fix trunk split

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Forum topic by wanderen posted 08-07-2016 01:00 AM 263 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 80 days

08-07-2016 01:00 AM

Topic tags/keywords: split crack trunk refinish repair fix question

My grandfather made this trunk for me and it has seen a lot of abuse over time. It now has a large crack down the front a a few other issue with splitting. I would like to know how to repair the trunk, and I would greatly appreciate any advice. Thanks!!

5 replies so far

View JBrow's profile


748 posts in 342 days

#1 posted 08-07-2016 04:37 PM


Since I so dislike furniture repair I shy away from it and therefore have little experience in this domain. But I have some thoughts which I hope may be helpful. Here are the options for repairing the front panel I can come up with.

The first is to do nothing. If the panel is structurally sound, this is the easiest and may end up looking the best.

The second is to fill the cracks. I know little about epoxy, but other LJs seem to favor epoxy as a crack filler. Since it would be difficult to impossible to determine why the panel cracked, an epoxy that has some flexibility would probably be best, if there is such a product. I suspect the panel cracked either because something struck the panel and caused the crack or more likely, that the crack appeared because the panel is fixed within the frame. If fixed in place, then as humidity dropped, the panel shrunk and since it was held in place at the frame, the crack developed. Therefore, once the humidity increases, the crack could close. If the crack is filled with a rigid filler that prevents the crack from closing, some damage to the frame could occur and/or the panel could bow.

Since the panel shown in the photo appears to be a hinged door. The door could be remade and the old door replaced.

If the damage is to a frame and panel that is an integral part of the chest, it would be a difficult, perhaps even impossible from a practical standpoint, to replace the cracked panel with a new panel. The first challenge is releasing the existing panel. Once the panel is released, a new panel would be installed. The best way to approach this would be from the inside of the chest. However, I doubt power tools could be used inside the chest to cut away one side of the channel holding the panel in place. The panel could be released from the outside, but then replacing the panel and outside lip that was cut away would be very difficult.

Since this is an heirloom piece with great sentimental value, doing as little as possible to the chest is maybe is the best way to go. Just leave the piece at is. If the chest appears to be losing structural integrity due to the cracks, stabilizing the cracks from inside of the chest (perhaps with some butterfly inlays) could prolong its life while preserving its appearance and appeal.

View bondogaposis's profile


3969 posts in 1773 days

#2 posted 08-07-2016 06:08 PM

It appears that the original construction didn’t allow for wood movement and that is why it cracked. It is hard to say how to fix it without knowing more about the panel was made.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View rwe2156's profile


2119 posts in 902 days

#3 posted 08-08-2016 03:55 PM

And I thought wood didn’t move…..

Kinda of agree with Jbrow on this. I’d be tempted to leave it alone as part of the character of the piece.

I don’t think the lid will be structurally affected I see some cross braces there, only you can know for sure.

If it is getting sat on, you could beef it up with a piece of ply on the inside.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View wanderen's profile


2 posts in 80 days

#4 posted 08-08-2016 04:33 PM

Thanks so much for your feedback, it is really helping me to devise a plan. The trunk cracked because of abuse, it was in a spot such that it got stepped on a lot. But it has been removed from that and is now used as a coffee table. I attached a picture of the underside so it may help show the construction more.

View mahdee's profile


3464 posts in 1189 days

#5 posted 08-08-2016 05:01 PM

Maybe get some bondo and fill the crack. Use colored pencils to match the color and grain and give it a finish. Another approach would be to cut out a rectangle where the crack is and insert one in its place.


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