Help! I have a crack problem!

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by Millo posted 12-14-2010 11:59 PM 1558 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Millo's profile


543 posts in 3046 days

12-14-2010 11:59 PM

So, I was outside today filling up the brad nail holes on my FIRST cabinet ever (a single-unit, poplar frame-and-panel door/drawer one, plywood/poplar face frame type) and something horrible happened. I had thought of taking off the door but I didn’t. MISTAKE! It was very windy here today and a gust pulled the door open, and long story short the rail cracked a bit, both on top and bottom. It didn’t split entirely. Needless to day, it seems one of the joints (the bottom one) was a bit glue-starved. I’m depressed.

Anyhow, here’s the question:

Can I fix this w/ epoxy glue? My goal is to at least salvage it, and treat carefully for the rest of its life.

Which glue do you recommend? Clamps? No pics right now, but maybe later (very late) tonight.

I plan to go to a big box store of Woodcraft tomorrow to buy whatever is necessary.

Should I watch the wood whisperer vid about his repair on his cracked cutting board?

I made this in the woodshop at a local community college, so no, I can’t whip out another frame-and-panel door until late January. I wanted to have this cabinet stained and a few coats of poly before leaving town for the holidays.

Gotta go—THANKS!

12 replies so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3818 days

#1 posted 12-15-2010 12:46 AM

Actually, I was going to recommend taking a look at Marc’s repair on his cutting board. I am not sure if it will help your situation but it may give you some ideas. In situations where I needed to repair splits, as you described, getting glue/epoxy has repaired the split pretty well.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3047 days

#2 posted 12-15-2010 02:26 AM


Post a pic, but I’m betting you can glue it back and never know it. I believe a medium viscosity CA glue would do. Run it in, pull it tight with a couple clamps, and in a minute or two you’re done. Post the pic to be sure, but it’s worked before. Fret knot; in a hundred years, no one will know the difference.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View shipwright's profile


7980 posts in 2794 days

#3 posted 12-15-2010 02:41 AM

Sometimes, not always, the best thing to do is finish the job and break it. A clean break is the best fitting glue joint you will ever see and it facilitates getting good glue coverage. You have to have a clean break though.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View childress's profile


841 posts in 3538 days

#4 posted 12-15-2010 05:24 AM

I vote yes on the epoxy. I can’t tell you how many broken doors I’ve had to fix and the only thing I’ve ever used is epoxy. Have acetone ready and a rag that way you can wipe away the squeeze out with the rag dampened with acetone. Or you can just sand it off after it cures if you don’t have finish on it. I would pry the crack open as far as you can and use a razor blade to apply it as far into the crack as possible. Then use clamps to close it up.

Too many customers that have broken their doors, some where the stiles have broken completely off, and most where there are multiple breaks and splits. They don’t want to pay for a new door, and frankly, I can’t stand color matching (especially old cabinets). I have always fixed the doors with epoxy, wondering all along if this is a temporary fix or not. Haven’t got a call back yet…

-- Childress Woodworks

View Millo's profile


543 posts in 3046 days

#5 posted 12-15-2010 08:16 AM

Hey guys, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR ANSWERS!. It has definitely encouraged me to try and salvage this “experiment” of mine. Childress, it is a great relief to see your post.

Yes, the door is still unfinished. In fact, I was just starting to fill nail holes, gouges (it has sat for about 4-5 weeks at the school’s little “project” closet, being bumped by everyone and everything), etc. I was outside because that TimberMate stuff stinks like there’s no tomorrow…actually, IT thinks there is a tomorrow that should stink, too—LOL! But I digress.

From the front it’s pretty difficult to see the split on the stile. Here’s a pic of the back, topside, which has the biggest split (about 7 inches down the stile, maybe).

Here I am pulling it open, same spot on the door.

Here I am pulling the bottom side:

So, I need: epoxy, acetone, rags, bar clamps, razor blade? I have very few tools/ clamps, but I do have an impressive TWO bar clamps, and I think they are from Harbor Freight. Does anyone recommend a glue brand over another? Is Gorilla that much better than others?

Thanks once again.

View Knothead62's profile


2584 posts in 2957 days

#6 posted 12-15-2010 03:24 PM

I’ve seen factory cabinets that had cracks worse than that. Gorilla glue will creep out. I use Titebond III. I use it for building cork grips for custom fishing rods. Just finished a project for a grandson with it.

