Oak table has cracks forming

Discussion in 'Carpenters' Talk' started by OliverJ102, Nov 29, 2016.

  1. OliverJ102

    OliverJ102 New Member

    Hi there,

    In August this year I bought a solid oak extendable being dining table from a major retailer, we had them replace it 3 days after it arrived as it had wood worm damage, granted it was old but I didn't want something with holes in it!

    The table is made of blocks of wood stuck together to form the table surface.

    Last week while giving it its monthly danish oil up as recommended, I noticed in one end, 2 large cracks have formed between the blocks, going the full thickness of the table.

    We live in an old crofting cottage so it's not exactly a desert, especially at this time of year. It's also in the middle of the room more or less.

    The store has a technician coming out tomorrow to assess/repair it, and while I know a hard wax can be used to fill them, should I let them! If it's cracking at 3 months old what will it be like in 6-9-12 months. I was told this was a lifelong table and at £1000 I'd hope for a good 20 years.

    Oak is prone to cracking in dry places but I thought it was dried first to cope with people's homes.

    Should I accept a repair even though it will prob reoccure or insist it wasn't correctly treated and request a replacement as 3 months nth old tables shouldn't be like that. The cracks are about 3mm wide and 2 inch deep.

    Hope I get some reply replies soon as I'm concerned about how it will be handled.

    P.s. We paid for a repair package and when I called them they said it was manufacturing fault, they wouldn't touch it and to contact the company.

    Suggestions and thoughts?

    Thanks in advance
  2. koolpc

    koolpc Screwfix Select

    Always got to be careful with a dodgy looking crack! o_O
  3. Hi Ol.

    It really come down to how it's described, I guess. Some 'solid oak' furniture suppliers will make it clear that some 'movement' and 'cracks' are normal and should be expected. Ie - if you look at old solid wood furniture, it will almost certainly have these.

    However, it should make this clear in the blurb, and - to be frank - most peeps buying wood furniture these days don't expect it to behave like 'real wood'.

    So, firstly, check everything it says in the description about the table. You have been 'Danish'ing it, so you've fulfilled your side of the upkeep. So, unless your home is particularly damp or cold or whateves, then I think you can claim it "ain't good enough".

    There's a 'solid oak' furniture supplier advertising quite a bit on the TV at the mo' with the boast "No veneer in 'ere" or similar. Apart from being a bludy annoying advert, it also sets thousands of eyeballs rolling upwards all over the country - from all the experienced joiners who know that 'veneers' and 'engineered' wood is actually great stuff in the right place, and far less likely to have problems with movement.

    Anyhoo, check all the bumph, get ready to say "not of satisfactory quality" (or whateves it is these days), and reject the table. UNLESS you are happy to accept it's normal and you can look on these cracks and fractures as being 'character'.

    I would certainly hate to have 'filler' in there...

    Oh, and check your household insurance for 'Legal Protection'. If you have this, they will sort this out for you if the supplier becomes awkward. If you don't have this, then silly you... :)
  4. KIAB

    KIAB Super Member

    Trouble is a lot of the oak is still green, so it will crack, split, move, etc, takes a few years to be fully season,by then any movement should have finished.
  5. dwlondon

    dwlondon Active Member

    Lets just hope the third one doesn't arrive in a blazing fire.
  6. OliverJ102

    OliverJ102 New Member

    The crack is very noticeable in both places and with young children I'd worry things would go down them... there is also a small one forming in the leg too... should it not be expected to be seasoned prior to use?

    It's not from the "no vinere in ere" shop I might add, we looked in there but thought they didn't look great. Went to a large furniture retailer.

    The one that is as on the shop floor was a long standing one and showed no defects either. The shop said they wouldn't expect cracks to appear either but wouldn't officially comment On procedure which I understand
  7. Yes, all the timber should have stabilised by the time it's used in furniture, but that's not to say there aren't some living conditions - either very dry/warm or else cold/damp that won't cause issues. But, the bumph should make this clear.

    I don't think you'll have any problems rejecting this table - there's a fair chance it was stored in a cold warehouse where it slowly absorbed more moisture than ideal, and then it went straight in to a normal CH-warmed house. So if they try and claim "your house is too warm" you can equally counter "Nah - your warehouse is too cold..."

    I'll ask again - do you have LP on your insurance? It'll make life sooo much easier if you do.

    But I'm pretty sure you are on solid ground anyways.

    (Look up CRA - the latest version of SoG Act)
  8. Phil the Paver

    Phil the Paver Screwfix Select

    Proberly mass produced overseas and imported at very little cost and then sold on at a massive mark up as being something its not.

