Cracks in Cabinet Top

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Forum topic by Lgbulldogs posted 01-08-2014 04:57 PM 1019 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 2375 days

01-08-2014 04:57 PM

I made a cabinet in a class a few months ago. I starting to size up finishing the project and I discovered cracks starting on each side of the top of the cabinet. The top is 6/4 oak and the cracks are starting in the middle of the same board. Pictures are attached. Do I need to fix these cracks before I finish the project? Will they continue to get worse if I don’t fix them? Finishing schedule will be dye, shellac seal coat, and WB poly. Any help or direction is greatly appreciated.

8 replies so far

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1876 posts in 2172 days

#1 posted 01-08-2014 05:01 PM

I would. With the change in seasons and humidity it could get a lot worse. If it’s just a small crack why not throw some glue in there clamp it and leave it to dry overnight. Fix in the morning, then you don’t have to think about it. You’ve made something great, why not keep it that way?

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View a1Jim's profile


117337 posts in 3780 days

#2 posted 01-08-2014 05:03 PM

Yes you need to fix the cracks before your finish it. I would guess that your top cracked because you fastened you top down so not to allow for wood movement,if that’s the problem yes it could get worse.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View PurpLev's profile


8547 posts in 3851 days

#3 posted 01-08-2014 05:08 PM

wood has internal stresses by nature, these cracks are the result. they could potentially grow. if you are planning on fixing it – now is the time.

I am not sure that glue and clamps would solve the problem as the internal stress would still exist and it could cause the crack to appear elsewhere. you could rip the board at the crack on the table saw and reglue – that way you are relieving the stress from the board, and putting the board back together without the internal stress. OR you could use butterfly patches to resist the internal stress from growing those cracks any further.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View a1Jim's profile


117337 posts in 3780 days

#4 posted 01-08-2014 05:22 PM

It would be good to see a photo of how you connected the top to the base,because if it’s connected to tightly any fix you make to the top will not be long term,it will crack again.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Lgbulldogs's profile


3 posts in 2375 days

#5 posted 01-08-2014 07:57 PM

Thank you for the replies. I was afraid that your advice would head this way. I believe the top is attached by screws only. I’ll have to check though since it has been a while since it was completed. Thanks for the help.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3851 days

#6 posted 01-08-2014 08:27 PM

Remove the top. Rip, joint and reglue it. You’ll lose 1/4” at most.
If you can tolerate the reduced reveal, ok. If not, rip and
put another board in there in the middle, maybe 3 or 4”
wide so it doesn’t look like a repair. The rip the waste off
the back and you’ll be the only person who ever knows.

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 2979 days

#7 posted 01-08-2014 08:32 PM

If you follow the crack and grain line with a band saw, you reduce the gap and the stress. Before you do this, drop the board on the floor a couple of times, at releases the stress in the board – then cut it.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 3172 days

#8 posted 01-08-2014 08:49 PM

That could be an end check in the board opening up. Were you very economical with the cutting?
A good way to get glue right inside the crack is to squeeze some on the top and put a shop vac on the underside to draw it through. while the glue is still wet, smush in some fine sanding dust.
If the top is simply screwed down, you could elongate the holes in the base of the desk to allow for movement.

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