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FAO restorers. HELP!!!

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Anonymous

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The other day I was in the lounge and heard a LOUD bang from the dining room. Nipped in to find our lovely table split right-down-the-middle :shock: :shock:

I contacted the retailer but no joy so far.

The table ismade form some sort of African Teak and the split is about 3mm wide at the worst point

How can I fix it without the cracks being too evident? I am concerned about future movement and colour matching. I bought the table unfinished and gave it a couple of coats of wax

The cracks are a lot worse than they appear in these photos :cry:







 

Midnight

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Tony.. do the cracks go all the way through??

<thinking it might be through not finishing both faces equally...
 

trevtheturner

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That's horrific!

Don't know how long you have had the table, Tony, but if reasonably recent you could well have a claim against you supplier if he won't play ball. I say this on the basis that your supplier sold it to you as 'fit for purpose' and 'fit for purpose' includes that it must be of reasonable durability. Was it supplied conditionally, i.e. small print? For instance, how it should be treated, sited, finished or not? Might this have been caused by direct sunlight?

I would certainly be looking to find the best way to repair it but, in the meantime, I would be wary of actually attempting any repair until the question of your contract with your supplier has been resolved, if a fairly recent purchase.

Cheers,

Trev.
 

Melville

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Tony, correct me if i am wrong but looking at the third photo, the end grain appears to be laid the same way instead of alternate.

The boards should be laid with end grain alternate so as to counteract any movement, if they are not you should have a clear case for compensation.
 

Noel

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Sadly I suspect you'll have a hard time getting any satisfaction from the vendor. Central heating, finish, useage etc will be their defence and there'll not be alot you can do about it. But, still worth a try of course. How long have you had it? Can't see the pictures but presume it's bad going by the description of the noise.
 

Chris Knight

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Tony,

That is rotten luck indeed. It is however an absolutely classic form of failure and I think our Restorers could definitely help - try PM'ing Norm.
 

johnelliott

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There's two issues here, one is a consumer issue- will the retailer take responsibility and replace the table? (I don't think we want the retailer doing a repair, goodness knows what form that would take). Second issue, if it's going to be repaired what is the best way to tackle it.

Obviously the first issue is between Tony and his retailer, so I will only tackle the second

I doubt the wood in this table has ever seen the inside of a kiln, and neither will have the wood in a replacement table, so some kind of wood movement was always going to happen. Finish is of little importance as it will only slow down the change in M/C rather than prevent it
My approach here would be to fill the crack, mainly to prevent crumbs etc from falling into the crack. If the crack was in a vertical surface I would probably leave it, cracks are a natural phenomenen in wood of this sort.
In filling the crack I would avoid trying to hide it, I would go the other way and make a feature of it.
First, make sure there is plenty of wax either side of the crack but NOT in it.
Mix some slow setting Araldite with some dark material (I used to use rosewood dust for this), and use a hair dryer to warm it until it went clear and runny, then pour it into the crack. I would then use the hair dryer to warm it again until all the air in the crack was driven out.
The preferred result here is a fill to slightly above the surrounding woodwork.
The next bit is tricky, try to catch the resin when it has started to gel after a few hours( a cheesy consistency) and use a sharp blade to pare it nearly level.
When it has set hard, overnight usually, then abrade it level with the wood, finish with 240, maybe 320 wet and dry. Some wax will make it look good

John
 

mahking51

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Tony
I second JE here; make a feature of what you cannot hide!
I have used various resins, some coloured or with metallic fillers to fill large imperfections in various timbers. The comments have nearly always been positive re the look of the article in question.

A small pointer: I have nearly always used an old bucket on end with a piece of pipe in the bottom to which I attach a vacuum cleaner just after I pour the resin. This small negative pressure gets rid of any air bubbles quickly. I realise this might not be big enough to cover your crack but I'm sure you get my drift.
Good luck with your drama
Regards
martin
 

Chris Knight

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Good restoration can be expensive and people are often aghast to find out that it costs more than the item did originally. That said, I reckon, that if one were looking for a professional restoration job, the answer would not be filling the cracks but sawing them out (or running a router bit through the cracks) and rejoining the board, possibly with matching wood to retain the total width.

Having seen your workmanship Tony, I reckon this is something you could do.

Plainly an expensive option and one that depends on being able to remove the top.
 

Adam

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Tony,

How is the tabletop fixed underneath? Perhaps the screw holes are not elongated to allow for movement in the width of the top?

Adam
 

Alf

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Adam":2brfw7g4 said:
How is the tabletop fixed underneath?
Took the words right off my keyboard, Adam. I would guess the thing's been screwed to a least a couple of battens/top stretchers(?) with no allowance for wood movement. If you don't sort that out, even if you fix it (and I'd tend towards Chris' option there), it's going to do it again. Tsk. Should have done the job proper and made it yourself, Tony... :wink: But commiserations, all the same. :(

Cheers, Alf
 
A

Anonymous

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Midnight":q7wsysq7 said:
Tony.. do the cracks go all the way through??

