My table cracked! What can I do?

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Forum topic by teeparties posted 12-29-2017 05:16 AM 638 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View teeparties's profile


6 posts in 2236 days

12-29-2017 05:16 AM

Topic tags/keywords: table crack repair

We discovered this evening that our tabletop cracked. I included a picture to show that it’s a narrow irregularly shaped crack. What are some ways I could fix it? I’m thinking of using glue and clamps. Would that work?

11 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10079 posts in 3577 days

#1 posted 12-29-2017 05:52 AM

It may. I’d give it a try. Getting the glue into
the crack may be tricky. One way to do it
that sounds silly but works is to suck it into
the crack from one side to the other with a

You can get crayons for filling scratches and
holes in wood. They work too.

View Walker's profile


109 posts in 401 days

#2 posted 12-29-2017 06:08 AM

Butterfly Splines.

-- ~Walker

View Woodknack's profile


11285 posts in 2309 days

#3 posted 12-29-2017 07:33 AM

First step is figure out why it cracked because if you don’t address the problem, it may crack again in a different spot.
Glue and clamps will work fine, a syringe is good for getting glue deep in there.

-- Rick M,

View Kelly's profile


1939 posts in 2873 days

#4 posted 12-29-2017 07:41 AM

My bet is, though the vacuum trick works great (had to resort to it), this problem will be back in some form or another.

Consider epoxy. Not the five minute. Rather, a more liquid type.

You can plug the bottom cracks with plumbers putty or wax. For the ends, you might have to clamp tape using foam from a mouse pad or something (a good place for creativity).

Tape off the edges with painters tape and remove it after you’re done pouring. So you don’t have to fight removing glued on tape.

You can shoot the epoxy in with a hypo from a place that sells livestock supplies. You can also scrap it in. You’ll have to add more, as it works its way down.

View JBrow's profile


1336 posts in 849 days

#5 posted 12-29-2017 04:40 PM


Rick_M and I share the same thought; why did it crack? If this problem is not addressed, it will likely crack again, or perhaps cup in the summer.

The crack looks like it could be stress crack due to the top being firmly held to the base with insufficient or no allowance provided for wood movement. Since it is winter and humidity is low, moisture left the wood fibers, the top wanted to contract across its width but could not so it cracked. Since I doubt there are battens attached to the underside of the top, my guess is the top is held to the base with fasteners that prevented sufficient contraction of the top.

If the top cannot expand, summertime humidity could cause the top to cup across its width.

Ensuring the bottom face of the top has the same finish and number of coats can reduce wood movement and otherwise help stabilize the top.

On another recent thread, CharlesNeil posted a video where he repaired a crack similar to that shown in your photo. However with what appears to be a large and heavy slab, it may not work well in this instance.

If CharlesNeil’s method is impractical and the forcing glue into the crack and clamping fails, then the crack could be ripped out of the top and the top re-glued. Alternatively a shallow rip cut over the crack with a circular saw or router could be done. Then a thick piece of wood glued into the kerf left by the saw/router could be tried. The alternative method presumes the crack does not extend from the top to the bottom surface.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5587 posts in 2742 days

#6 posted 12-29-2017 05:44 PM

1+ address any wood movement issues first, then try Titebond II extend and a glue syringe. The “extend” variety of wood glue is thinner, and will penetrate better. You could also thin regular wood glue slightly with water.

If you use butterflies, it will require a complete refinish. If you go that rout, just rip the table at the crack, and glue the two pieces back together.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View EarlS's profile


802 posts in 2277 days

#7 posted 12-29-2017 06:04 PM

My 2 cents worth – it looks like the top is made of a number of smaller pieces glued side to side as well as end to end. The particular crack looks to be completely in one piece of wood. After checking to see how it is secured to the base, I’d also check to see if it simply broke along an existing crack in the wood. It sure looks like the crack is following the grain of the board.

If the seasonal movement of the various pieces put enough stress on the board, and there was already a crack started in the grain, I could envision this happening. If that is what happened, I’m not sure that gluing the crack will fix the problem or just move it the next time the various pieces of wood in the top expand/contract.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View a1Jim's profile


117028 posts in 3506 days

#8 posted 12-29-2017 06:34 PM

As others have said it may be that the connection to the base is so the top could not move as wood always does?
Can we get a photo of the bottom?

-- wood crafting & classes

View ChuckV's profile


3101 posts in 3456 days

#9 posted 12-29-2017 06:48 PM

As Earl observed above, it looks like there are multiple pieces end-to-end along the length of the table. If that one segment contracted more than the others in that row, it seems that it could crack like this even if the top as a whole is allowed to move.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View Andybb's profile


822 posts in 532 days

#10 posted 12-29-2017 08:29 PM

Just curious how old the table is. Wondering if it is still moving? Not sure about clamping as it may try to pull itself apart again?

If the crack is all the way through turn it over then pour some thin West System or Total Boat epoxy from the back side with a syringe (I like the turkey needle injector type) and packing tape firmly applied to the front resting on a flat surface. Just a little at first so it doesn’t heat up and melt the packing tape glue. The epoxy will dry with a gloss so you may not need to apply any finish when you are done.


Painters tape on either side of the crack. Wood glue in the crack with sawdust rubbed in and a light application of finish.

But if you have the technology, combined with either of the above ideas, the butterflies will stop it from splitting more if it’s still trying to move. Even if you use butterflies you will still need to fill the crack IMHO.

Curious to hear other ideas from the pros.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View LesB's profile


1602 posts in 3372 days

#11 posted 12-29-2017 11:26 PM

I would try clamping it, with strong clamps like pipe clamps if you have them, to see if you can get the gap to close. If you can get the gap closed with clamps then I would work some wood glue (like Titebond II) into the crack letting it seep as far in as possible (apply from both sides if necessary) then clamp it and carefully clean up the squeeze out. You might work the clamps on and off a little to work the glue in. Wood glue is stronger then wood so it should hold but if the stress is still there you may get a new crack nearby.
When clamping be sure to put some protective boards between the clamp jaws and the table wood to avoid dents and scrapes in the table top.

If you want butterfly patches and don’t want to see them you could put then in the underside. I think they will help a little but may not be worth the effort.

-- Les B, Oregon

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