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.