<thinking it might be through not finishing both faces equally...
Yes indeed. My kids seem to enjoy going undeneath the table and pointing this out to me :twisted:

I'll look at the table tonight to answer other questions

I wish I had made it myself, I wanted to - mrs T thought that at present rates of work we would be waiting about 20 years for me to make it though :oops:

I have considered John's idea but the crack is not actually a singlre continuous one, more a load of seperate cracks next to each otehr.
 

Aragorn

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Adam... Alf... Great minds :D Just what I was thinking too!
Although I reckon it's probably a bit of this and a bit of what John wrote, i.e. the wood was never acclimatised.

Tony, don't know if you should hold out hope based on this, but I had an exotic piece of wood crack open like this, BIG crack. Within a few months it had closed up again all on its own, and never a problem thereafter :?


Melville":2dp526le said:
The boards should be laid with end grain alternate so as to counteract any movement, if they are not you should have a clear case for compensation.
Sorry to contradict you there Melville, but the alternating grain is only to help keep it flat. It doesn't affect restriction of movement.
 

tim

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Tony

That is properly dull. I would give the retailer a pretty hard time because that is unacceptable from a 'fit for purpose' perspective.

The danger here is that we all know about wood and can offer solutions to resolve the problem but I think your and our abilities are irrelevant here.

Simply put, you bought a table for normal domestic use in a domestic environment. Its role is to serve two purposes - to act as a raised flat surface ie functional and to be nice to look at ie aesthetically pleasing. It has failed on at least one of those counts.

If you weren't a woodworker, there is a possibility that you might have bought this piece from a maker eg Aragorn, JohnE, Jason, me etc. I don't think any of us would be surprised if you tried to make this sort of thing our problem to fix and I imagine that while some questions would be asked to establish normal usage etc it would inevitably fall to either a construction error or lack of luck for the maker in choice of timber and therefore down to him to repair. I don't think your case should be any different and I would have at them with gusto.

Its clear that this isn't 'serve a purpose and dispose' furniture like so much stuff now seems to be, so I really don't see why there should be a time restriction on this type of product.

Hope you get this sorted to your satisfaction

Cheers

Tim
 

The Restorer

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Tony,

As has been suggested one of the most likely problems is that the table top is fixed rigidly to the frame with no room for the top to expand and contract. The fact that it's in next to those patio doors (are they south facing?) and maybe getting a lot of sun (we wish!) on the top probably won't help.
Look at sorting out the expansion before setting about repairing the splits (they'll only reappear if you don't). You will probably find that by putting a couple of sash clamps across the table (at least one underneath to keep it flat) that you can close up the splits completely (don't forget to pad the sash clamps against the table edge or they'll mark it!). If you can do this then it's a simple matter of slackening them off again and getting some glue into the split and re-clamping. As long as you and the kids haven't fiddled with the edges of the split too much it should go back fine.

Waterhead - the reason that restoration is often (not so sure of that!) more expensive than the original purchase price is down to modern furniture being mainly produced abroad with cheap labour rates compared to the restorer who charges at british labour rates. It's a bit like comparing bespoke furniture made in the UK to something from Ikea, after all it's still a table!. You should also look at antique furniture (the restorers main line) where good restoration can significantly increase the value of a piece.

Anything further that i can be of help with, please mail again.

Res (now getting down of the soap box and going for a nice cup of tea!!
 
A

Anonymous

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Thanks to all

I sort of like the Restorer's solution best as it should prevent a recurrence of the problem. Although Aragorns has a very nice ring to it - leave it to repair itslef :D

I just checked and the edges of the frame are infact glued to the top preventing movement. The supports in the middle are screwed but no elongation in the holes.

I will try the retailer one more time as Tim and others suggested and failing any joy from him, I will somehow detach the frame from the top and clamp it

The underside of the table top is quite interesting as the boards are tied together with a piece of wood that resembles an egg timer (or rather like Dave's bow ties :lol: ) about 1" wide which tie the boards together at the joint. looks like a lot of work went into this

PS well spotted restorer, the garden and patio doors are exactly south facing - good for growing my veg :)
 

tim

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I would have thought that with the top glued to the apron and the boards held together by dovetail infils then the split in your table is almost certainly inevitable. The only place that is going to be able to expand and contract is the middle of each board - Net result a series of splits down the centre of the boards.


This is a design and construction flaw and as such you should at least be able to recoup some money form the manufacturer.

Cheers

Tim
 

johnelliott

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I'm going to go against the majority view here, and say that in my opinion those splits would have occured anyway, glued to a frame or not. I believe that the wood has not been properly kiln dried, nor any kind of kiln dried for that matter.
John
 

mudman

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Tony,

If you bought the table on a credit card, then don't foget that if you get no joy from the retailer, that you can put a claim into the credit card company.

And don't forget, the next time Mrs. Tony mutters about how long it'll take you to make something, that you need to remind her about the split table. :wink:
 
A

Anonymous

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An update:

An new table was delivered today FOC. Many phone calls and visits to the shop, but all is well in the end.

Just need to separate the table top from the apron on this one before I get more shrinkage and thus am back where i started
 
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