Dealing with a knot - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 12-09-2012, 09:36 PM Thread Starter
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Dealing with a knot

I'm building a round, black walnut kitchen table. Today, I laid out the wood to get the pieces where I want them to get the best color matching edges and the best pieces in the best possible placement.

One of the pieces of wood has about a 2" knot in it that I can't avoid, with 2 small cracks in the knot, about 1/2" long each, and maybe 1/16" gap at the widest point. Pretty small, but I'm wondering what the best way to deal with it is. The other side of the board is worse. Should I just fill the cracks (and if so, with what) or should I try to cut the knot out and find a piece of scrap to fill the hole that has the right color and graining? If anyone has tried to cut out and patch the hole, what's the best way of cutting it out? A router comes to mind first.

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post #2 of 21 Old 12-09-2012, 09:45 PM
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I'd say fill it in with epoxy. If you made a patch it would surely show. Got any pics of the knot? Much easier to see.

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post #3 of 21 Old 12-09-2012, 09:54 PM
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post #4 of 21 Old 12-09-2012, 10:19 PM
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I use epoxy mixed with walnut and cherry saw dust. the walnut sawdust alone will act like end grain and become much darker. using the cherry dust lightens the color enough to better match the face grain of most walnut.
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post #5 of 21 Old 12-09-2012, 10:24 PM Thread Starter
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Ok. Thanks. I've never had to fill a defect with epoxy. Any particular type? I have some 2-part fast setting (5-minute) epoxy. Dries clear.

Although I may do a test on a piece of scrap. With templates and a router, I may be able to get a near perfect fit of a patch (other than the grain), which would be less noticeable than the knot, although the knot is a natural defect, so certainly acceptable.
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post #6 of 21 Old 12-09-2012, 10:35 PM
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I use the 5 minute epoxy with no problems. patching will show and there will be independent movement. the patch will expand, contract rise and dip beneath the surface. It will be visible. The epoxy will be less visible and consistent to the touch.

If you really want to go the walnut patch route, I have used a speed bore bit in my drill and cut a plug with a plug cutter bit for my drill.

You could also do a bowtie with your router. You can get templates, make your own, etc. You'll need a template guide with bushing set.
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post #7 of 21 Old 12-10-2012, 07:38 AM
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To me knots are a defect on walnut. I wouldn't build the table unless I could cut the knot out of the board.
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post #8 of 21 Old 12-10-2012, 07:51 AM
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My first choice would be to replace the board. If that's not possible, I would make an inlay. I would get a scrap that's as close to grain and color as possible. Cut an inlay recess to create a flow of the grain. IOW, drilling for a plug would leave a defined shape, and no matter how close the plug is it will be obvious.

The recess should follow the grain, like flame tips at both ends. Cut your inlay and fit to the recess. It should be thick enough to be able to sand flat when glued in.





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post #9 of 21 Old 12-10-2012, 08:16 AM
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If you like the knot, use it. If not, cut and piece it.
Personally I use epoxy for filling cracks and voids., but it's not the only method. I have used white glue and mixed in a matching sawdust, and that has a nice look. It also sands easier and tends to hide the cracks some.
As far as epoxy, there are many brands. I use Enviro-tek which is sold at big box stores and art supply houses.
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post #10 of 21 Old 12-10-2012, 10:49 PM Thread Starter
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I like the inlay idea. The boards are 1 1/8" thick, so doing a tick inlay isn't an issue. Can sawdust be used in epoxy? I might have to mix a little up and see how it sets. The knot is dark, but it's black walnut, and the boards are a very consistent black. It doesn't have nearly the color variation of some of the other walnut. So it's not really obnoxious, but it's also not a clear board. I may try to fill it, and if I don't like the results, then cut it out and do an inlay patch.
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post #11 of 21 Old 12-11-2012, 03:38 AM
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My personal experience with epoxy is you don't mess with the mix.
If you want to try a sample w/ sawdust it can't hurt. Tell us how it works. My first thought is it would slow or stop bubbles from surfacing out, and they would be trapped in and visible.
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post #12 of 21 Old 12-11-2012, 09:30 AM
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Some pics would be great. I would like to follow along with your 'repair'. I am sure I could learn something.
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post #13 of 21 Old 12-12-2012, 09:59 PM
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If its in the top of a table you should consider cutting out the 2-3 inch strip with the knot and add another board to your width. A repair should probably limited to secondary areas of a project. Significant effects will always haunt you. It would be easier and cheaper than spending all that time for a mediocre outcome.
Early in a build most would not tolerate a large error or defect. Learning to fix damage is important but avoiding it is better. Walnut furniture is not often rustic.
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post #14 of 21 Old 12-13-2012, 11:46 AM
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this is hte epoxy with walnut and cherry sawdust mix.
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post #15 of 21 Old 12-13-2012, 12:43 PM
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Looked at your facebook page a little, really enjoyed your stuff, making old functional, nice artisan-ship.

-luke
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post #16 of 21 Old 12-13-2012, 02:31 PM
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post #17 of 21 Old 12-14-2012, 02:06 PM Thread Starter
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It's funny how you remember things a few days after you see them. I had it in my head that the knot was a lot worse than it is. Probably because it is worse on the other side of the board, and I had been looking at the other side of the board quite a bit (the board was 108" long, but cut in half and used one side of one 54" piece and the other side of this 54" section).

Looking at it now, I'm thinking I will probably just fill it with epoxy. I really like the graining around the knot and don't want to lose it. I could, however, cut out about 3" of the board out, and take 3" from the end of the board and put that in its place. But the grain wouldn't line up very well due to how it weaves around the knot. I may cut the end off the board and just lay it on top and see which way I like it better.

Here are some pics. The line on the blue tape along the edge is where the radius of the table will be. It will run from that line up and left across the board. This board is 3rd of 4 boards from the center out.
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post #18 of 21 Old 12-14-2012, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
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One more picture of all the boards laid out in order. The one in question is second from the left. You can get a better idea of the final table top area marked by the little pieces of blue tape.
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post #19 of 21 Old 12-14-2012, 04:10 PM
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Oh, I'd leave it.
The 7th board has a smaller one too, incorporate it in as well. That way it looks planned.
Also none of this is straight grained, and it goes pretty well with it.
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post #20 of 21 Old 12-14-2012, 04:41 PM
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I see nothing wrong with that knot. I thought it was worse then what you explained. I would put a bowtie in it. If you don't want it than get another board.

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