I’m building a counter top and I had to join two pieces of boards with some glue in between. The countertop looks pretty okay, but the joint is very obvious and when I clean it with a bit a water, it jumps straight in your eyes. I’m planning to add epoxy on it, which will make it very obvious. The wood has some pattern therefore it is a bit hard to make it fit, so I added a filler, but this did not solve the problem. I’m thinking that it might be useful to artificially add a know there, since that’s the pattern, but I don’t know how to do that or even if it is a good idea. I really need some advice to solve this.

Here is how the joint looks, with the patterns around enter image description here

enter image description here

  • 1
    I'm sorry but really there's nothing you can do here to hide this. A join like this should never normally be used in a high-visibility area, it pretty much is as simple as that, but if you do have no choice the goal should be for the joint to be invisibly thin, or as close to this as can be managed.
    – Graphus
    Jul 5, 2020 at 7:55
  • The ideal way to do this I think would be to basically make a very large finger or box joint, so the straight end grain | end grain joins are at least staggered.
    – Graphus
    Jul 5, 2020 at 7:57
  • 3
    It looks like you've made a counter top and that this thinner, 3-baord wide piece is part of a cutout that spans a gap below. Unless you've moved the piece to take the picture, that spot where 3 butt joints are lined up in a row are a failure waiting to happen. Just like bricks in a wall, joint lines like that should always be staggered to improve strength. Once a crack starts in one of those butt joints, there's nothing to stop that crack from spreading straight across these 3 pieces until it completely falls apart.
    – FreeMan
    Jul 6, 2020 at 11:55
  • This question doesn't mention dimensions, which will be key in assisting you. You can edit a question at any time and put in those dimensions.
    – jdv
    Jul 7, 2020 at 13:58

2 Answers 2


A butt joint is is not very strong and is likely to break if any wood movement occurs. There are many other ways to handle joints like this that will improve their integrity and diminish their appearance.

  1. The simple butt joint such as in your photo could be improved first by making sure that the pieces meet square throughout the cross section or better yet, providing a slight bevel with the pieces being longer on the top and a 32nd less long at the bottom. If the pieces are forced together the top grain will fully meet.
  2. Better yet the connection should have a lap joint such that the two sides are held by a fully glued lap of 1" or more. IF properly prepared with square corners the two pieces can be finessed to fully contact.
  3. The individual boards do not have to meet in one line. IF you stagger the pieces the joint appearance will not be as obvious. Think of wood flooring.
  4. You can emphasize the joint by providing a contrasting wood piece at the intersection running perpendicular to the counter top. While wood expands and contracts differently in width and length the overall joint length is too small to be a problem. Making a contrasting wood as a design feature may require you to make more than one such joint to provide some design symmetry. Such a feature piece would have a spline connection to the end grain pieces on both sides.
  • Your first bullet point is suggesting a scarf joint I think? Maybe let's have that word in your answer so it can be found while searching!
    – jdv
    Jul 6, 2020 at 19:57
  • @jdv No, I actually had not thought of a scarf joint when I wrote the answer. I assume he has a butt joint and cannot get the boards to close the gap because they are possibly beveling in the wrong direction resulting in a gap. A scarf joint might be good idea to draw the pieces together, but the overall thickness only appears to be 3/4" +/- so a scarf would be difficult. Nice thought though.
    – Ashlar
    Jul 6, 2020 at 20:56
  • A keyed, ribbed scarf joint with fish plates underneath would be strong enough for anything. A 3/4inch scarf joint should be doable with machine tools, no?
    – jdv
    Jul 7, 2020 at 13:57

Thank you all for your advice. It was very helpful to think about it, especially because I’m planning to do one more. To answer some questions, I have added two pieces of wood that go under the joint and at the end of the counter top, so it became a sturdy one-piece counter top. The board is 5/8” thick. In addition to this, I have a screw under (15 degrees angle) that keeps them connected. I should keep it there for many years to come.

Anyhow, I was inspired by the previous answer regarding adding a different material to compensate, so I thought that I can take advantage of the pattern. For this reason, I carved some shapes along the joint (1/8” depth) and added some dark bark in the joint direction. I fixed the bark with some glue in the middle of the hole and then I added wood filler around. I then took a soldering iron and burnt some non-uniform shapes to look like the knot extends in all directions and it looks way better now. With epoxy on it (not sanded yet), looks like this: enter image description here

Thanks again for all the help.

  • 1
    That's an outstanding use of the way the wood looks. It wouldn't work for wood with a more regular grain and no knots, but it does splendidly here. Jul 13, 2020 at 13:06
  • That's a pretty excellent cosmetic hide, well done.
    – Graphus
    Jul 13, 2020 at 15:36
  • @WhatRoughBeast that is absolutely true. I guess the only way would be to make a mirrored cut, so that it looks symmetrical, but that would be a stretch, I would guess. Jul 13, 2020 at 15:41
  • @Graphus thank you and thanks for your comments on this. They always contribute to a final idea Jul 13, 2020 at 15:43
  • 1
    Wow! I had to scroll back and forth several times to realize that's actually the same piece! Excellent job of disguising the joint!. No, that's a fantastic job of disguising that joint! Well done!!
    – FreeMan
    Jul 13, 2020 at 18:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.