve never met. Case in point: a small check that opened up in the end of my soon-to-be-finished Shaker writing desk.
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The crack emerged after I had applied the first coat of finish, so I didn’t have to worry about undoing a great deal of finishing work in order to fix it properly. Phew. I knew I had to address it however. The last thing I wanted to do was “let it go,” only to find the check spreading further down the top of the table over time. My solution was to reinforce the check with a spline glued into the end of the table. I followed up with a bit of cyanoacrylate (gel-style) squirted into the crack on the tabletop. This was done, not to reinforce the wood (that was achieved with the spline) but rather, to fill in the gap between the two halves of the check.
Unless you’re a doctor, syringes are pretty hard to come by. You can use a glue syringe but I’ve always found them difficult to use in really tine cracks like this. Luckily, I had a relative who was receiving shots at home. That said, I only had one to use-I had to make it count!
Unlikely tools for fixing a checked tabletop.Syringes are obviously hard to come by, so I had to rely on a relative who used them to adminster his own medication.
The check in the end of this tabletop is subtle, but it's there. I certainly didn't want it to continue cracking down the length of the tabletop as time went on.
Here on the writing surface, you can get an idea of the length of the split: about 5-in. I used the syringe to squirt a bit of cyanoacrylate glue into the occlusion.
Behold the nearly-finished desk. I still have to build up several more coats of finish.