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crack in lace wood

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  • crack in lace wood

    I am building a wooden box for a co worker, the top and bottom is lace wood and the sides are quarter sawn sycamore. This box is about 12"x 17" x 5", It looks like a very smalll suit case or a brief case. I planed all the wood to about 9/16". The person I am making the box for had the top laser engraved with a fancy design. The box was with the customer for a couple weeks. I now have the box back. I see there are a few cracks in the lace wood lid, none in the bottom yet. The crack seems to follow the curve of the grain. I was very surprised to see this and very disappointed. I wonder if the laser engraving had anything to do with this? And is there anyway to fill the crack with? One problem is it will be hard to sand, (but maybe not impossible) the crack being close to the engraved design. What to fill the crack with? Would super glue work? The crack may be too narrow for sawdust. Thanks for any help. I will try and post pictures if the wife will help me.

  • #2
    Very sorry about the problem. I sure would check with the one that did the laser. A laser can be very hot and if any moisture it could crack. Depending on the design, it could vary the results in the wood.
    ♥♥ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♥♥

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    • #3
      Thin CA would be my approach. I would be surprised if the Laser engraving did this, yes it is very hot but it is instant. The moisture in the cells will vaporize but being that the crack is tracking along the grain makes me suspect it was there to begin with. You have introduced lots of stress with the planing etc.
      Could you post a picture for us to see what is going on.
      Rolf
      RBI G4 Hawk, Delta SS350, Nova 1624 DVR XP
      Philosophy "I don't know that I can't, therefore I can"
      Proud Member of the Long Island Woodworkers Club
      And the Long Island Scrollsaw Association

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      • #4
        I have zero experience with the laser engraving, I would not think the laser caused the crack, maybe being clamped down too tight. The wood should have been good and dry and not under stress (besides maybe clamping for engraving), I wonder if temperature extremes may have help cause cracking, Oh well, an old time wood worker friend of mind says that is the nature of wood.
        A girl from work had a dining room table made, I think of hickory and it split down the middle made loud noise while splitting. It will have to be repaired or replaced. I would think hickory would not be a good choice.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by dwssr2 View Post
          I have zero experience with the laser engraving, I would not think the laser caused the crack, maybe being clamped down too tight. The wood should have been good and dry and not under stress (besides maybe clamping for engraving), I wonder if temperature extremes may have help cause cracking, Oh well, an old time wood worker friend of mind says that is the nature of wood.
          A girl from work had a dining room table made, I think of hickory and it split down the middle made loud noise while splitting. It will have to be repaired or replaced. I would think hickory would not be a good choice.
          I made an oak table for a friend about 40 years ago and about 6 months after giving it to him, it did the same thing. Loud noise while splitting. It was through the making of this table that I learned that wood moves! It was through this that I also learned about joinery, what works and what doesn't; why wood cracks on some and not on others. Expansion and contraction with humidity changes which results in cracks. Heat and cold contribute but primarily it is humidity swings combined with the inability for contraction/expansion. For me on the table, I had the oak boards glued together and then screwed into the frame work. Didn't work because I didn't allow for expansion and contraction.

          On smaller pieces, it is not usually a major problem. Veneer does not expand and contract like solid wood does. This is why plywood is usually stable - very thin layers crossed will not expand/contract like larger and or thicker pieces do. There are exceptions though. In pen making, some cross cut blanks such as oak, walnut will expand much more side to side than lengthwise. No matter how you finish it, humidity will force it to move unless the crosscut blanks are stabilized with a stabilizer liquid that solidifies.

          As to the box lid, my first thoughts were: What did they have in it? Does it have a handle on it? If it does, the weight would have caused it. If no handle, then it is the wood itself.

          One clue that I see: the crack followed the grain. Cause: pressure; expansion/contraction from humidity swings; dropping or placing something heavy on top; leaving in the car with windows rolled up and sun shining on it. Were/are there latches that hold it closed? Is there a backing on the lacewood that it is glued to?
          Cracks following the grain usually lead the cause to be from stress from one of the above and usually in a more natural environmental cause, not from dropping or weight on it, but these latter ones can.
          Hank Lee
          Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted.

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          • #6
            Thank you for sharing your experience with cracking. We can all learn from what you've seen as well as the suggestions offered.
            Linda at www.ArtIngrained.com

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            • #7
              Hank you bring up some interesting points.
              Rolf
              RBI G4 Hawk, Delta SS350, Nova 1624 DVR XP
              Philosophy "I don't know that I can't, therefore I can"
              Proud Member of the Long Island Woodworkers Club
              And the Long Island Scrollsaw Association

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              • #8
                image_73103.jpgbox3.JPG
                Photos of the box showing the cracks
                box2.JPG
                Last edited by dwssr2; 02-09-2018, 05:52 PM.

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                • #9
                  Thanks for the pictures. In my opinion the laser work did not do this. I think the crack was there before and only surfaced as the wood moisture changed. Not sure what could be done fix it. What a shame it is a stunning piece. Does the crack go all the way through?
                  Rolf
                  RBI G4 Hawk, Delta SS350, Nova 1624 DVR XP
                  Philosophy "I don't know that I can't, therefore I can"
                  Proud Member of the Long Island Woodworkers Club
                  And the Long Island Scrollsaw Association

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I tend to agree with Rolf. Does the crack go all the way through the piece? From the picture, this looks like a surface check, which can occur when the wood has been dried improperly. Some cracks in wood occur as the tree is growing, due to environmental stresses. Sometimes these don't become obvious until too late.
                    Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter. Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

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                    • #11
                      The one thought I have is to mix a bunch of the Lace wood dust and mix with clue then fill the crack with it. In the past I have just rubbed the dust into the crack and the put a coat or two of finish over it without using glue. The crack should pretty much disappear.
                      Rolf
                      RBI G4 Hawk, Delta SS350, Nova 1624 DVR XP
                      Philosophy "I don't know that I can't, therefore I can"
                      Proud Member of the Long Island Woodworkers Club
                      And the Long Island Scrollsaw Association

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Still working on this project, I was hoping to have it done for Valentines day this year, only one year late. Some of the hold up is on the part of the customer, waiting for them to get hardware. I have the crack fixed, with super glue and sawdust,. The crack repair turned out very good. I installed some of hardware, hinges, handle and latches, and removed them the in order to polyurethane. I have the last coat of polyurethane applied and when it cures I can refasten the hardware. All that will be left to finish this project is to fasten the hardware which includes 8 large metal decorative corner braces. The customer has the corner brackets that had to be modified, and now need painted. The corner brackets each require 10 screws, so that adds up to 80 screws.
                        I am very pleased with how this project is looking so far. I will be glad when it is finished. I am anxious to post pictures of the finished project. This is one of those customers that likes to keep giving me more projects.




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                        • #13
                          I am looking forward to seeing the pictures.
                          Rolf
                          RBI G4 Hawk, Delta SS350, Nova 1624 DVR XP
                          Philosophy "I don't know that I can't, therefore I can"
                          Proud Member of the Long Island Woodworkers Club
                          And the Long Island Scrollsaw Association

                          Comment

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