Filling a crack in Alder

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Blog entry by BigD1 posted 01-05-2011 06:49 PM 1239 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I need to fill in some cracks on the ends of an Alder board, that is end grain. One crack is 1/16 wide. I will put a natural finish on the board, so what I use to fill, it will be varnished. Do I use a glue of sorts, and what would you consider. I know this seems like a basic question, but I too know that the filler will be exposed. Thank you.

-- Donald Baty

7 comments so far

View childress's profile


841 posts in 3564 days

#1 posted 01-05-2011 11:22 PM

Epoxy….You can tint it to whatever color you like, or mix in some very fine sawdust (from the alder or whatever you want) to give it a little color. You didn’t say how long the cracks are, not that it matters, but if they are quite long, then a different and contrasting color would be cool.

-- Childress Woodworks

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 3259 days

#2 posted 01-06-2011 12:14 AM

I use epoxy a lot for repairing gunstocks and I mix it with fine sanding dust from the piece of wood I’m trying to fill. For hairline cracks, I fill the crack with fine dust, then wick in super gloe. It fills the sanding dust and turns a crack into solid wood. After sanding any superglue that hardened on the surface, it’s no longer a crack.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3548 days

#3 posted 01-06-2011 06:11 AM

The computer I am on will not let me see your photo, but… Can you bore a hole for a dowel in the side of your board, then apply glue into the crack, then glue in the dowel and clamp firmly? This method would close the gap, mostly hide it and add strength so that further cracking would have great resistance.

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View BigD1's profile


79 posts in 3156 days

#4 posted 01-06-2011 10:29 AM

I will have to try the epoxy method. The biggest crack is only half way thru the board, and only 3 inches long. Is there a certain type of epoxy to use? I’ve done many epoxy jobs, but I’ve only used the stick type, cut off a piece, and blend the two parts together. I’ll give it a try. Thanks.

-- Donald Baty

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18283 posts in 3698 days

#5 posted 01-06-2011 11:12 AM

Kindlingmaker Does that dowel trick have any historical basis or is it someting you invented? I have never heard of that before. sounds good ;-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 3259 days

#6 posted 01-06-2011 01:27 PM

Most of the time I use West Systems marine grade epoxy because it’s clear and very tough when hardened. You can git it at any marine store or most wood stores. They also sell a pump system that would be great for mixing, but I’m cheep and use plastic spoons and throw them away after use.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View Aaron Taylor's profile

Aaron Taylor

37 posts in 3171 days

#7 posted 01-06-2011 06:25 PM


I have used the epoxy in alder and it works great. There are so many types, but I have always just used the liquid that you mix together. They sell it in a divided tube that has a mixing nozzle, or you can mix it yourself on a piece of scrap with a clean stick. I have used both clear and have mixed in black laser printer toner to give a nice contrast. I find that I prefer the clear since you can see into the crack and it just gives depth to the wood. Depending on the depth of crack you might have to apply more then once. If you have the ability to sand it afterward then mound it on there and then sand flat; when you put your varnish on it will look smooth and glassy. Be careful not to sand the wood around it too much; it will make a feel-able depression. You can buy the epoxy at just about any store; I usually don’t care about the brand, but you have to make sure that it says “dries clear” if that is what you are looking for. The one project in “my projects” area has an alder top; of course you can’t see any of the cracks that were in the wood, but I ended up using about 5 tubes on this project because of the cracks; it adds character to the wood in my opinion.

Good luck, and post pictures of the finished project if possible. We would love to see the results.


-- "Insanity runs in my family. It practically gallops."--Cary Grant from the movie Arsenic and Old Lace

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