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What cracks? I thought that was part of the draw of the piece.

In the end, wood grain and all that aside, it' ALL about the wood shrinking. In between shrinking episodes, it's expanding and contracting with the moisture changes in the air.

A good elastomeric caulk is fine, if you plan on ONLY painting it, and realize it's only cosmetic. Remember though, eventually, it will fail too, in time. Anything like putty or Bondo will go south a hundred times faster.

As others point out, water getting in will be a problem. Especially if the caulk holds it in. As such, focus on sealing the top. How you do it depends on what you plan to do to finish it. You could even use poly that has been highly thinned for penetration. Just keep adding, and adding, and adding, and. . .

I agree with others, all the glue in the world won't fix that, absent cutting it apart, jointing the edges and gluing it back together.
 
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