Heart Pine table top help
I'm new to the forum, and to woodwork in general, and wanted to get some thoughts on my first major project. Thanks in advance for any suggestions you can provide!
I am working on a dining room table, and purchased heart pine from a local mill. The pieces for the top 7" wide and 1.75" thick, with lengths varying from 79" to 84". The wood was dried, but I guess my house was drier than the mill, so after getting the wood home, I noticed a couple days later that a few of the boards had developed large checks and splits. It's been about a week now and I haven't noticed further checking/splitting.
I'm currently trying to repair the boards. I have some system 3 t-88 epoxy, and was planning to fill the cracks with the epoxy, and then use butterfly joints. I was hoping to get some advice though.
(1) Do I repair the boards individually, prior to gluing and clamping together the top? I assumed I'd do the boards individually, and then assemble the top, but I could be totally off base.
(2) For end splits, or other large cracks, I was planning to fill with epoxy and then clamp. Is that ok, or is better to just fill and not clamp? I'm using a putty knife to push the epoxy into the cracks, but it's hard to know if I am getting enough deep into the cracks. Is there a better method I should be using?
(3) Should I just be using glue? I assumed the epoxy would be stronger, and with black pigment would be more visually interesting.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and for any advice you can offer! I haven't taken any pics yet, but could do so if that would be helpful.
I suspect the wood isn't dry from what you are saying. For it to check and split that quickly is fishy. Unless you have a moisture content meter there is no way of knowing for sure. Personally I would consider the cracks a defect and would worry about the cracks getting longer. Unless you can cut that part off I would consider replacing the boards. It's not worth the headache to complete a table and have it split later on.
If you are going to repair the boards I would do it as individual boards. It would involve clamping the wood together so the edges will need to be straightened afterwards. If you can pull the split together with a clamp then wood glue would be the best adhesive. Wood glue is thin enough you can spread a bead of glue over the crack and rub it into the crack with your thumb. Keep doing it until glue comes out the other side and clamp. If you have to fill in a gap then epoxy would be better.
Thank you, Steve. It seemed fishy to me as well; my first inclination was simply to return the wood. I was told it was kiln dried, so didn't understand why it was splitting and cracking so much. But the place where I purchased the wood was not accommodating, and I didn't feel confident enough that I could prove the fault was theirs. But that is an option I could pursue. Short of that, purchasing replacement boards would be difficult since I'm already over budget on this after the initial purchase. But as you say I am worried about further splitting down the line.
Thank you for the clarification on repairing splits. I will give that a try. I think I did the first one incorrectly: I applied epoxy, and then clamped (rather than clamping and using glue). It's still clamped so I'm not yet sure if it will hold. (It was at that point that I thought I better seek more expert advice.)
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