How to Reglue a Wood Tabletop

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

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by Gary Junken

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

1. 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.

man scraping old glue off the side of a wood board table top

2. Scrape off all the old glue.

man using a sandpaper-wrapped board to sand the side of a wooden board table top

3. 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.

man using a finger to spread glue on the side of a wooden board table top

4. Apply a thin bead of glue using your finger to spread it.

boards clamped together on a wooden table

5. 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

orange book cover with person painting clear tan liquid on to table top

Reprinted with permission from Refinishing Furniture Made Simple by Jeff Jewitt and published by The Taunton Press, 2012. Photographs by Gary Junken.