    Try buying a handmade matured oak table produced in the UK for a grand.
    TheMorg likes this.
  9. Phil the Paver

    Phil the Paver Screwfix Select

    Is it from O F L. ????
  10. OliverJ102

    OliverJ102 New Member

    We got 30% off the table too lol, I'm a pain to sell stuff to!

    It was from Harvey's. So far they have been accommodating in dealing with it, but I know they can argue it's the wood settling or that it's natural and a quality of the wood.

    But our house is neither very dry and cold nor humid and hot. We try and maintain 18-24 degrees while we are awake and it goes down to about 14 at night ATM. All windows have vents to control moisture as well.

    The table is in the centre of the room, 6 ft from the only radiator in that end of the house and 2 ft from an inactive open fire which only serves to let cold air in as when I seal it the room smells of soute.
  11. They could only argue that it's 'settling' or 'natural' if their bumph says this quite clearly - and you therefore bought it on this basis.

    I have an oak table too (pressie from t'in laws...) and it has had no movement whatsoever. It is in sections, tho' - outer frames with panels in between, and a tiny 'V' gaps between them all - that, I guess, accommodates the small movements that will almost certainly happen.
  12. OliverJ102

    OliverJ102 New Member

    Ours has the same gaps under the table top, the top being in 3 sections and then the 4 legs that bolt in. It's a proper rustic table for a country house, but I treat it like gold.. no one is allowing wed to even look at it with a cup unless coasters are out and everting goes on heavy duty fabric placemats that are practically fireproof. Not that oven ceramics go even near it! IMG_2539.JPG Sorry it's a poor image, extra light made re image too large for upload!
  13. OliverJ102

    OliverJ102 New Member

    The crack is about as wide as a cutlery knife blade, not that one would go near it! But hopefully gives the idea of the damage, they are 2 separate pieces of wood that seem to have contracted and separated. My worry is if this gets worse the sections be could become loose as each section of the laminate is only about 12 inches long and that crack is about 6 inches...
  14. In my opinion, that's unacceptable.
  15. 2shortplanks

    2shortplanks Active Member

    I wonder if that's caused by a poor design? Solid oak is always going to expand/contract with changes in humidity/temperature, and it will do so across the grain rather than along it. If the top is fixed to a rail at either end without allowance for movement - like screws in slots for example, then when the wood shrinks it's going to crack.
    BTW I don't think it's right for the retailer to tell you to contact the manufacturer - you have a contract with the retailer, it's up to them to sort out the problem.
  16. OliverJ102

    OliverJ102 New Member

    Harvey's is the retailer, as extra protection I bought a protection plan for a 3rd party company to do repairs called Servico I think. It was them who said manufacturing fault and contact the retailer for replacement.

    Very happy to hear someone else thinks this is unacceptable damage for 3 months.
  17. Blimey -you bought a repair plan? What repairs would you expect the table to require? A big solid lump of wood :)

    Anyhoo, chances are it's down to the timber shrinking in its new warmer environment. 'Controlled' drying is when it's done so slowly that the whole piece of timber loses moisture at an evenish rate all through (I think). But if you make it dry too quickly, then the moisture will obviously leave from the end grain much faster, so this part will shrink before the rest - ergo splits at the ends of the planks.

    Something's gorn wrong - it shouldn't happen. I wouldn't want that 'repaired', only replaced.
  18. OliverJ102

    OliverJ102 New Member

    The repair plan was for heat damage, denting etc. I didn't expect crack repair!

    I looked this morning at them and they have shrunk by half as well! And the outside of the table has shifted almost 3mm each side out again from expansion. It's been 2 weeks since I saw the cracks but our house isn't high in humidity and certainly not very hot... we have been getting frosts at night but I'm fairly sure it didn't come in the house!
  19. From your pic, it looks as tho' you have a completely solid top - hefty planks glued (and possibly biscuited) together?

    Unless that timber has been thoroughly seasoned and then sealed, it is bound to move a lot - as you have found.

    I'm not sure I'd go for a design like that for that reason, tbh.

    Mine's different - central sections surrounded by frames with V-groove gaps in between: SDC18207.JPG
  20. OliverJ102

    OliverJ102 New Member

    It's a table top is composed of square sections approx 12 inches long and 3inch wide in a brick wall pattern with the grain going along the length of the table. The underside has grooves for expansion. I thought the design would have absorbed most movement but it's not happening. This image shows the leg attachment, my thumb nail is where the gap was 2 weka ago.... for comparison IMG_2544.JPG

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