Best Fix for Crack During Construction

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Forum topic by HorizontalMike posted 12-20-2010 07:13 PM 1089 views 1 time favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7064 posts in 2337 days

12-20-2010 07:13 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question crack fix tip

I have been busy drilling and chiseling the mortises on my first “major” project, the 21st Century Workbench, and have discovered a potential problem in one of the legs. There is a “drying” crack on the bottom of one of the leg halves, at the floor and below the bottom mortise.

I am concerned about this crack eventually failing, especially since I need to “wedge” the matching tenon in place knowing that that increased pressure will only make the crack worse.

QUESTION: Would drilling a hole across the crack and inserting/gluing a dowel (1/2”?) be the best way to handle this? FWIW, this is just 1/2 of the leg structure where another equal size piece will be glued to it after being relieved for the rail dovetails.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

8 replies so far

View mfike's profile


100 posts in 3089 days

#1 posted 12-20-2010 07:20 PM

If you are laminating another leg section to this, I don’t think the crack will ever expand. You could stand the leg up at the tablesaw and using your miter guage cut the section where the crack is as high as your blade will go. Then glue in a matching piece. This wouldn’t take care of the whole crack, but it would keep the crack from ever expanding.


View CharlieM1958's profile


16229 posts in 3641 days

#2 posted 12-20-2010 07:43 PM

I agree with Mitch that the other half of the leg will prevent the crack from opening up. If I really wanted to be on the safe side, I would countersink a wood screw or two across the crack and cover the heads with plugs.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 2473 days

#3 posted 12-20-2010 07:46 PM


Put in a butterfly patch in a contrasting piece of scrap. It will hold forever, look good, and give you more practice with a chisel (we all need that, right?). Go to Fine Woodworking and search under techniques or joinery for a bunch of info on how to do it. It’s, simple. Even I can do it! It doesn’t have to be perfect to hold, and when you need one to be perfect, you will have had the practice.


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

View HorizontalMike's profile


7064 posts in 2337 days

#4 posted 12-20-2010 08:23 PM

Steve, I think I will wait on chiseling butterfly patches for now though that is an interesting idea that I might try in the future. Just the basics for now.

The more I think on this I think I will go with Charlie and Mitch and just “wait.” If the problem worsens after final glue-up or later on, I could always add/use the bolt/nut fix with plugs.

FWIW, I can close about the bottom inch of the crack with a clamp… Just wondering if I could squeegee enough wood glue in there to make any difference and clamp it up…

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View b2rtch's profile


4822 posts in 2471 days

#5 posted 12-20-2010 08:31 PM

I would glue it and may be put a screw or carriage bolt across

-- Bert

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 2406 days

#6 posted 12-20-2010 09:25 PM

The crack looks fairly tight. Is it possible to open this crack about a 1/64” to a 1/32” with a wedge? If this is possible to do without further splitting, you could hold a vacuum hose underneath the crack to draw the glue from above to get the glue to go all the way through the crack and then clamp till the glue can cure. I have done this a couple of times with good success.
If not, I would be for drilling a counter bore for a dowel and screw together and dowel the counter bore.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View HorizontalMike's profile


7064 posts in 2337 days

#7 posted 12-21-2010 01:55 AM

Right now I have Tightbond III in the shop. Can I slightly thin this to get it to flow better (using your vacuum idea) or would this work against me by weakening the glue?

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 2406 days

#8 posted 12-21-2010 02:52 AM

I couldn’t say for sure about Titebond III, as I’ve done this with Titebond II. I guess it would work depending on how much you thinned it down. I have thinned Titebond II before and had no problems. You might want to try thinning some down and do a sample glue up to see how much strength it would have before trying it on the actual piece. I did put a cotton cloth over the hose to help prevent glue going into the Vacuum.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

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