fixing a table top


When you moved into our house we purchased in a hurry furniture from an unfinished furniture place to fill in the gaps of what we had and did not have.
I have a bed table that is probably made from pine. I usually keep a glass of water on it and a few spills have happened but I'm not sure if that is the cause of the problem. The wood has begun to split and one of the glue seams started to separate.
The question is how to fix the cracks. My wife picked a maple stain for the tables. Right now the cracks are maybe big enough to wedge a sheet of paper or two into. Should I try to fill the cracks with something? What?
PS my wife still likes the cheap pine furniture so I dare not talk of replacing or building new....at least not yet.
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william kossack wrote:

Don't try to fix the cracks. Don't fill them with anything and don't pile on a thick finish as the finish will crack with the wood. Stain as you wish and apply one or two thin coats of satin or semi-gloss poly. Enjoy them as long as you can making mechanical repairs if needed.
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Hi William, Either the wood was not dry enough to start with or the seasonal drying that occurs this time of year is showing. The glass of water likely had little to do with causing the problem. Is the table made so that the top can shrink and expand with seasonal changes? Or is it fixed to an apron? If it's fixed you are screwed. If it were me and the top is allowed to float I would wait to see if the checking (cracks) get any larger before trying any remedial action. As to a fix, is the table already stained? JG
william kossack wrote:

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We stained the tables when we got them and then put maybe a coat or two of clear finish on top (that was 7 years ago).
We actually purchased two of these bed tables my wifes table has not cracked so she thinks it is my glasses of water
After we moved into the house I started my woodworking hobby and tool accumulation (what is woodworking without the tool accumulation).
I keep telling myself that if I had a jointer I could do the same or better on something made from hardwood instead of pine but first I need to see what is under the tree for me on the 25th.
JGS wrote:

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Another way to repair the table involves removing the top. If it isn't fastened with screws to accomodate expansion changes, you found the source of the splitting. Once removed, use a table saw with a thin blade to cut the split joint apart. Dress the joint with a sanding block and re-glue it. Remount the top with figure eight washers to allow the top to expand and contract without pulling the wood apart. Seal the joint/s with new finish. Bugs
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Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh nooooooooooooo.!!!! you did not... ;~)

IF you have a TS and can remove the top, cut down the crack into 2 pieces, reglue and refinish.
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If you can get to the underside of the table top you could try using the pocket hole screw method to bring the seams back together. Joe

What?
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Joe Roberts wrote:

That doesn't help the long term solution. Most likely the top was attached so that it couldn't expand and contract on it's own. If he doesn't fix that, it'll most likely just crack again.
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Typically the screws will strip out while inserting or shortly there after.
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a quick second look at the cracks
one crack between glued pieces forming the top
a series of cracks inside a plank forming the top possible diagonally crossing some of the grain but I'll need to look closer.
The cracks are actually near the center of the top. would cracks formed because of movement against the sides of the table be in the center or the ends?
As I said before this is before the woodworking hobby started. I had no tools and little money for nicer furniture and after all the other expense of buying a house and moving in we were glad to have something. The old furniture was a real collection of odds and ends and my wife wanted something that at least matched.
william kossack wrote:

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