So I'm a bit of an novice woodworker who's taken a class only done one or two small projects from there. I recently bought a desk from a seller online and it arrived with a small crack in it. They offered to give me a partial refund to keep it or I could send it back for a full refund. My question is how (and how hard) would this be to repair and would it be worth my time and effort?

The desk is made out of South American Walnut and the crack itself is on the top of the desk surface, right in the front. The crack is very jagged when running my hand over it (though it is relatively small) and gives the feeling it could give me a splinter. If I were to repair it I would like to repair it so that it blends in relatively well and will be smooth (and structurally sound) when running my hand across. Based on my limited knowledge and research it seems like I would have to clean the crack out and then fill with epoxy? If true could I just sand that spot and add some finish or would I have to sand the whole top and refinish in order to get it to look right? And if not true...well that's why I'm here. All help is appreciated even if the advice is to just send it back.


Here are some pics: enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

  • Hi, welcome to Woodworking. As an experienced StackExchanger, did you try a search of the archives first? We have numerous previous questions about repairing cracks that would give insights into what you can/might do, depending on effort constraints and tool availability.
    – Graphus
    Feb 3, 2023 at 7:33
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    Anyway re. the option to repair or return for a full refund, I would suggest a return based on what we can see only in these photos. While this is lovely wood, the combination of boards is gross, how you combine boards is as important if not more important than the qualities of the wood you start with. Additionally, the finishing work is not great (we can see sanding residue and some resin in pores) and to top it all off the crack occurred at the site of a previous (poor) resin repair, in case you didn't spot it — this could even be the cause of the crack since glue lines... [contd].
    – Graphus
    Feb 3, 2023 at 7:47
  • ...are supposed to be actually stronger than the wood around them. So there's every indication here that this wasn't put together to a high standard, and further issues may crop up all on their own with the table in a domestic setting, e.g. because of it being generally dryer (this plays hell with a lot of imported tropical items), or due to the natural expansion and contraction cycle stressing what may be less-than-stellar glue joints between the boards of the top.
    – Graphus
    Feb 3, 2023 at 7:51
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    In general, if you've purchased a brand new item and it's defective, it's time to return it for exchange or refund (your choice, consider the advice above). Accepting it means the seller is still making profit (they ain't refunding you below their cost), and getting away with poor workmanship.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 3, 2023 at 19:26

1 Answer 1


To my eye this does not look like damage that occurred during shipping. The crack is exposed on the bottom face and the edge. On the edge, the crack has been filled, probably with the finish coat, while the bottom has an exposed, unfilled crack line. I cannot figure out how the crack is filled on the edge, but not the bottom without the person building it not being aware of it.

I have tried to repair such a crack myself, but never with satisfactory results. You can fill the opening with epoxy or some other filler, but it will always be visible. Granted, it is on the bottom face, but I would know it's there and that is not acceptable to me. after filling, it would have to be sanded flush across the piece and it might not be possible to apply finish seamlessly without sanding down and applying it to the entire face and edge. This may not be satisfactory to you considering the crack line may still be visible.

The only way to fix it invisibly is to cut off and replace the damaged board width. This will probably require removing and refinishing the entire top. Since the seller offers you a complete refund, I would suggest you take it.

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