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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi to all. Just wanted to say that I've been reading this forum for a while, and it's been a real education to me, and I appreciate everyone sharing their knowledge. I am very new to woodworking and it's nice to have access to all of your accumulated experience.

I'm working on my first walnut slab - attempting to turn it into a coffee table. It's about 1 1/2" thick. I've removed all the bark, and have been reading about filling in cracks and knots. I've got the one knot to deal with, which I was going to handle with some black tinted epoxy, but am wondering about the split at the bottom (picture attached). Though I like the look of bowties in some pieces, I like the idea of that crack in there for the character of the piece I'm going for. It's not going to be under a whole lot of abuse or wear and tear. The slab was thoroughly kiln dried, and I'm wondering about what my options are for dealing with the split at the bottom.

A friend is building some trapazoid steel legs for the base, and from the looks of things, I'd be mounting the legs across the width of the crack, which I would imagine would give it some stability.

My question then is in terms of properly prepping the area in such a narrow space. Should the hairline portion of the split be filled with something, out to where it widens to a point where I can get in there? And what is my best option for applying the various finish coats in such a narrow space - in terms of what kind of brush or object to use to apply it evenly?

Thanks to all for their input and help. It is very much appreciated.
 

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Kiln dry is perhaps lower moisture content in the wood than air dry, but this may still be higher moisture content than most homes. Your shop may be higher moisture than the inside room where you will have the table.

Ideally you would test the slab with a moisture meter to determine how much moisture difference between the slab at present, the shop and the inside room.

I would use at least one bowtie. These are normally applied on the display side, but they only go 1/3 - 1/2 of the thickness of the slab.

You could apply these on the underside if you want the top to not show the bowties.

I would not fill the end of the crack with epoxy. The wood may move as it reaches equilibrium with the eventual room where you put this table.

The steel legs will be strong, but they will not prevent the wood from moving if it needs to move. The wood will merely pull out the screws.

The finish is not going to get into the hairline sections of the crack evenly. You will just have to accept this. Thin finish like shellac will go deeper than thicker finish like polyurethane. Wipe on poly may go in the same as shellac.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Much obliged Dave. I'll defer to those who've done this before and use at least an underside bow tie. I assumed I wouldn't be able to get a great cover on the inside of the crack, but just wanted to make sure that would be ok. Thanks so much for you insight and advice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
gideon said:
you can always put the bowtie on the underside. even with the legs underneath, that crack will want to continue. you can also use walnut or english brown oak for a bowtie in the top which won't stand out as much.
Yeah, I think I'll go the route of the underside bow tie. Much obliged for the reply.
 
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