Split Wood - A split can easily ruin an otherwise good piece of furniture, but you can often carry out repairs with simple equipment and methods. Chatelaine's Antiques Collectibles Appraisals


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Chatelaine's Antiques & Appraisals Magazine > Furniture > Expert Tip: Repairing Split Wood Furniture

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Bessey KBK2440 Cabinet Door Clamp Kit

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Repairing Split Wood


A split can easily ruin an otherwise good piece of furniture, but you can often carry out repairs with simple equipment and methods.

Wood can last for centuries in excellent condition if it is properly cared for, but even in the best-run households accidental damage can occur.  Moreover, some pieces of furniture almost inevitably become worn because of constant use.

At one time or another, then, you are likely to have some wooden item in your house in need of attention.

Repairing broken furniture may appear a daunting task, but there are many situations where such damage can be successfully treated by the amateur.

Of course, before you tackle any break, you should consider whether it might be a better idea to call in a professional to do the job.


If a piece is worth a lot or has great sentimental value, a badly executed repair job will be disastrous.

Some restorers recommend that breaks on modern furniture as well as antiques are best tackled by a specialist, since modern furniture is often made of inferior quality wood and therefore needs expert handling.   Repeated breaks may occur unless the repair is dealt with properly.

This being said, there are still many repairs that the competent amateur can tackle effectively.  Many repairs are fairly simple and requires little in the way of special equipment.

Jorgensen 8036 36" Cabinet Master 90 Degree Parallel Steel Master Bar Clamp Jorgensen

A G-clamp is an ideal tool for holding wood together while glue is setting, but sometimes a bicycle inner tube wrapped around the repair area will do the trick.  It is strong and elastic, and its texture gives it a firm 'bite' on the wood.

A wooden door is probably most likely to become split near the hinges because of the repeated movement and therefore wear on this area.


Splits can occur on drawers, table tops and chair seats, particularly when too much weight is put on them, but the most common place is on hinged doors.  In the majority of cases, the split occurs along the screw line where the hinges are attached to the wood.

If the wood has become badly damaged, you may have to seek professional help.  However, if the split is fairly small, you can repair it yourself very easily by using glue and a G-clamp.


When you are removing hinges, you should support the door as you do so in order to prevent further damage occurring.
When you are using a metal clamp, always protect the surface of the wood by placing a small piece of card between the wood and the clamp.
Take care not to scrape the wood as you remove the clamp.

1.  Remove metal fillings from the door with a suitable screwdriver.  Attach the screws to the hinges with adhesive tape to make sure that they do not get mislaid while you are carrying out the repair.

2.  Gently prise the spilt apart with a firm blade - a scraper or an old kitchen knife - twisting it slightly to enlarge the gap.  As you hold the gap open, squeeze in the adhesive, and then work it in with the blade.

3.  Make sure that the split surfaces are thoroughly covered with glue, then clamp them with a G-clamp or inner tube. 
Wipe off any excess glue immediately with a clean, damp cloth.  Allow to dry thoroughly - for al least six hours.

4.   Remove the clamp. If any screw holes have become
enlarged with unscrewing, push in pieces of matchstick
to pad out the holes before rescrewing the fillings.  Break
off the match sticks level with the surface of the wood.

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