Repairing Fractures in Wood

Hold wood over steam until flexible.
Smaller pieces may be placed in large pot with rack.
(You can use tuna cans with both ends removed.
Fill with water to just cover rack or cans.)
Steam wood until flexible.
Adjust fracture into desired place.
Glue, clamp or tie securely and allow to dry.
Use Elmer’s Wood Glue.
Open cracks to incorporate into natural design of wood.
Clean as deep as possible, file or sand edges smooth.
Can be opened further, maybe add curves if crack is straight.
Sometimes one lip can be made lower, the higher one rounded, giving a graceful look.
Closing small cracks.
Fill crack with bit of Elmer’s wood glue using dental tool or toothpick.
Sand over crack while glue is wet so dust can fill it.
Fine cracks can sometime be eliminated by hard burnishing or by rubbing in beeswax and melting with match. Remove any surface wax.
Patching Wood
Sawdust mixed with glue can fill large cracks.
Saved sawdust from same piece of wood is best.
Avoid grit in sawdust by using sawdust from power tools rather than sanding work.
Fine sawdust is best – flour like texture – use strainer or coffee grinder to reduce sawdust size.
Keep supply of sawdust in various shades for repairs.
Place a small amount of mixture on container top to show color when dry.

(Method: mix 1/3 glue to 2/3 sawdust to make stiff paste.
Moisten crack or hole with a little water to aid adhesion of glue.
With slightly wet fingers, wad paste and force into crack or hole.
Try not to leave any air pockets.
Scrape excess off and allow to dry.)

Shrinkage often occurs, just repeat process after first fill is totally dry.
After half hour, while paste is still pliable, grooves may be made to blend into rest of wood.
Prepare a sample paste and allow to dry to test final color.
To blend better, wood can be burned, stained or oiled.
Commercial Products
Wood putty, plastic wood etc. can be used as fill.
Any fill material must be able to absorb final finish.
The goal is that the patch is not discernible.
Weak Wood
Saving weak areas:
Before working weak areas you want saved, paint them with a. mixture of Elmer’s Wood Glue and enough water to make it runny enough to be absorbed into wood.
Hardening soft wood:
Repeated applications of Boiled Linseed oil or Watco oil and turpentine (80:20) will firm up soft wood during final cleaning stages and sanding.
Elmer’s Wood Glue and water can be painted over entire piece.
Benite can be used to penetrate and harden wood and then can be sanded – some have found wood treated with Benite tends to crack over time.
Minwax High Performance Wood Hardener is a quick drying liquid made to strengthen and reinforce decaying or softwood.
PC Wood Petrifier can be used as a last and final resort – turns wood to rock-like hardness and cannot be worked any further – must have all cleaning and sanding completed.

Lexie Bakewell 10/2009