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    Chris Bunney

    Hi all,

    I recently completed the “Occasional Table” project. It took me AGES and I was quite pleased with the result. I bought that table into the house from my workshop and it looked great.

    However, to my horror and despair, a split suddenly appeared down the middle of the table! The table top is made of two edge jointed boards. I think what has happened is that the top has shrunk slightly in the warmer house (my workshop is cold and probably higher humidiy). Unfortunately, because the bread-board end doesn’t shrink in the same direction it has caused the boards to part at the breadboard end. 🙁

    Is there anything I can do to fix this? I’ve tried applying pressure with clamps, but the tenons mean that it is really solid. I am quite surprised that the glue line managed to part in the table top….

    Pictures below. Very disappointed….. 🙁

    P.S. I know my breadboard end has grain that doesn’t really match the table, but I messed up the first one and had to use an offcut of sapele from a different board to do it again!





    Chris - Exeter, UK

    Charles Cleland

    How long had the wood acclimated to your shop?

    Washington State, USA
    My own humble blog:

    Chris Bunney

    Charles: several months. Humidity is probably different in there though.

    Chris - Exeter, UK

    Troy T.

    I think it looks great, if you can get the split fixed.

    Greg Merritt

    What glue did you use? If it was liquid or hot hide glue you could use heat and moisture to take it back apart and repair it. If you used PVA glue it’s gonna’ be a little bit harder to fix.

    I think your best bet would be to start removing the breadboard end. Same basic process as when you cut the original tenon. Once all of the breadboard is removed, repair the panel and fabricate a new breadboard end. I would leave all the repaired and new parts in the house for a while before reassembling the top. That should let the parts acclimate to their intended environment.

    The table looks great otherwise. I wish you the best of luck on the repair. Keep us posted.


    David Perrott

    Could you clamp the table top as is? Taking it apart is probably very hard.


    I think what has happened is that the top has shrunk slightly in the warmer house (my workshop is cold and probably higher humidiy). Unfortunately, because the bread-board end doesn’t shrink in the same direction it has caused the boards to part at the breadboard end. 🙁
    I think you are right in your explanation.
    When I saw Paul gluing the table top in the video I was quite concerned, as it is a long extension with grain on opposite directions (tabletop x BBEnd). I suppose BBEnds should work without glue in order to allow expansion and contraction of the table in relation to the end.
    Maybe Paul may clarify that.
    Best wishes,


    If it were my table, I would make a slightly tapered slip the shape of the gap, then carefully tap it into place and glue it. Sort of similar to the strips people sometimes use to fill gaps between floorboards. You would have to be extremely careful to avoid forcing the crack further open: I might clamp the end opposite the breadboard to help prevent that from happening.

    Done sensitively I think the result could be next to invisible on the top, though you’d still see the crack underneath of course.

    The other option basically amounts to making the top again, which would be sch a shame because apart from the split your work cannot be faulted.

    I quite like the non-matching grain pattern; if there were two breadboard ends and they didn’t match each other it would be a different matter. With one piece running cross-grain it was always going to draw attention to itself, so I think you get away with it.

    Good luck,


    Southampton, UK

    Chris Bunney

    Hi Greg,

    I used PVA, which is why I am a bit surprised it managed to split down the edge joint (never had a glue joint split like that before).

    I was hoping for a less destruvtive solution than cutting away the breadboard, but I think it might be the only way!

    Im a bit shocked how much the table top has shrunk….


    Chris - Exeter, UK

    Chris Bunney

    I think you are right, Ricardo. The BBE certainly works to stop the tabletop from warping, but it doesn’t allow for any movement of the top due to shrinking…

    Like you, I would be very interested to hear what Paul has to say about this. I’m going to one of his workshops in February, so I will ask him! 🙂

    Chris - Exeter, UK

    Chris Bunney

    Hi Matt,

    That’s a good idea (using tapered slips) – I might try that! I’ve already made the breadboard end twice after making a mess of the first one, so I am reticent to make a 3rd one (although its good practice, I suppose!)

    Thanks for the kind comments.


    Chris - Exeter, UK

    Chris Bunney

    @dperrott: I tried clamping it – it won’t budge! The BBE resists all the pressure as it is being applied along the long-grain….

    I was hoping that would work for a quick fix!

    Chris - Exeter, UK


    Since you used PVA glue, you will destroy the top trying to get it apart. Another good reason to use liquid hide glue. So I am thinking along Matt’s lines of trying to embrace the split.

    Another couple options to Matt’s is to leave the split and make a decorative butterfly inlay centered over the split. This should lock the pieces from moving any more or use a router to cut a V or a recessed flat and then insert a thin strip inlay the full length.

    Keep us posted on your decision and results. It is a beautiful table by the way….

    Located in Honeoye Falls NY USA. The Finger Lakes region of Western NY.

    "If you give me 6 hours to fell a tree, I will take the first 4 to sharpen my axe" Abe Lincoln


    Please let us know the result.
    Meanwhile, I would suggest to people making the table to NOT glue the B.B.End to to top.


    I think that the method Matthew has suggested is the one used by restorers (sometimes they use special plaster too). I personally would do the same.

    P.S. Your table is really wonderful!

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