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Thread: Stablizing a Walnut Knot

  1. #1
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    Stablizing a Walnut Knot

    The wife has me building a step back hutch for the dining room. I'm using walnut for the 20"x48" top. This knot is pretty much centered in the rough layout. I could replace this board but she says the knot adds "character." So any suggestions on how to stabilize/fill this knot?
    walnut knot.jpg

  2. #2
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    Julian, That's a fairly large void but I've used epoxy in smaller knots. Add some dye to the epoxy when you mix it to get whatever color you want. For a void that large it may take a couple of layers of epoxy.

    I gotten by just using 2 part epoxy in a double-syringe applicator from the local hardwood store. Others swear by West Systems epoxies, but they come in larger quantities making them fairly expensive for a single project.

    My process is to carefully tape around the area to minimize the chance of any spills. I drip in the epoxy off the end of a nail. Then if the epoxy stands proud (you want it a little above the surface of the wood) I may trim the epoxy flush with a single edged razor after it partially sets but before it is fully hardened. The timing of using the razor is semi-important, if you go to early or the blade isn't new you can potentially pull out some of the epoxy. Trimming with a razor reduces the amount of sanding.

    If you search this site for epoxy you will find a bunch of recommendations and workflows.
    Mark McFarlane

  3. #3
    What Mark said with a couple additions.

    1.I would make some wedges out of walnut to drive into the knot to fill the bulk of it

    2. Put a couple coats of finish on before epoxy.

  4. #4
    When filling a void like that it is a good idea to seal the void with epoxy and let it partially set up before you do the main pour. This prevents air in the wood from escaping and causing bubbles in the main pour. You can also use a propane torch or heat gun to eliminate bubbles after the main pour. Dozens of videos on Youtube.

  5. #5
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    I use resin dyed to a dark color that approximates the color of the knot.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #6
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    I’ll run contrary here, I dislike the epoxy fill personally, rather I would cut a round mortise and plug with a patch.

    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for sharing that Brian. Thatís a neat alternative.

  8. #8
    You can make your own wood filler from sawdust and white wood glue. It will match more closely than epoxy.

  9. #9
    Fill it with colored epoxy.

  10. #10
    I think the epoxy method is preferred if you want the repair to blend in. If you are going to the trouble of patching it with a plug, I would make it a feature rather than trying to make it blend in.

    20180729_144231.jpg20180729_144220.jpg

  11. #11
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    All I got to say is if I filled in a knot like that in something I made for the wife, I would be sleeping in the shop trying to keep her from selling all my tools.
    THERE will be at least one, preferably more knots visible in every piece I build for her.
    Everyone who looks at HER furniture looks for and admires the knots. They all claim it is real wood then not fake junk.
    I don't care as long as she is happy then I get to buy more tools.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Garson View Post
    I think the epoxy method is preferred if you want the repair to blend in. If you are going to the trouble of patching it with a plug, I would make it a feature rather than trying to make it blend in.

    20180729_144231.jpg20180729_144220.jpg
    Awesome. Those are fun.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  13. #13
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    I actually have used the plug method for one recent project...my kitchen table. The knot was completely missing. So I made a new one out of purple heart on the CNC. It was glued in with black epoxy, so it has a faint black line all the way around it. I decided it would be a feature rather than try to hide it. All the rest of the defects got dark brown resin.





    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  14. #14
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    Wow, fellows a lot of good techniques and ideals suggested here. I've worked with walnut on previous projects but always was able to "avoid" including open knots in the finished piece. I'll have to sift through these suggestions, thanks for the all the good input.

  15. #15
    One last suggestion, if you try the epoxy fill and don't like it, you can go to the plug alternative. On the other hand if you try the plug first and don't like it you can't consider the epoxy fill approach.

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