Panel glue up split the board - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 16 Old 12-12-2014, 10:56 PM Thread Starter
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Panel glue up split the board

Came home tonight and my wife pointed out a heartbreaking problem with our walnut and oak table we built. We made all of this out of S2S walnut and oak from some basic plans. We wanted something that would last a lifetime, but so far it has only made it a couple months and now there is a huge split down the length of one of our panel glue ups.

Even typing this right now I'm pretty broken up. We were both really happy with how it turned out and it was really the best thing we have made to date; or so we thought. But at this point I do not know of anything I can do about it other than learn from what I did wrong and never make the mistake again.

Here is the table pre-crack


And here it is now:





We milled down the 4/4 walnut to the 1x6 boards you see and glued them up as 2 separate panels. We glued 2 at a time having 3 pairs of boards for each half of the table, then glued the 3 pairs together on each side which made the 2 panels. We used glue, biscuits to keep them flat and pocket screws to keep them together. From there we cut the 3 perpendicular pieces to size (2x4 milled from 8/4 walnut) and then the side runners (2x4 milled from 8/4 walnut). We attached these to the panels using glue and pocket screws.

The lumber was allowed to rest in our garage for several weeks before using it.

Once we got it all put together it was fantastic. About 2 weeks after bringing it inside we noticed 2 joints on the panels separating slightly (maybe 0.5mm). I didn't mind it so much, but now we have this large split.

What can be done to avoid this next time? Is there anything to be done about it now?

Plans we used: http://ana-white.com/2012/11/plans/t...armhouse-table
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post #2 of 16 Old 12-13-2014, 06:22 AM
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The problem you have is the panel isn't allowed to move with changes in humidity. Being winter time humidity is low and because of that the panel wants to shrink across it's width and because of the way the table is constructed it can't freely so it splits.

Lower humidity is even more pronounced with wood heat in the winter. Not sure if that's your case though.

That's one reason you see breadboard ends on a table such as this one. They allow the table to shrink and expand and not crack.

Do one thing at a time, do it well, then move on.
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post #3 of 16 Old 12-13-2014, 06:26 AM
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Sorry to say but Ana White or someone working for her is an amazing photographer, her stuff looks great, perfectly lighted and staged. Unfortunately, her construction techniques are terrible and doomed to last through a couple photos and not much longer. I feel bad for folks following her designs. The construction tecniques show a profound lack of woodworking knowledge.
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post #4 of 16 Old 12-13-2014, 06:59 AM
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There really isn't a fix for the table. I would get some minwax soft putty and rub it into the crack as it continues to open up. Eventually you will need to remake the top. It would work better with that style to use plywood for the center sections.

Even the Anna White table pictured in the link is cracked. It is made out of pine which would be a little more stable.

Last edited by Steve Neul; 12-13-2014 at 07:01 AM.
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post #5 of 16 Old 12-13-2014, 09:48 AM
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It's really interesting to see how often this comes up on this board, it's unfortunate as that table looks really nice.

There are several things at play here that others have mentioned. First and foremost, wood moves, mostly length wise, but it does expand and contract. There are things you can do to minimize the movement, but you also have to build with it in mind. Stabilizing the wood in your garage was OK, but ideally you should have had it in the house where it would have ultimately been, I suspect it's much drier inside. I always seal and finish both sides of a wood project to help stabilize it as well. The real issue I see with that table design is the wood panels are "captured" by the pieces that run across. Typically there will be a "breadboard" type joint there to allow the wood to expand and contract length wise, which might help keep it from blowing the glued seems apart.

At this point the only proper fix is to rebuild, beyond that some filler is the second best option.
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post #6 of 16 Old 12-13-2014, 10:15 AM
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>>>> First and foremost, wood moves, mostly length wise,

No, wood expands and contracts across the grain. Movement lengthwise is minimal enough to be ignored.

One thing you could try is to cut off the end caps and then force some glue into the split. Use a vacuum from underneath to sort of suck the adhesive down into the split. Then clamp across the the tabletop. You will end up with a shorter table but it could be used in another application. Opps, I now see that there is center cross board that also is a cross-grain situation. If boards are firmly attached to that board, you will have a significant risk of splits in other boards.

Understanding wood movement is one of the basics of woodworking. Avoid any construction the restricts the ability of the wood to expand and contract. I can't believe someone would promote that type of construction. It's a prescription for failure.

Howie..........

Last edited by HowardAcheson; 12-13-2014 at 10:41 AM.
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post #7 of 16 Old 12-13-2014, 12:16 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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I have a different approach

All good advice on what happened, the end caps are glued on the width and since wood expends and contacts across the WIDTH, it couldn't move. Most proper end caps are just that, loose pinned "caps" that clean up the end grain and keep the planks level, but have a tenon and groove to allow for expansion. That didn't happen.

