In an otherwise attractive piece of wood, an unsightly split or crack can run deep like family turmoil.  Most wood fillers are intended to be little more than aesthetic solutions.  Even the hardiest fillers are intended to withstand compressive forces but not sheer stress.  Here I will demonstrate my solution for when I don't want to give-up on a piece of wood.  This block was salvaged from a eucalyptus tree that fell on my grandmother's house (don't worry, I'm fine).  I want to be able to work on it without risk of further splittage.  
  I do all my wood repair at TechShop.

Step 1: Supplies

I have found polyester resin to the be ideal for this kind of repair.  It is very strong in it's cured state, it seeps into fibers and produces a strong bond (it's intended use is laminating wood and resining fiberglass) and it is slightly flexible, so it will move with wood as it bends and expands with humidity.  

  *Not pictured: the necessary plastic bag
Will this work for surface "cracks"? We bought a table with a checkered wood detail but there are areas where the wood is missing. They are about 1/8 of an inch deep. Any advice on whether this process might work?
<p>I buy the two to one epoxy mix for my shop (gallon and half gallon). Recently, I picked up a small jar of turquoise powder folks use to embellish embossed cards they make. I mixed this will the epoxy and liked the effect.</p><p>On a whim, I took some of the oyster shells I'd picked up for inlay and crushed them down to about 1/8&quot; to 1/4&quot; chunks. Then I added it to the turquoise powder, in epoxy, then applied it to carvings I'd made on a turned rattle. </p><p>When hard, the end product would have made a good finger nail file (providing you were willing to lose hide too), but it sanded easily enough (remember, breathing the shell dust is VERY nasty). I only used 150 grit. After that, I ran it on my buffer and the oyster shell polished to a pearl like finish. Of course, the epoxy smoothed too.</p><p>When done, it could pass for a turquoise inlay for detail work.</p><p>Other turnings had cracks and I just filled them, called it a day, then turned them. The cracks are obvious, and not. People see them, but just accept them as part of the wood's character. <br><br>You can get a rough idea of what it looks like at the following Lumberjocks page:</p><p>http://lumberjocks.com/kelvancra/blog/83394</p>
<p>great tutorial. I have an antique single piece of wood carved into a pachyderm rocker for a child. Weighs close to 50lbs. The entire piece is 30&quot;x22&quot;x181/2&quot;. The crack is 1/4&quot;and runs from the center of one side-back to front. It is a pretty straight crack. The piece is currently painted. I want to fill this and make any other repairs as well. Afterwards re-paint and gift away. Would I use the epoxy for this, as there are carved details I will have to match up. Use the filler with no color added? I am quite a perfectionist and have given myself ample time to educate before I attempt this. </p><p>Thanks and Cheers!</p>
<p>Would fiberglass resin work? And if so, could i still be able to dye it?</p>
<p>Outstanding! I have some cracked billets of wood that I was going to turn into bowls, but when the wood split, checked, and warped; I gave up. This would make for an interesting design in the wood!</p>
<p>Great tip!! Thanks for sharing!!!!!!! :)</p>
<p>Hi Scott, great article. You mentioned you now use Epoxy. I have two questions:</p><p>Is epoxy as strong and flexible as the polyester resin?( I have some large knots that have come out in my fir floor that need filling and sanding. I'd rather not get any cracks when the wood shrinks and expands).</p><p>And what stain would you now use to colour the epoxy?</p><p>Thanks in advance!!</p>
<p>This is really cool, but be aware that polyester resin is hygroscopic, so if the piece is for outdoor use, use epoxy resin instead. Epoxy is superior in most ways but also costs about four times as much.</p>
<p>That's great advice, I've actually switched to using epoxy.</p>
