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Forum topic by Annie4694 posted 01-24-2017 09:40 PM 519 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Annie4694

1 post in 323 days


01-24-2017 09:40 PM

Hello,

I am completely inexperienced with woodworking, and have no idea how to repair my kitchen table. I got it approximately 4 years ago and it’s many years older than that. When I bought it, I had it refinished and it looked great, but now the wood is starting to separate. Any thoughts on how to fill it so there are no gaps?

Thanks in advance!!


7 replies so far

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

2901 posts in 2092 days


#1 posted 01-24-2017 10:17 PM

Annie, welcome to LJs. I can’t tell from the pic, but it might be normal seasonal movement of the wood. Wood contracts across the grain when it gets dry and expands as it re-hydrates. Is your house much dryer this year than in previous years? Is it solid wood or veneered panels? Sorry I can’t offer anything more.

-- Art

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3548 days


#2 posted 01-24-2017 10:20 PM

Is this the top or the underside of the table. A broader picture may be helpful in determining what is wrong with the table. At first glance in would appear that the center two boards have dried out and shrunk away from the angle cut pieces (wood will swell and shrink across the grain with increases and decreases in humidity; this is referred to as ‘wood movement’. Wood does not move as much along the grain with the same humidity changes). It looks like the table is from a pine or other softwood. Would you know what type of wood it is?

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View Rick_M's profile

Rick_M

10613 posts in 2215 days


#3 posted 01-25-2017 02:17 AM

Post more pics and not so close up

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View JBrow's profile

JBrow

1273 posts in 755 days


#4 posted 01-25-2017 03:04 AM

Annie4694,

While there are several options for filling the gaps, I doubt that filling the gaps would yield satisfactory results. I agree with AandCstyle and Mark Shymanski; the gaps appeared because the wood lost moisture and shrunk. My guess is that the center boards that cross over one another shrunk in width. The in-fill diagonal field may also have shrunk, although I am not sure how much this in-fill shrinkage contributes to the gaps. Wood expands and contracts a fair amount across its width and not so much (very little in fact) in length.

When summer returns, and I hopefully it does, the humidity will rise and the wood is likely to expand and close the gaps. Filling those gaps now could lead to problems when the wood expands.

Although difficult to tell from the photo, it appears that there is little if any finish on the surface shown in the photo. If the finish is a penetrating oil (or where the wood is unfinished), moisture can enter and leave the wood fairly easily. A film finish like urethane, polyurethane, poly-acrylic, or lacquer would offer a superior moisture barrier, although some moisture will still make its way into and out of the wood with these finishes. However, they must be applied to all surfaces and edges to form an effective barrier.

Therefore, the best option may be to leave the table to do what it will do until summer. Hopefully the gaps will close in early to mid-summer. If they close, then applying several coats of a film finish to all surfaces and edges of the table could reduce wood movement next winter. However, before applying any additional finish, ensuring the new finish is compatible with the existing finish is a good idea.

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2711 posts in 1316 days


#5 posted 01-25-2017 02:35 PM

Obviously designed by someone not knowledgeable about wood movement ;-). I think the problem is the wider diagonal boards they are going to move the most. I’ve seen tables intentionally built like this using caulk in the gap. This is something you could consider.

The way you would do it is tape off the gaps and use a dark colored elastic caulk.

Personally, if the table meant that much to me, I would have a piece of glass made and just live with it.

Hope this helps.

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

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

2608 posts in 2132 days


#6 posted 01-25-2017 03:34 PM

The real answer on how to fix it is wait until spring when the humidity goes up. Did you move to a new place recently with dryer air or have you cranked up the heat significantly?

View scatruler's profile

scatruler

27 posts in 383 days


#7 posted 01-26-2017 03:02 PM

I was thinking along the lines of @dhazelton. If it’s seasonal wood movement, it’s odd that you haven’t noticed at least a little bit it in 4 years. Is it an exceptionally cold winter this year where you live, or did you get a new heating system this year? Or maybe your humidifier stopped work lol.

anywho, just some ideas…

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