You have 2 choices:
1. Saw off the end caps and make a tenon and a groove to allow for movement, but you still have the cross piece which won't allow for movement. dang.

2. here's the different approach.
Saw off the end caps, then saw the whole table right down the split all along the length, and reglue it. You should seal the bottom surface also.
You could leave the end caps on and reglue, 3 seams will show but the table stays the original length that way....?


If your house has major changes in humidity this won't be a perfect solution, but a "make do" fix, short of sawing apart the whole table top. dang.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 12-13-2014 at 12:18 PM.
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post #8 of 16 Old 12-14-2014, 11:33 AM
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From my perspective, I really get upset and discouraged when something like this happens but in retrospect, it's probably a very good thing this happened. That split in the wood will end up helping you construct future projects, correctly.

It is a beautiful table and no doubt you won't be satisfied until it is rebuilt again. I might cut the ends off and save the panels for a future coffee table or something similar.
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post #9 of 16 Old 12-14-2014, 12:58 PM
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All to often our first sojourn into woodworking is having an idea of what we want but can't find a manufactured product with that design so decide to build it ourselves without stopping to consider why it is not being made commercially.

It is sometimes a hard and expensive lesson.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something -Plato

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post #10 of 16 Old 12-15-2014, 09:01 AM
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I'd cut the ends off and glue and clamp the crack and then add breadboard ends. It's too beautiful to not fix.
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post #11 of 16 Old 12-15-2014, 11:37 AM
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that will still leave the center crosspiece

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Originally Posted by banjopicks View Post
I'd cut the ends off and glue and clamp the crack and then add breadboard ends. It's too beautiful to not fix.
I don't think that would work, since the center is also cross grain.

Here's another idea. As I suggested run a cut down the entire center reducing the amount of movement by 1/2.
Now you can treat it like a dining room table with leaves that insert in the center. Make a sliding joint to allow for a "new" piece of wood down the center OR just allow the 2 halves to move independently with a center seam.

Purchase them here:
http://www.wwhardware.com/wood-table...-mtableslides/

http://www.osbornewood.com/table-slides.cfm


It is certainly too nice not to fix. Another "solution" would be to fill the crack with a dark epoxy to look like a natural defect in the wood.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 12-15-2014 at 11:40 AM.
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post #12 of 16 Old 12-15-2014, 01:06 PM
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Another option might be to cut the center panels out and rabbet the inside opening and insert a piece of 1/2" plywood covered with walnut veneer.
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post #13 of 16 Old 12-15-2014, 02:06 PM
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That would work but it might not look as good as it does now. Maybe it looks good because it's built wrong. See how long you can live with the crack.

Dick Hutchings
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post #14 of 16 Old 12-19-2014, 09:23 PM
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The perspective I have is it gives it character. Obviously you now know the right and wrong way to attach a bread board now. Lesson learned embrace the table (its very nice) and move on to the next project with a bit more wood knowledge than you had on this last one. When I learn from a mistake I have made its quite possibly the best lesson and stays with me the longest.
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post #15 of 16 Old 12-20-2014, 08:31 AM
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I do my best to move ahead when things like this happen. It's hard to do but I'll have a lot more fun starting a new project then repairing the one I screwed up. I've wasted a lot of good woodworking time trying to make things perfect after a mistake. It's just not worth it for a hobbyist with limited time and the desire to learn the craft. Think lots of projects and new techniques building on the ones you know.

Easier said than done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firewood furniture View Post
The perspective I have is it gives it character. Obviously you now know the right and wrong way to attach a bread board now. Lesson learned embrace the table (its very nice) and move on to the next project with a bit more wood knowledge than you had on this last one. When I learn from a mistake I have made its quite possibly the best lesson and stays with me the longest.

Dick Hutchings

Last edited by banjopicks; 12-20-2014 at 08:37 AM.
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post #16 of 16 Old 12-23-2014, 10:45 PM
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wood moves

Sooner or later all woodworkers learn that WOOD MOVES. Fortunately for me I learned this early on before it cost me a lot of money but I've seen many a heart break due to not allowing for movement, especially with wide panels across the grain.

The top and end panels in this buffet are solid walnut but I left a gap on all edges where it meets the frame. The frame and the panel has a plough that accepts a floating flange that is left unglued. I know the wood has moved because I've had to adjust the solid slab doors but the panels have remained problem free.

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Most of the time the problem comes from wood shrinkage but expansion can be a problem as well if you are moving the project from a dry climate to a wet one. I once was hired to build some solid teak salon doors for a large sailboat. I left gaps of about 1/2" on each side of the solid door panels and used foam backer rod to keep the panels from shifting from side to side. I'm glad I did that because once the boat hit the water the panels expanded but the doors remained unblemished. The fellow who built the cabinets in the boat was not as fortunate and he fit the panels into the frames snugly, all the cabinet door panels expanded and all the frame joints failed! I'm sure the poor fellow lost his shirt, sad.

Bret
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