Proper time to use a butterfly key?

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Forum topic by RyRat posted 08-04-2014 03:19 PM 930 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View RyRat's profile


27 posts in 938 days

08-04-2014 03:19 PM

Topic tags/keywords: butterfly key checking

I am working on a few live edge coffee tables and was wondering when is the proper time to use a butterfly key? I have some minor checking, see photo, and some splits straight through. None of them are more than 1/16 of an inch wide. I sometimes see work with half a dozen butterfly keys within a foot of each other. This looks like too much to me. How little can I get away with?

-- If you are flammable and have legs, you are never blocking a fire exit. -Mitch Hedberg

3 replies so far

View jmartel's profile


6474 posts in 1572 days

#1 posted 08-04-2014 03:38 PM

For those in the photo I’d probably just fill them with epoxy. For ones going straight through, use butterflys.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View giser3546's profile


179 posts in 895 days

#2 posted 08-19-2014 06:31 PM

I don’t think the issue in the picture would require butterfly keys, unless the wood is still fairly green and you’re expecting significant movement. Especially with how close that is to the edge, I know I would probably cause issues trying to put in a butterfly there. Some of the overzealous butterfly keys I’ve seen were made of veneer and weren’t even functional so those that you’ve seen may have just been for look.

-- "If you wait for it to rain, It will"

View pintodeluxe's profile


4827 posts in 2236 days

#3 posted 08-19-2014 06:43 PM

You can use them as decoration, or to stabilize minor cracks. For deeper splits, the inlay should be fairly thick.

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

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