Thoughts on fixing my screwup?

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Forum topic by Jackietreehorn posted 02-22-2013 04:53 PM 1528 views 0 times favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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150 posts in 1963 days

02-22-2013 04:53 PM

Topic tags/keywords: table top biscuit inlay

I’m building a small end table(24” circle), I put some biscuits in to help line it all up, and when I was measuring for placement I was sure to account for where the circle would land vs placements of biscuits. The next day I got my circle drawn and decided that I wanted to move the circle over to get a better look for the table and started to rough cut the excess off. That’s when I realized I forgot that I placed the biscuits for everything being centered and now have biscuits showing…oops.

So my thought is perhaps take a biscuit cutting bit on the router and run a groove around the whole table, but what do I fill it with? Will it be feasible to get a small piece of wood to inlay around the perimeter? This is my first venture into building a solid wood top and already flustered that I screwed that up, so getting into learning to do inlays is something I don’t want to do either unless necessary.

If I did inlay something, how will I get it to bend around a 24” circle?

Oh, still learning the forum here and hope I placed in right section…


27 replies so far

View JoeinGa's profile


7736 posts in 2032 days

#1 posted 02-22-2013 05:03 PM

If not an inlay, how ‘bout using some dark wood filler/putty. Then sand it flush and you’d have a dark ring all around the table, and you wont have to worry about it not “matching” the color. Tell folks you did it on purpose for the effect

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2994 days

#2 posted 02-22-2013 05:08 PM

The problem I see with inlaying something the whole way round is shrinkage of the table top, causing your inlay to pop out at some point. This happened to me on a lamp a long time ago, and it was only 5” diameter.
I really think the best approach to take with this is to fetch the biscuit out using your biscuit router bit, find a piece of wood with a close match to the end grain, shape it so it’s a good tight fit in the new slot, glue it in.

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1537 posts in 2500 days

#3 posted 02-22-2013 05:10 PM

You have a few choices, you can dig the biscuit out, put a matching piece of wood in the hole, sprinkle some saw dust and sand, you can make a “design change” and veneer with a darker strip.

As for your question, with a block plane you can shave the squared inlay until it is mostly gone and then sand.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View alholstein's profile


222 posts in 4067 days

#4 posted 02-22-2013 05:21 PM


I can show you how I did a trim for a table that I made from plywood to hide the edge. It is a bit involved but it worked OK for me. I knew going in that I had to hide the edges. If you still have the pieces left over from cutting out the circle it will much easier.

Basically I made some thin strips that would bend around the circle. I used three pieces so that I wouldn’t have to bend any too much. With them being thin they would bend enough. I cut the ends at a 45 angle to lap them over. That is the tricky part to get the last on the right length.

I then built a square frame to hold the circle top and the cut offs from the square. Then used shims to compress the cut offs together to hold the trim in place. I don’t remember if I had to recut the inside of the cutoffs to accommodate for the width of the trim piece. If you have trouble bending the trim, you can wet it a bit and do a bend and let dry to preform it before you glue it in place. I used regular wood glue and then router a roundover to make the edge blend in.

-- Al Holstein "I wood do it"

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222 posts in 4067 days

#5 posted 02-22-2013 05:26 PM

I didn’t intend to have the duplicate picture and intended to show the finished product. The table can look lopsided because of the three legs and the bent legs, but if looked at the right angle is close to symmetrical

-- Al Holstein "I wood do it"

View Jackietreehorn's profile


150 posts in 1963 days

#6 posted 02-22-2013 06:20 PM

Hmmm, digging out the biscuit and putting a sliver of scrap from my cut off in place seems like the fastest and easiest approach.
I appreciate all the replies, and was definitely concerned about an inlay staying in place.

On a side note (I may post this as a separate post) but the top is to replace an existing top for my father in law. The existing top is mounted to a 9×9” square piece of metal. Do I need to do any extra bracing on the bottom of the table to keep it from moving around? The boards I used are ~5” wide. Having never done this I wasn’t sure if more bracing was needed?


View Bsmith's profile


330 posts in 2695 days

#7 posted 02-22-2013 06:22 PM

I side with Al, put some trim around the edge. His table looks great.

-- Bryan

View Jonathan's profile


45 posts in 1962 days

#8 posted 02-22-2013 06:27 PM

Putting in a sliver of scrap from the same bard with the same grain direction will be practically invisible when all is said and done. So long as you match the piece as best you can, and as tight as you can, so no thin glue gaps show
Ill bet you’d be fine.

-- Jhopewell, New Hampshire,

View Kazooman's profile


1028 posts in 1977 days

#9 posted 02-22-2013 06:29 PM

I go along with removing the biscuit and inserting a plug is the best way to go. If you still have the cutoff, you can line up the pieces and make the plug from the wood that was right at the point of the problem so that you get the best posssible match for color and grain.

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2273 days

#10 posted 02-22-2013 06:29 PM

His top is plywood though. I wouldn’t do that on solid wood. How about brass?


View RogerInColorado's profile


321 posts in 1979 days

#11 posted 02-22-2013 10:27 PM

I agree with using an endgrain piece of the cut-off to replace the biscuit.

I think as long as the holes in the metal are a little larger than the screws you use to mount the top, you shouldn’t have issues from movement. If the original top was 24 inches and didn’t have any stability or strength issues, you shouldn’t need to brace this one either. If something develops you can add an apron later.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29393 posts in 2363 days

#12 posted 02-23-2013 12:57 AM

I like the edge banding idea, but wonder if the same problem as an inlay would occur. I think the inlay would look nice, but could have a chance of popping out. Maybe rather than a full strip inlay around it you could measure the circumstance and cut slots over the top of the biscuits evenly spaced so it looks by design and inlay walnut splines. Just a thought.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View oldnovice's profile


6898 posts in 3393 days

#13 posted 02-23-2013 06:52 AM

I did a similar thing on a rectangular table top end.

I drilled out part of the offending biscuit deep enough to insert a dowel and repeated that on the other end that did NOT have an exposed biscuit. I used a dowel as I could not replicate the look of the biscuit!

In your case I would rout a groove around the edge and fill it will a contrasting wood or even a metal like brass. To rout the groove I would use a bit similar to the one below.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Woodknack's profile


11777 posts in 2405 days

#14 posted 02-23-2013 07:13 AM

I would go with the end grain plug and not worry about it. Chances are if you don’t point it out, no one will notice.

-- Rick M,

View Ross's profile


142 posts in 1997 days

#15 posted 02-23-2013 12:20 PM

I agree with Rick. Dig out the biscuit and end grain plug. Almost every piece of furniture that I have built has a small flaw somewhere. Remember, “Silence Is Golden”.

-- "Man Plans and God Laughs"

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