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Finishing Black Walnut with Cracks (Read 281 times)
 
Joe Penn
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Finishing Black Walnut with Cracks
Jan 15th, 2017 at 6:57pm
 


I have a piece of black walnut Iíve turn to a 9X5 bowl. I think itís dry and Iíll know in the next day or two because I weighed it and Iíll weigh it again soon.  Itís a nice looking piece of wood, but it has a number of small, almost hairline cracks. The cracks go deep in some places and I donít think sanding is going to make them go away.

What can I do with the cracks? Leave them? Fill them with dust and glue? I know coffee, and I guess CA glue, is supposed to be a filler, but I donít know if it would work because the cracks are so fine. They are obvious, but small. If I fill them with something they will still be obvious.

Suggestions?
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Don Stephan
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Re: Finishing Black Walnut with Cracks
Reply #1 - Jan 15th, 2017 at 7:40pm
 
Weighing to the nearest gram every 7 days is a method that has worked for me.

Can you tell us more about the history of the cracks?  Was the bowl turned green and then allowed to dry?  How long ago and under what circumstances were the cracks first noticed?

CA seems to stain the surface of the surrounding wood but used with walnut sanding dust it seems to fill cracks successfully.  Often I will tightly box in a crack or hole with blue tape and fill with two part clear epoxy tinted dark brown or black with powdered pigment.  Doesn't seem to require as much sanding of surrounding wood as with CA.
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Joe Penn
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Re: Finishing Black Walnut with Cracks
Reply #2 - Jan 15th, 2017 at 8:32pm
 
Don Stephan wrote on Jan 15th, 2017 at 7:40pm:
Weighing to the nearest gram every 7 days is a method that has worked for me.

Can you tell us more about the history of the cracks?† Was the bowl turned green and then allowed to dry?† How long ago and under what circumstances were the cracks first noticed?

CA seems to stain the surface of the surrounding wood but used with walnut sanding dust it seems to fill cracks successfully.† Often I will tightly box in a crack or hole with blue tape and fill with two part clear epoxy tinted dark brown or black with powdered pigment.† Doesn't seem to require as much sanding of surrounding wood as with CA.


It was a slab of black walnut I've had on the shelf for awhile. I started shaping the bowl yesterday and noticed the cracks. Today I shaped it some more and started removing wood on the inside.

I did weigh the bowl on a gram scale.
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Ed Weber
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Re: Finishing Black Walnut with Cracks
Reply #3 - Jan 15th, 2017 at 9:14pm
 
A photo would help but in general, I look at it like this. You can either try to hide them (blend them in) or embellish them. This all depends on the piece and the location/size of the cracks.
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Don Stephan
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Re: Finishing Black Walnut with Cracks
Reply #4 - Jan 16th, 2017 at 2:28pm
 
As I'm turning green wood for once-turned bowls, I want to glue on the lathe any cracks as soon as they appear, so I use CA.  If your wood is dry the cracks likely already were present to some degree.  It is still possible though that the moisture content inside the slab is higher than it was on the surface, so some drying could still occur.  If it were my bowl I would glue with thin CA if hairline.  If wider than a hairline I work black walnut sawdust into the crack to fill it, and then apply CA.  It can be helpful to experiment on a piece of scrap wood, making a thin knife cut if necessary, or making a split and clamping with a bit of fine debris inside to make a thin open crack.
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