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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I'm somewhat new to making live edge tables, and it's my first time posting here. I have a 4" thick, 32" round of old growth redwood that has a split in it. The wood has moved...well I actually don't know what to call it, maybe moved vertically? Shear? Basically if it's set on a tabletop, the wood on one side of the split has pulled up. Hopefully you can see what I mean from the picture. This is an old piece, and so it's dry.

It seems like I should stabilize this point? I want to leave this piece as natural as I can, so I'd rather not to use epoxy to fill gap. I know with splits where the wood is pulling apart people use butterfly inlays to stabilize the piece. I was wondering if anyone has ever done this in my situation? I mocked up one of the pictures to show what I'm thinking. What solutions do people use for this type of movement?

Thanks!
 

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I’ve never seen such a fix attempted, but if you should try it, rotate the butterfly 90 degrees. As shown there is no mechanical bond. Glue would serve as the only bonding agent.


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I’ve never seen such a fix attempted, but if you should try it, rotate the butterfly 90 degrees. As shown there is no mechanical bond. Glue would serve as the only bonding agent.


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not sure that there is any such thing as "what is normally done in this situation"
live edge stuff tends to love its cracks and warps and it's not prone to behaving.

if the intent is to stay rustic, the approach of encapsulating the whole thing in epoxy with a "river" down the crack is not a solution.

my rustic approach: finish the crack. crack it in two. then very carefully chisel/re-shape the crack so it's almost "closed" - drill and install large diameter dowels - add legs - flatten top.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Wow! I don’t know if I’m quite ready for that tactic. When you do that how much do you see the line going across the table where the joint is?
I was looking at the piece again, and i think with the bit of planing i have to do everythig will end up even. But should i worry about it continuing to move in the up/down direction? Would butterflies on the top help?
 

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I’ve added Dutchman’s to severalmlive edge slabs, always on the top or bottom with a contrasting wood. People really like them. I add the Dutchman then fill with epoxy. Always looks great and stabilizes the wood. There are some examples in my Gallery photos.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ideally I'd like to add a couple of dutchman (or butterfly) on the bottom. I'd like to leave the raw crack on top without any interruptions. But I also don't want to fill the crack with epoxy. Would the dutchmans be enough to hold everything in place?
 

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no one can answer that question with certainty. it depends on how stable the chunk is right now, what it will be exposed to in the future, etc. if someone was paying me money to do this job and wanted a warranty - I'd be walking away . . .
I see a lot of cracks - any of those could open or propagate over time. a lot more cracks than perhaps you want to butterfly. actually a lot more cracks than would look good butterflied . . .
what is the overall motif going to be? would a wrought iron band work? or an "embedded" large link chain / cable? they should be designed so you could tighten them.
 

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The wood will move.... period.

You can try to fight the movement, but it won't stop at least until it's dry or reached environmental equilibrium. Most folks like the looks of the checks and do some minor attempts at prevention, especially on long table lengths where food and particles would be an issue. Then the gap get filled with an epoxy either clear or tinted. Ends up looking pretty cool in my opinion. In your case, The whole slice probably would have benfitted from a soaking in ethylene glycol/antifreeze as the wood turners have done... I donno? It's too late for that now I suppose, but it may be worth looking into.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
My plan was just to sand it down, finish it, and throw some simple metal legs on it to be used as an indoor table. I don't know how much of a motif I had thought about besides wanting to keep the look more on the natural side.

I'm fairly new to this, but how much can you expect a piece to continue to move after it has been dry for a long time? I found this piece in the back of a lot where I was buying a couple of other slabs, and they said it had been there for years. I get that the amount of moisture in the air can impact a piece, but enough to crack it more if it's in a house where the moisture, ideally, would be constant, and similar to what it's at right now?

I agree that it wouldn't look good to butterfly them all, but if I do it on the bottom no one will see it, but it would be a lot of work.

Do you have a picture of what you mean by an "embedded" large link chain / cable?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Just thinking....would it stabilize the piece if I filled the crack with epoxy, but not the entire crack. Since i'm trying to keep the natural look I was just thinking I could put something into the crack right at the edge so the epoxy wont fill to the edge, and then you wouldn't see the epoxy from the side, and then I could fill the cracks 1/3 to 1/2 of the way up, and then you wouldn't see it from the top, just if you flipped it over. But I'm not sure if this would be strong enough. Does that make sense? Any thoughts?
 

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if you have pets, research the "anti-freeze" topic thoroughly. standard 'car anti-freeze' is poisonous to chewing pets...


another approach is to source a 1/4" round steel plate, weld the legs to it, drill holes and fasten the slice down with screws/lag bolts from the bottom. if anything splits in the future, drill another hole . . .


for the chain idea, you carve/router divets so the chain lays flat. where the ends meet you need a nut/bolt assembly to tighten the chain (that's a custom make/weld job.

saw the idea on bar stools similar to these - wood slice seats versus upholstered, with a chain wrap to keep them from splitting/falling apart.

Chainlink-Furniture.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Yeah, I don't think I'll do anything with antifreeze. Thanks for the ideas. Interesting stuff. I think for now i'm going to butterfly the big one and try and epoxy the others.
 
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