Repair Wood Furniture: Regluing a Tabletop

Cracked tabletops are a common problem with older pieces of furniture that can be repaired quickly and easily with this simple regluing method.

By Jeff Jewitt

Refinishing Furniture Made Simple book cover
Cover courtesy The Taunton Press

Old furniture, whether a family heirloom or consignment shop find, is often better made than anything you can buy today. Transform your old or new-to-you furniture into beautiful, functional pieces with Refinishing Furniture Made Simple (The Taunton Press, 2012) by Jeff Jewitt. Learn how to reglue tabletops to repair spilt, cracked or broke surfaces.

This book can be purchased from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Refinishing Furniture Made Simple.

How to Reglue a Tabletop

This small table has a typical problem—the top has split along the old glue joint.

repair cracked tabletop
Remove the top. The screws that hold the top to the base will prevent the clamps from closing the open joint, so you’ll need to take the top off. Notice how the top comes off in two pieces.

remove old glue from parts
Scrape off all the old glue.

sand edges
Sand the joint with 120-grit sandpaper using a long block of wood to help stabilize the sandpaper and to prevent deforming the edge. Clean off the debris with clean water. Do a quick test-clamp (without glue) to check that the fit is snug.

apply new glue to edges
Apply a thin bead of glue using your finger to spread it.

clamp pieces together while glue dries
Clamp the top together using pipe or strong bar clamps. The glue sometimes makes the two parts slip out of position, so use two clamps on either end to get the top perfectly flat.

More from Refinishing Furniture

Repair Wood Furniture: Dismantle and Reassemble Chairs
Repair Wood Furniture: How to Steam Out Dents

Reprinted with permission from Refinishing Furniture Made Simple by Jeff Jewitt and published by The Taunton Press, 2012. Photographs by Gary Junken. Purchase this book from our store: Refinishing Furniture Made Simple.

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