The five minute wood patch

As I was building my garden bench, I wasn’t thinking. (A common problem when I’m in a rush to build things). To save wood, I bought 2xs (or 8 quarter if you’re a woodworking wonk) instead of 3xs, then glued them together.

Problem is, I didn’t think. And this happened…

2015-05-01 11.46.14Oops. I didn’t notice the knot when I was gluing. And now I have a gaping hole.

What to do? Well, I thought about taking a picture, printing it to scale, taking it to the bandsaw, blah blah blah. But that would take time. I thought about using 37 gallons of wood putty, but you know how that goes. (If you don’t, we’re still friends 🙂  it tends to shrink as it dries and becomes cracked and dries pretty soft). I thought about tinted epoxy, but didn’t have any of that.

So…to save myself a trip to the hardware store, I traced.

Yup. Like a 2nd grader, I traced.

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I placed a piece of paper over the knot, then scribbled with a pencil. Notice the indentation in the paper? Brilliant, eh? The ridges in the wood will create an exact template of the missing piece.

Then, I put the piece of paper over another piece of wood (the one I will use for the patch). Make sure the grain of the patch matches the grain of the hole! (Which I forgot to do). Then I retraced the shape, pressing hard with the pencil…2015-05-01 11.47.17

…which leaves a slight indentation in the wood, which can be seen in reflected light.

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Now, you trace that indentation. (I know, it’s a lot of tracing!).

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Then take it to the bandsaw! (Be careful. With a piece so small, you don’t want to risk cutting of your fingers. Trust me, cutting off fingers hurts!). I’d recommend guiding it with a pencil to keep your fingers save and intact. I tilted my table a few degrees to create a wedge shape so that it fits snugly  when I later put it back in the hole.

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Remember to leave some room around the shape for fine tuning on the belt sander. (Again, be careful, this thing can slip from your fingers and fly at Mach 12, never to be seen again until the afterlife, where we all shall be reunited with our unmatched socks).

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Now that it’s shaped, we check it for fit.

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And do our final fitting with a rasp.

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And now the fun part! Apply some glue…

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Lightly tap it in…

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And fill any remaining gaps with sawdust (I used the dust collector bag thingy from my random orbit sander)…

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And wait for the glue to dry.

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One fully dried, just hit it with a sharp chisel…

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And finish it off with some sandpaper.

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The end result? A seamless path (assuming the grain matches) that is tougher than epoxy, stronger than wood filler, and is au naturale.
2015-05-01 12.26.12And it only takes 5 minutes! (sans drying time, of course)

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