Need advice on repairing 100 year old family treasure.

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Forum topic by TD Bridges posted 01-31-2011 01:35 PM 1289 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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TD Bridges

46 posts in 3134 days

01-31-2011 01:35 PM

Topic tags/keywords: oak circular saw antique repair question refurbishing joining

I have been doing my family genealogy and on a visit to my 84 year old aunts the other day I was given a family treasure that is in need of repairs. It is a round oak dining table that my great great grandmother purchased not long after her and my great great grandfather moved to Oklahoma from Kentucky in 1908.

This table has seen many better days but is in overall good shape except for three things. At some point in the last 20 years or so someone used it as a sawhorse while using a circular saw. As you have probably already guessed the top has been cut, not just once but in three different places. One cut goes with the grain and is about 12 inches in length and goes completely through the 3/4” top. This cut I think will be easily enough patched with a thin strip of wood glued into place. It is the other two cuts that I really need advice on. Both of these cuts are about 10” long and run across the grain and also go all the way through the top. My thought is to place thin strips of oak into these cuts as well and glue them in place. But, what do I have to do to insure this repair across the grain holds properly. Also the space between the crass grain cuts has become slightly concave so I will have to attach a backer board to the underside to bring it back to level.

I do not necessarily care if the repairs are obviously visible. After I complete the repairs to the top I am going to completely sand down the entire table and refinish it. I do not have any illusions about the tables market value as that selling it is not even a consideration. My goal is to make it into a usable table once again and hopefully someday pass it down to one of my children.

6 replies so far

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3113 days

#1 posted 01-31-2011 01:59 PM

I don´t know if you can do it depending on how the long grain cut is made
and all so the crosscuts

remember I´m in no way anything than a DIY person with a dream

but cuoldn´t you continue the longgrain cut to the end plane the edge´s so you can glue it
together again

and depending on how the crosscuts are angled do the same continue the cut and glue it
together using dovels for every four inch , that wuold take care of the woodmoovement

that was my 2 cent of thoughts but I´m sure there is other with a lot more experience
in theese things …...and if you have a picture of the table top it wuold be so much easyer to help

good luck

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 2779 days

#2 posted 01-31-2011 02:12 PM

I’m thinking Dennis is right on track, trying to fill/patch the cuts is probably not the
way to go. Good project, I’ve got a pre 1900 chair of my grandmothers I keep looking at..
badly smashed back splat with wood filler falling out, mismatched back supports from repairs probably in the 1940’s or 50’s..some day..

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2921 days

#3 posted 01-31-2011 02:57 PM

I think you are on the right track with the repairs. Don’t think cutting the long grain off and reattaching is desirable.
With a lot of patience and being careful on the wood selection you can probably get a decent match on the grain(direction)
Since you intend to refinish it anyway set your repairs slightly proud and sand down to finished top. Stain and poly and I think your table will last another 100 years.
Good luck.

-- Life is good.

View canadianchips's profile


2600 posts in 2995 days

#4 posted 01-31-2011 04:23 PM

“the cut with the grain” continue to length of table and reglue, using dowels, 8 to 10” apart.
The “cuts across the grain.” I would put glue blocks (2” x 12” x 3/4”) on the underside of table, covering the slots, then cut solid strips, glue and wedge into saw cut from the topside, (I would avoid filler, this will eventually crack and fall out over time).
Pictures would be nice !

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View Paul M's profile

Paul M

89 posts in 3719 days

#5 posted 02-01-2011 01:32 AM

Since you are not trying to save the “aged” look, why not just remove the damaged boards and replace with new. I would not try for a perfect match as this will add a bit more history to the tables story.

Or for the cross grain cut, how about removing and making a clean matching cut and using dowels for the end grain. This might mean having to make the table slightly oval or remake to a slightly smaller round.

Saving something with a history is always worthwhile.

-- Paul from New England "No man is a failure who is enjoying life". William Feather

View TD Bridges's profile

TD Bridges

46 posts in 3134 days

#6 posted 02-01-2011 02:59 PM

Thanks to all for the advice. I will take it all into consideration before beginning. I will post pics as soon as the temperature gets out of the negative range and I get back out to the shop. Right now the windchill is about -15 and unfortunately my workshop/garage is uninsulated and unheated.

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