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Hi! I have a very old table that I know virtually nothing about but it is starting to splinter along the bottom edges of the top. It wasn’t well cared for for at least a decade and oiling made a huge difference because it was very dry, but it didn’t help the splinters. I’m not sure how it is finished or anything and have no idea how to fix the splintering and it continues to worsen as it catches on clothes etc. Any thoughts would be appreciated! Photos included of the table/wood and splintering areas.
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David
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Welcome to the forum! If it were mine and I wanted to get rid of or greatly reduce the splintering I would use 120 grit sandpaper wrapped around a block of wood and just begin sanding. When it's all said and done you could apply some finish to seal the wood back up and protect it - lots of choices for finishes and many can be applied with a rag or brush and then wiped down. Nearly anything you do will show to a degree but if you do a good job on it then it will only show if you're looking for it and likely won't stand out.

David
 

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The Nut in the Cellar
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It looks like the wood is western red cedar. This species has a hard and very soft grain structure. The soft grain wears away easily leaving the thin hard grain exposed and unsupported. The thin bits of hard grain then splinter. Our previous home had the family room completely trimmed in it by the previous owner. It had splinters everywhere and snagged dust cloths just by looking at it. I ripped it all out and replaced it with red oak. I did make some items with the cedar and finished them with danish oil and varnish.

If this were mine, I'd sand the edges carefully to round them over slightly and eliminate the splintering. I would then varnish everything starting with varnish thinned to wiping consistency so I will soak into the soft grain. Once the wood has been stabilized with multiple applications, I'd finish with a top coat of brushed on varnish using the sheen you prefer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Welcome to the forum! If it were mine and I wanted to get rid of or greatly reduce the splintering I would use 120 grit sandpaper wrapped around a block of wood and just begin sanding. When it's all said and done you could apply some finish to seal the wood back up and protect it - lots of choices for finishes and many can be applied with a rag or brush and then wiped down. Nearly anything you do will show to a degree but if you do a good job on it then it will only show if you're looking for it and likely won't stand out.

David
Thank you!!! This is very helpful. I appreciate it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It looks like the wood is western red cedar. This species has a hard and very soft grain structure. The soft grain wears away easily leaving the thin hard grain exposed and unsupported. The thin bits of hard grain then splinter. Our previous home had the family room completely trimmed in it by the previous owner. It had splinters everywhere and snagged dust cloths just by looking at it. I ripped it all out and replaced it with red oak. I did make some items with the cedar and finished them with danish oil and varnish.

If this were mine, I'd sand the edges carefully to round them over slightly and eliminate the splintering. I would then varnish everything starting with varnish thinned to wiping consistency so I will soak into the soft grain. Once the wood has been stabilized with multiple applications, I'd finish with a top coat of brushed on varnish using the sheen you prefer.
Exactly! It snags like crazy and it only makes it worse. Thanks so much for your response, I'll give it a try!
 

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Welcome to the forum!

I also recommend sanding - but I'd round the edge a bit to deter further splintering as this increases the surface area yielding more support for the edge. Sealing with something to 'harden' the edge would also help but I'm not sure how to do that neatly without refinishing the whole table.

Let us know what you come up with.

Russ
 

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Good afternoon! I'd round the bottom with a cutter. But I have the right tool. If you don't have a milling machine, sandpaper is the best idea!
 

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What tools do you have access to, and how much can you disassemble the table? If you can take the top of the table off and have access to a router, running over those edges with a roundover or chamfer bit would make short work of it. Failing that, if you have a hand plane, using that to put a chamfer on the edges would be my second choice

Course, the most basic way would be sandpaper on a block, and thats certainly works, but personally i hate trying to use sandpaper on a splintered edge. Never fails that a splinter catches on the paper and tears it
 
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