Arresting End Checking with Epoxy

A few woodworkers report success at halting checks by filling cracks with epoxy. April 13, 2012

Question
We're usually a little better at checking for checking and cutting it off but here's where were at: 8/4 black walnut, 1.5" finished thickness, average 7" planks for 20" width, and planning on a conversion varnish finish. The wood is klin-dried and at 8% mc.

We have approximately ten checks in the end of two boards and all are very small. We've filled them with West Systems epoxy and are waiting for it to dry. The checks don't exist on the top or bottom surface - only visible on the end. Will the epoxy and finish keep these dogs from opening up or is this a battle we cannot win?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor D:
How about some little bow ties let in to the top with another wood like ebony? The epoxy may hold the ends but may not stop the check from going the other direction.



From the original questioner:
Bow ties aren't an option for this particular piece. Im looking for others that have done the same (epoxy only) and can comment on its effectiveness and long term results.


From contributor P:
I've filled small end checks the same way in the past, and never had them open any further. I usually mixed in some black powdered fresco color to make the epoxy look more like a grain feature in the walnut. Sam Maloof did the same thing, only using ebony dust for coloring.



From contributor G:
If it was the endgrain and you kept putting the epoxy on until the surface stays wet then you will have no problems. This will lock up the grain - period.


From the original questioner:
I was thinking this would work but we don't have any real-world experience with it (since we usually pay more attention and cut it off to begin with).