View davcefai's profile


37 posts in 3393 days

#7 posted 12-15-2010 07:49 PM

I wouldn’t use Gorilla – it is too viscous to penetrate properly. CA or PVA ould work well. Epoxy if it is liquid, ie not stuff out of a squeeze tube.

For cleaning off squeeze out, I suggest using a card scraper rather rhan sanding.

At the end of the day you won’t know that there was a crack and you won’t need to treat it any more carefully than other furniture.

Good Luck.

-- David

View childress's profile


841 posts in 3538 days

#8 posted 12-15-2010 07:55 PM

If your referring to the brand of epoxy, any should be ok. Gorilla glue makes a bunch of different types of glue and the name “Gorilla” is just that. a name…

Also, a neat little trick if you don’t know it yet. When you have dimples and dents (not scratches where the wood fibers are cut) you can take a wet rag, put it on the dent, and use a hot clothes iron on top of the wet rag for a few seconds and VoilĂ ! dent or ding gone.

-- Childress Woodworks

View davcefai's profile


37 posts in 3393 days

#9 posted 12-15-2010 08:57 PM

Childress, thanks for that comment. Over here we only get Gorilla Polyureathane glue. Maybe in time…....

-- David

View Gofor's profile


470 posts in 3783 days

#10 posted 12-16-2010 03:40 AM

I have repaired cracks like that with good success. The way I do it (using PVA glue, either Titebond II or III depending on the wood color or what I have on hand)

1. Tape alongside crack edges as close as possible using either blue painter’s masking tape or clear packing tape. Squeegee down the tape, especially close to the crack
2. Spread crack open as far as possible without causing further damage (like you did in your photo) and wedge it open with a couple tooth picks.
3. Squeeze glue into crack. If I can’t get it in well, I run a bead over the top, and then force it in with the flat end of a putty knife.
4. Pull out toothpicks and squeeze crack closed. Clamp only firm enough to close crack and restore the stile to be in plane with the rest of the work (back in original trueness). If you don’t have a clamp, use a bungee cord or wrap with twine, etc. For small items, I just hold it with hand pressure until the glue sets. Best to plan this before applying glue.
5. Squeegee the excess glue off the tape with the putty knife, or wipe of with a dry rag or paper towel. (You can use a damp rag, but run the risk of the diluted glue penetrating any unmasked wood near the crack or running under the tape, which will cause finishing problems),
6. After initial glue set, remove tape and scrape off any remaining glue excess with a card scraper (No card scraper? Scrape with a sharp knife, but try not to divot the surface).
7. After glue fully cures, sand to match surrounding surface before applying stains or finish.

Key points:
A. Glue penetrating the surrounding wood will cause finishing problems later. Time spent masking and the minimal use of any solvent that will make that more likely will pay you back later.
B. The deeper in the crack you can force the glue, the stronger the repair.

If using this technique to repair a split panel, etc, realize the glue may go all the way through, so protection on the back side is also important.

On glue types: PVA (titebond, elmers wood glue, etc) will provide the strength needed if it can get in to penetrate the mating sides of the crack. Epoxy is plenty strong, but more viscous, so is harder to get into the crack and is even harder still to remove the excess and to level after it cures. CA (super glues) are acrylic plastic, and can become brittle, reducing their effectiveness to maintain structural strength. Great for replacing a splinter, etc, but not for structural strength in something that moves and is stressed.

JMTCW. Hope this helps


-- Go

View Kevin's profile


462 posts in 3202 days

#11 posted 12-16-2010 06:07 AM

I’m right there with gofor’s suggestion. Never had anybody to really tell or show me, just sort of made logical sense. :)

Anyway, all good comments, but i’m in favor of gofor’s right now since that’s what i’ve been used to doing.


-- Williamsburg, KY

View Millo's profile


543 posts in 3046 days

#12 posted 12-17-2010 06:39 AM

Thanks, everyone. I did use epoxy and kind of made a mess. Not too big. Clean part of it today w/ a chisel, and guess what? Turns out I had missed one crack, so I took care of that. Whatever, it seems to have worked even though it was a real pain trying to make sure the epoxy seeped through, so I guess time will tell.

Tomorrow in the early afternoon I’ll finish that clean-up and start repairing dents. Speaking of which, thanks again childress. I actually had done that before, after watching a vid w/ Michael Dresdner explaining the process. I worked nicely. I also finished (well, I’m saying I’m done with…) filling holes w/ TimberMate and tomorrow I’ll do lots of sanding in general. Hopefully I’ll start wiping and/or brushing on shellac on Saturday.

Once again, guys: thanks for your replies/ideas.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics