How should I fill my crack - for turning?

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Forum topic by ToddJB posted 10-11-2015 02:57 AM 1082 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6769 posts in 1548 days

10-11-2015 02:57 AM

Jokes welcome, but I am looking for an actual answer, as well.

This is a cool piece of Russian Olive that is very dry and old. It was a small crack when I started turning it, that I was going to fill after, but it caught an edge wrong and the crack opened up. End game for this will be a lamp in my home, so the fill doesn’t have to be super pretty, as I can make that the back of lamp. But I need a fill that will allow me to keep turning it after it dries.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

19 replies so far

View BurlyBob's profile


3450 posts in 1683 days

#1 posted 10-11-2015 03:28 AM

I’m knot an expert, but perhaps epoxy would hold it together. About the knot reference…I meant to do that!

View Glen Peterson's profile

Glen Peterson

555 posts in 2473 days

#2 posted 10-11-2015 03:46 AM

Standard practice is CA glue. In this case medium viscosity might be most effective. You might also consider adding butterfly keys. They will keep the crack from expanding. It’s a challenge to accurately lay out and chisel out the mortises for the keys in a round surface. I turned a hollow form a few years ago from a piece of log with long twisting cracks. I was afraid the piece would blow apart while turning if I didn’t stabilize it with butterflies. It’s posted in my projects on 12/24/13 if you care to look.
Good luck

-- Glen

View ToddJB's profile


6769 posts in 1548 days

#3 posted 10-11-2015 05:32 AM

Thanks guys. I had some thin CA on hand so I filled the cracks with light dust from the earlier turning of it and poured some of the thin CA in. I’ll let set the night before trying to turn her again.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View Wildwood's profile


1848 posts in 1552 days

#4 posted 10-11-2015 10:46 AM

Think you are wasting your time trying to fill crack with thin CA and saw dust. Crack runs too deep, glue & saw dust not going to add strength or be ascetically pleasing. Run the risk of pieces of wood flying off when least expect while turning.

CA glue & filler helpful on shallow surface checks, deep cracks no!

Part of woodturning is learning when you hit the point of diminishing returns with a piece of wood. Is that piece of wood worth your time & expense to repair it?

I would not waste my time with it!

Good luck with whatever!

-- Bill

View terryR's profile


6229 posts in 1726 days

#5 posted 10-11-2015 12:38 PM

I’m afraid I agree with Bill. I love Russian Olive, but that chunk is history as far as the lathe is concerned. You could still slice it up for smaller projects.

Been turning a lot of green wood lately, and learning from each piece.

I don’t think I’d try to turn that, buddy. Unless you can cut out the crack, and epoxy in some wood.

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View mahdee's profile


3454 posts in 1185 days

#6 posted 10-11-2015 01:12 PM

How about drilling holes on both sides and use some copper wire to make it look like it was sewn together.


View Nubsnstubs's profile


805 posts in 1147 days

#7 posted 10-11-2015 03:42 PM

Todd, get some long dowels, drill through the crack at various locations using whatever type adhesive you prefer, insert the dowels. Fill the crack with dust, Inlace, or whatever you think would work for you and finish your lamp. The dowels can give your lamp a little character if placed strategically.

Bad wood is never a lost cause if you know how to salvage it.

Go to youtube, put in Chas Thornhill, select Elm Bowl from his list, and see what he did to salvage the large piece of cracked wood. I would suggest not using the Aluminum rods or any metal rods. I used copper rods once, and it caused a catch and exploded a piece I was working on. I had no problem with the wood dowels…... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

View waho6o9's profile


7114 posts in 1994 days

#8 posted 10-11-2015 05:44 PM

If there’s olive saw dust around and small shavings I’d mix it will glue

and fill in the gaps.

Or, epoxy and turquoise would work.

View Luthierman's profile


156 posts in 504 days

#9 posted 10-11-2015 05:52 PM

I’d slice it in half and add a completely different species where the crack is.

-- Jesse, West Lafayette, Indiana

View leafherder's profile


850 posts in 1369 days

#10 posted 10-11-2015 06:49 PM

I don’t know much about turning but it looks like you are close to a finished shape. You might want to stop the shaping now and work on sanding, then fill the cracks with crushed turquoise to make a really great lamp base – the turquoise looks great with the natural colors of the Russian Olive, and the crack can stay in front. (I am working on a Russian Olive jewelry box that will be accented with turquoise in the cracks.) Good luck and keep us posted.

-- Leafherder

View MrUnix's profile


4020 posts in 1616 days

#11 posted 10-11-2015 07:21 PM

I’d fill it with standard epoxy (not the 5min stuff), which flows pretty well… and even better if you heat it and the wood up a bit. It will flow into all the voids and bond to the wood, essentially making the blank whole again. Color however you want (or just leave it translucent). If that doesn’t work, I doubt anything else will.


-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

View ToddJB's profile


6769 posts in 1548 days

#12 posted 10-11-2015 11:18 PM

Thanks for the ideas fellas, as I mentioned earlier, I had already grabbed a bunch of RO dust and packed it in and then put thin CA on it. It was enough to allow me to just clean up that shape, though not exactly the shape I was going to go for, and it let me get it smoothed out pretty well. I’ll post some pics.

I really like the dowel rod idea and the turquoise, I’ll have to remember those for the future.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View SignWave's profile


276 posts in 2452 days

#13 posted 10-11-2015 11:44 PM

I’d like to see what the end looks like. If if includes the pith, then this is only the beginning. IOW, can’t tell from this picture if this piece is worth the effort or not.

-- Barry,

View groyuti's profile


45 posts in 375 days

#14 posted 10-12-2015 02:53 PM

-- Spammer in the process of being removed.

View ToddJB's profile


6769 posts in 1548 days

#15 posted 10-16-2015 05:48 AM

Filled crack(s)

Show side

Not exactly the shape I wanted but didn’t want to push my luck.

Thanks for all the advice all.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

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