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Insert Repair

Carving away, I found the knot I'd assessed as 'live' (in other words still integral with the surrounding wood) was actually 'dead' (separated) in one particular area. Normally you can glue such a knot back in but this patch was also funky as I carved into it, and in a crucial place where it could be noticed...

It happens. What to do with such defect? There are really only 3 choices: ignore it; add filler to the gap; or insert a piece and re-carve. The last option is the best and can result in a practically invisible repair, and this is what I'll show you here - and all really close up!

Take your time:

  1. Match your wood carefully - colour, grain orientation etc
  2. Shape the insert - slightly taper it into the joint
  3. Mark the joint clearly and sneak up on it - you want a tight fit.
  4. A 'bridge clamp' is the easiest with small pieces
  5. You want 'squeeze-out' but don't wipe away excess; you can trim it off when all is dry.
  6. Re-carve and... find out how well you did! - which can be quite amazing.
  7. Don't tell anyone.



| 11 April 2022 08:49

Richard - Thanks! I can't say I've noticed a problem when I've used PVA but I love learning learning about alternatives and something new.

| 10 April 2022 23:43

More on gluing - Yes, Titebond II is waterproof. But if the piece is going to be "inside only", then using hide glue would also work and can be "repaired" if necessary. There are a couple of pre-mixed ones on the market. The advantage is that it is much less likely to affect an oil finish. Using PVA glues often results in a spot that doesn't become evident until the finish is applied. (much to my dismay!)

| 27 December 2021 20:22

Tom - Yes, you certainly could do that and, in fact, that is no doubt the quickest option for getting rid of the bulk of the waste. This is particularly true for bigger inserts. On the day, I had my gouge to hand and just trimmed the insert back without really thinking of the saw.
Good point! Thanks for raising it.

| 22 December 2020 23:17

Richard - Yes, basic outdoor woodworking (PVA) glue - the finished piece will go outdoors. I believe Titebond II is exterior too?

| 22 December 2020 17:03

Nice job and good point about not wiping the excess while wet - doin that would affect the appearance of just about any finish one might use. The glue you used looks like an outdoor PVA glue - is that the case? (I haven't seen that brand in the US). I'm assuming Titebond Type III would be OK?

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