I'm building a table with the walnut top shown below. (Sorry for the blurry photos).

I think I should fill this 8" long crack. I need to decide how. I'm considering cleaning up the edges and cutting/carving a piece to insert and sand down. Probably something a little darker. Another possibility is a filler - I've read elsewhere on this site about wood dust mixed into glue.

I'll treat the small crack at the lower right similarly.

My question(s):

  • What if I just leave it as is?
  • If filler, how do I make "wood dust" and what glue (I have titebond on hand)?
  • Any other suggestions?

Edit (since many people look at this question)

Here's the table finished. The filled crack runs behind the orange model (which is a sequence of slices of a tesseract). I used 30 minute epoxy and sawdust from the same wood.

enter image description here enter image description here

enter image description here

  • Hi welcome to SE. Just so you know straight away, there's a chance that these cracks will continue to grow and that others may begin to open up (top pic, bottom-left corner seems to show the beginnings of some checks). Some rounds just want to split and even very careful control of the initial drying conditions isn't able to prevent it. On the rest, the internal search here works really well, we have multiple previous Q&As on filling and dealing with cracks for you to look at.
    – Graphus
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 6:55
  • Never mind the centre! it looks like you are going to get some radial checking at the edge. I don't know if there are previous questions about this, but the first step is to see if there is any Q&A about "live edge" (which this is just a variation of). (Edit: check out woodworking.stackexchange.com/search?q=live+edge for sure.)
    – user5572
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 14:39
  • Thanks for providing the "finished" picture. Since you went to the trouble, would you pull the decorations off so we can see the actual results of the fill, since that's what the question was about? I get that you're proud of your 3D printed toys, too, so maybe just put them at the periphery of the picture?? :D
    – FreeMan
    Commented May 17, 2021 at 18:07

2 Answers 2


Welcome Ethan.

Where splits are linear, I would consider a butterfly or other brace, but when the split is around circular grain, I'm sure it's usable. Worth a try, I suppose. A "butterfly" is a separate piece of wood that crosses the split, glued into a slot you've chiseled into the host. It is an advanced technique, I would say, but if you're up to it, they do lend a certain beauty in my eye.

Otherwise, I would consider one of three epoxy based fills: clear, wood dust as you suggest, or if you're brave, some color contrast. In turned products, many will mix epoxy with metal dust, color such as the primaries red, blue, yellow. Regardless, most epoxies (do your homework) will not only adhere to the wood, but flex a bit with the change in humidity. I have some clear patches in bowls that have been amazing at following the movement in the wood. It was just the 5 min two part you can get at your local big box lumber store.

  • Thanks. If wood dust I was imagining color contrast - something darker. Light, or color, would call too much attention to itself. A butterfly is a little above my pay grade at the moment, but I know I could do one carefully after enough practice on scraps I have. Commented Apr 18, 2019 at 21:17

Another word for the butterfly joint is a Dutchman. Looking this up may give you more examples of how to use it. Here you are creating bigger hole to match a small piece of wood that is a size of your choice. An elegant solution all around.

  • Hi Elliot, welcome to SE. A butterfly key and a Dutchmen are actually not the same thing, see previous Answer.
    – Graphus
    Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 19:52

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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