Working with wood is not always an exacting science. Sometimes there are defects in the wood, both visible and hidden and once in a while, we woodworkers make innocent mistakes and most of these issues need to be fixed or corrected one way or another. Most of these fixes are not complicated, but often will take some time and patience to do a good job.

Watch it on Youtube:

From time to time woodworkers are called upon to fix problems with wood items like furniture or other home units, that have broken, or maybe we set a tool wrong and made a bad cut ...

Things like doors and drawers ... these items get used a lot and sometimes break or wear, or maybe we made a door or drawer a bit smaller than it should have been. Before you start rebuilding another one, here's a quick fix that looks great.  Make a thin "Bull Nose" strip. This is a thin strip of wood that will fill the void of the drawer or door in such a way that it looks like it was designed to be part of the unit. If it's multiple doors or drawers you may need to make some to match the others as well but in any case, it's a pretty quick and easy fix.
You start off with a suitable strip of wood as thick and you need, then decide which 1/4 round router bit to use in order to make one edge of it round. You could also use a hand plane to carefully plane it, then hand sand but the quick way is with a wood router table and router one edge on both sides. After you make it you can decide if you want to try and match the color or make it a completely different color.  

Router table round over bit

Below is an example of what a bullnose strip would look like when applied to the side of a door. It not only disguises a gap that might be too wide but in many cases appears as a "feature" of the door or drawer.

Cabinet door gaps
If you are building furniture with legs, like chairs, tables, desks, etc. you will already know the final challenge is to make all the legs exactly the same length so the table doesn't wobble. If it's just one leg and it's a tiny bit longer, we can often place the unit on a flat surface like the top of your table saw, and with a piece of sandpaper, pulling in one direction can sand down the bottom of that one leg to fit.  BUT - if there is a large gap or multiple legs involved, it might be better to ADD wood to the bottom of the leg. Many furniture makers will cringe at adding wood, even very thin veneers, but adding wood is a quick, reliable way of balancing furniture, and of adding height to a desk or table. 

If you do decide to add a thin piece of wood, it's easy to disguise no matter what wood you are working with, by simply coloring the new thickness wood a dark color, and often black works just fine. Darker colors are not noticed by the eye and often appear to "disappear" when darkened as shown below.

 Note: table, desk, and chair legs, round or square should have the bottom of the leg finished off with a chamfer or bevel cut to reduce the chance of the bottom of the leg will "fray" when moved across the floor.

If you decide to add wood to the bottom, gluing is the best alternative and hardwood, or even plywood may work in some instances, nothing wrong with either one, they are quick and easy to make and easy to replace or alter in the future if needed. Make sure the wood is smaller than the chamfer cuts at the bottom of the leg, and that these small pieces are the same color or DARKER than this part of the leg. If they are a lighter color, they will become a distracting effect. 

If you have not been asked to "add wood" to desk or table legs, you will at some point in time. It's very easy to cut legs off, when it is discovered they are too short, it is quite a different chore to make the legs longer.  For a variety of reasons people trim off the bottoms of desks and tables and other items to make them lower ... then find out later they now need to raise these items by making the legs a bit longer. It's not uncommon that these legs need to be 3 or 4 inches longer and depending on the leg there is a variety of treatments that can be made. In the case of square legs, it's possible to make some angled pieces and attach them with dowels to the bottom of the table. Dowels are easy to use, strong, and can be aligned without too much difficulty using 

Furniture legs

If you are looking for alternative wood pieces, check out this company H. Arnold Wood Turning Company  (
They make all sorts of wooden parts for stairs, columns, boxes, Flag pole parts, and so on, and even do custom work. If you are working with round legs they may have something that will work for you, or even make something up for you.  

Attaching leg extensions usually requires dowels and aligning them with dowel finders as shown below.

"Dowel Finders"  click see on information and pricing on Woodworkweb / Amazon site 


If you are adding extensions to the bottoms of legs it might be difficult to match colors. The best alternative for this is to paint the extensions black or some other very dark wood color.  

Extending furniture legs

Fixing cracks in the ends of the board .. this often feels like a woodworker's full-time job. In most cases, the quick fix to these is to simply cut the end of the board off and throw the small piece away, but sometimes .. that crack is longer and the wood might be special and you don't want to just cut it off and throw it away. Here is a perfect time to cut the length of the board and save most of the board without having to cut (perhaps) a large chunk of the board end off. 
Instead, you could make a table saw cut and re-glue the wood back together again, thus preserving most of the wood.  If the board has a nice straight edge, this can be cut off on a table saw using a ripping blade.

Fixing cracks in wood
One ripping blade to consider is the Freud Glue Line Rip Blade. A 30 tooth, full kerf blade that will give you an absolutely perfect rip cut, which will allow the board to be re-glued back together again thus, often preserving the grain and color of the wood. I don't use mine all the time for special cuts it's my go-to blade.

Click below to information and pricing on the Woodworkweb / Amazon site on the Freud Glue Line Rip blade

Below is an example of what you can expect when using the Freud Glue Line Rip blade. Cut lines so clean you don't have to joint them. And with wood like this spalted Alder, the spalting and the texture of the wood blend from top to bottom so even though they are separate boards when glued together, they look like one board (note: the boards in the picture below have not been glued, they are only set side by side).  

Spalted wood repair

The beauty of working with wood is there is a vast number of things we can do to mistakes that are made in cutting or defects in the wood that can enhance how it looks, all we have to do is think of some other options that might work better in different situations

Copyright Colin Knecht 


  Click here for Amazon Canada Page Links