<p>Just wanted to add my appreciation for the tutorial. Very nicely done. Thank you.</p>
<p>Where do you buy the polyester resin and stuff?</p>
<p>try one of the box stores HD or Lowes, Or your local hardware store.</p>
<p>Here in the UK, Halfords sell an opaque type for fibreglass:</p><p><a href="http://www.halfords.com/motoring/paints-body-repair/fillers-preparation/davids-fastglas-resin-500ml" rel="nofollow">http://www.halfords.com/motoring/paints-body-repai...</a></p><p>Or there's Alec Tiranti (Sculptors' Tools, Materials &amp; Studio Equipment):</p><p>http://www.tiranti.co.uk/edgeimpactshop/product.php?Product=1338&amp;Content=Clear+Casting+Resin+AM+1kg+Casting+Polyester+Resin+Clear+Casting+Resin+This+product+is+NOT+supplied+with+liquid+hardener+%28+Catalyst+%29.+If+you+require+this%2C+please+insure+it+is+included+with+this+order</p>
<p>i just built a table for a buddy. there are several paper-width seams that he doesnt care about, but i do. i have seen some tutorials on using sawdust (actually powder from sanding) as a filler when mixed with glue. however, if I'm going to stain the table, the glue will prevent the putty from staining like the rest. my plan is to stain some scrap, sand that, then used the &quot;pre-stained&quot; powder with modgepodge as that dries clear, not yellow like woodglue. <br><br>my question is could I use the wood powder in this epoxy resin mix you've shown here instead of paint?</p>
<p>Repeated attempts to &quot;match&quot; face-grain with sawdust or &quot;powder&quot; have proven fruitless for me. After some thought and observation, I think I know why. Sawdust or &quot;powder&quot; is predominantly &quot;end grain&quot;. As such, it absorbs colorants like end-grain does. Namely, 'darkly'. While I'm sure some extensive experimentation might result in an 'invisible' color match, I have yet to come to a point where I appreciate the effort relative to the outcome. Therefore, more often than not I do what the author (Scotttland) does and make the repair high contrast and therefore a &quot;feature&quot;. Like ALL 'fixes' of this sort, they don't really fool experienced woodworkers. They're just a reasonable solution to salvaging a piece of wood or work that one really wants, or needs, to.</p>
Thats a lesson i learned years ago. Now if i fill cracks or gouges etc. I intentionally use a contrasting color. Nothing looks worse than a almost matched match especially on floors.
<p>There is a Japanese term for this that escapes me. They will take a broken piece of pottery and use gold to make an obvious repair. The idea is to embrace and even feature the repair as a values part of the history or life story of the piece. I think black filler is perfect. I'd even be tempted to try something really intense like red for the right piece.</p>
<p>I believe that's called wabi-sabi. </p>
<p>No, it's related but not the same. Kintsugi is the word I was looking for. Wabi-sabi is simply embracing imperfection.</p><p>http://www.amusingplanet.com/2014/05/kintsugi-japanese-art-of-fixing-broken.html</p>
<p>Oh that is cool. Every time I am on this website I learn something new (even in the comments)!</p>
<p>Interesting view (concerning gold-framed crackings)...</p>
<p>Interesting view (concerning gold-framed crackings)...</p>
Do you have to stain it? This is like staining cherry or other blotchy wood that doesn't absorb consistently. Rather than using a penetrating stain why not try some kind of tinted lacquer that will put a coloured surface on the wood without actually changing the colour of the wood.
Ive seen several tutorials on using tinted laquer, but at this point that is beyond my skill level and immediate resources. <br><br>I intend to use a sealant / pre-stain before staining as samples from the same pieces do blotch considerably.<br><br>As for the saw&quot;powder&quot;, the seams are no more than maybe 1/64&quot;, probably less. I would not try this approach if they were wider and probably just cut another board.
Paul,<br>I don't see your reply here, but Phenoseal has some interesting properties.<br><br>It's quite soft and therefore finds its way into fairly complex surface textures making a good seal, yet after it has cured a bit is still very pliable and pares away from the wood with even a moderately sharp chisel.<br><br>I would steer away from products containing any Silicones as these will wreak havoc with finishing processes. <br><br>Other than Silicone causing fisheye hell, anything that seems to form a good seal and is viscous not to run or flatten out could be worth a try.<br><br>Mashed potato flakes, here we come! :-D
<p>@jimofoz, I am testing the epoxy method on scraps of wood before I work on my &quot;live wood&quot; table top that has several holes (some going right through the slab) but I have been having problems with the epoxy leaking through the tape. First I tried clear cellophane packing tape. No good. Then I tried hot glueing a cardboard to the bottom. Epoxy still leaked out. I haven't tried gaffer (duct) tape yet. Is that what you are using? Do you have some tips?</p>
<p>Looks like he's using gorilla tape, thick, durable, and holds strong. Little bit more $ than a roll of duct tape, but it's worth it. </p>
<p>Thanks, will try that.</p>
<p>If you are hot gluing a patch over the through holes and getting &quot;weep&quot; it most likely means the patch does not have a perfect seal against an undulating/striated surface.</p><p>Using something with better sealing capabilities like Phenoseal should work.</p><p>I learned to use it as a &quot;dam&quot; around the top edges of cracks, so you can overfill and fair the filler down to grade after curing.</p><p>Squirt a healthy bead well outside the perimiter of the hole, slap your patch in place, plastic wrap and then a slice of Masonite works well, and jam that sucker tightly in place to create a liquid tight seal.</p><p>you'll want to make sure the caulk stays out of the hole so as not to blob up into the repair.</p><p>Have fun!</p>
<p>Good idea about the &quot;damming&quot; to top edges.. and I guess any caulking (bathroom, exterior etc) should be equivalent to Phenoseal right? </p>
<p>If you used some sort of mold around it, would this work to replace the shaved-off corner, too? Or would the fact that it only has a single surface to cling to stop it from working effectively?</p>
<p>If you're trying to replace a corner, the epoxy alone probably isn't going to have the durability you're looking for. You might try building a mold for the corner, then filling it with wood splints before you add the resin. Just an idea.</p>
<p>A paste of sawdust from the same wood will give an excellent match and sometimes the lack of grain is unnoticable,</p>
I was figuring the same thing.<br><br>I wasn't really planning on anything; I just noticed that the example block of wood is missing its corners and was wondering if this could take care of that too.
<p>Thanks for sharing. I'm a retired cabinet maker/antique restorer, and I have used this method to repair prized heirlooms. Your use of polythene and adhesive tape makes for a tidy operation.</p>
<p>Heh... I posted a reply to someone here 3 years ago... and all of a sudden I am getting emails about comments on it.<br><br>I think the original post and my reply and others has been removed, which is fine. :)<br>Really not interested in carrying on a 3 year old argument. :D<br><br>I still have this Instructable as a Favorite... ;)<br><br>The really fun thing to do in a situation like this is to use glow in the dark epoxy or Ultra Violet stuff. :)</p>
I can think of a few places I can use this already. Thanks. I wish the trolls would stay off this site.
<p>Trolls, why I rarely contribute projects any more</p>
<p>Neat result. I like the fusion of wood and plastic and being able to see the imperfections of the wood without the downsides. Has anyone used a piece of repaired wood like this with some lights behind for a cool effect?</p>
I have saved over $1,000 worth of wood. Most of it was a large, live edge, black walnut slab.By using a $30 quart of epoxy and still have 30% of that quart left.
<p>Beautiful. I've seen this done with wood using other colorants, then turned on a lathe. The results are nothing short of gorgeous. One of these days I want to try this (I'll add this to the list of my many other hobbies that need my attention!)...</p>
<p>By the by, if you have a small piece and can fit it under a device that will pull a vacuum, you can remove most air bubbles from the final product, and help the resin get into every nook and cranny.</p>
<p>Would you post pictures of sliced planks out of this block? What are the resin filled cavities looks like? Any exfoliation?</p>
So, you live with your grandmother? #lifegoals
No. That's why I called it my &quot;grandmother's kitchen&quot;, not &quot;my kitchen.&quot; And even if I did live with Grandmother, so what?
Some people just look for reasons to judge and condemn. Great instructable!
<p>Living with one's grandmother is a noble thing. Families should be the tightest-knit communities. If I didn't need to support myself, and she didn't live in another state, I'd go live with my 93 year old grandmother. She could really use the company.</p>
<p>And you made this leap of logic how?</p>

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