Friday, February 22, 2019

SO UNSEAMLY: How To Get Rid Of Those Annoying Grooves In Your Table!

Do you have a table with deep seam lines between the wood planks, and it's driving you nuts? 

Well hold on to your prosthetic foreheads, my friends, because I HAVE A SOLUTION.

Fair warning: this isn't a terribly exciting DIY project. In fact I never intended to post about it, but I had so many requests for a tutorial on Instagram that I guess I'm not the only one with this problem!

If you're lost, then these are the kinds of table seams/lines/grooves I'm talking about:

 I took that photo AFTER John and I re-finished the table, but here's a close up of what it looked like before:


Those deep grooves were constantly filling up with dust, crumbs, paint, you name it - plus they would catch on things, and made writing or tracing patterns a pain. We are ROUGH on our work tables, so it was also covered in paint, glue, chips, and scratches. Definitely time for a refresh.

There's a "wood polishing" joke in here SOMEWHERE, I just know it.

This also isn't a quick project, but at least it's easy. All you need - if you want to do what I did - is some Apoxie Sculpt, gloves, a razor blade, and a good show to listen to while you work.
Apoxie Sculpt is a kind of epoxy clay that cures rock-hard, sticks to almost anything, and is fantastic for crafts and cosplay and - in my experience - minor furniture repair. :D It even comes in black, which would be ideal for table-line-filling, but I used the gray stuff since I already had some. 

One pound tubs cost about $23, or - the better deal - you can get 4lb tubs for $42. That's a ton of epoxy, though, so if you're only planning to use it for seam filling, grab this little $15 pack  instead:

That claims it's 1/4 pound, so it *should* be enough to fill a tabletop worth of seam lines. The little pack only comes in white, though, so you'll have to paint in your lines afterward like I did.

I don't have process photos of this, but it's simple:

- Mix together a palm-sized amount of Apoxie at a time
- Roll a long skinny snake of the clay
- squish it in the table grooves (which you DID vacuum out first, right?)
- pack it down with your thumb, overfilling a little
- shave the groove smooth with a razor blade to clean off the excess
- smooth the clay with a damp rag or fingertip, if needed

Make sure you work in small sections, since the Apoxie will start to dry and get a little more crumbly as you go. That's also why you shouldn't mix too much at a time.

Again, my Apoxie was gray, so you can see my filled lines REALLY WELL, ha:

Our table is pretty big and has an extra leaf in the middle, so it took me two nights to fill all the lines. I don't mind tedious work, though; I just watched Critical Role while I worked.

Once the grooves were filled I scraped all the old paint and glue off the rest of the table, then John lightly sanded the whole thing to get the old clear coat off:

This is only a veneer top, so we couldn't sand any deeper. We did our best to touch up any chips with brown or black paint.

I spent the third night painting all my freshly filled groove lines with a tiny brush and some black exterior primer paint. (I recommend using something stronger than craft paint, especially if you're not adding a clear coat.) Again, SUPER tedious, but the lines vary in width enough that I didn't want to try taping them off.

Once that was finished, John brushed on a coat of clear satin polyurethane over the whole table. Bing bang boom DONE:

Oooooh. Aahhhhh.

That extra shine actually makes the grooves still look like they have stuff in them from certain angles, which is a little annoying:


The important thing is the lines are flush and don't *actually* catch dust and crumbs anymore, though, so HALLELUJAH.

I hope this helps, gang! If you have any questions hit me up in the comments, and John or I will do our best to answer them.

Now before you go, let's announce this month's art winners!

So... [drumroll, please]

The winner of Baymax is Ebany
The winner of Ariel is Melody Tenney
And my wild card winner is BSM7!

Congrats, you three, and please e-mail me your mailing addresses!


  1. Great idea! I have to admit, I finally got rid of my big heavy table since the grooves just made things too much of a pita. Course, it also was so heavy it made moving difficult, so with me moving around a lot at the time, it was only a short mourning period at the time. These days I miss that heavy behemoth of a table.

    1. Ours weighs a metric ton, too! It's actually why we used a brush-on clear coat instead of a spray; too hard to get it outside. :D

  2. I tried the gray stuff. It was delicious.

    1. That made me literally LOL.

      Now please, NO ONE EAT APOXIE SCULPT. (The lawyers insisted.)

  3. I won and I'm totally doing a happy dance at my desk!!!!!
    Happy Friday to me, thanks Jen!!!!


  4. Thank you so much for sharing this! I'm always a bit freaked out at the thought of any refinishing/home improvement projects as a first time home owner, and this makes me much less nervous about tackling a project my husband and I have been discussing since we bought our table!

  5. This, this is an epic redo. How clever - I'll be passing this along to everyone. Thank you!!!

  6. My father made our childhood dining table (seated 8 kids for every meal!) He used Formica as the tabletop. Paint, hot glue, hot pans, spills of every kind imaginable, play dough, sewing projects, dropping heavy tools, that thing is indestructible! He chose a butcher block print, which coincidentally had exactly 1 inch lines. I have it now, and I use those lines to eyeball "straight lines" all the time. 40 years later the only thing I don't like about it is that it's way too big for my kitchen.

    1. We considered replacing our table top with Formica! Such a good work/craft surface. And I've done the same with our lines; super handy for lining up right angle cuts and rulers.

    2. This is amazing and touching. I'm so glad you still have it, and that it's not only indestructible, but useful for crafting, too!

  7. I acquired a table like that (mine had cantilever leaves on the ends) recently from a neighbor. Apparently the table had been her kids craft table at one point so the grooves were filled with paint, glitter, and moon sand I believe. I spent hours with a small screwdriver scraping out all the gunk in the cracks. I didn't bother filling the cracks because I turned the main part of the table into my cutting table for my sewing room and it has a cutting pad attached to the top of it now. However, hubby turned the two leaves into small desks that I have put around my sewing machine desk to make it U shaped. I think I am going to go fill those cracks to help the fabric slide across them better. Thanks for the diy Jen! <3

  8. Would it be possible to mix some paint/gel food coloring when mixing the apoxy to color it prior to using it? I've never mixed apoxy, so I don't know what mixing it up entails or if that would affect the product's functionality.

    1. Hmm, that's not a bad idea, but I wouldn't risk it; adding anything might mess up the cure, and the last thing you want is gooey epoxy clay stuck in your table. That said, you could experiment with a small bit of scrap clay, see what happens!

  9. That is such a great idea! I had to look everywhere to find a smooth top table because I hate cleaning grooves! Of course now I still never use it for crafts because it has become the hotspot in my house to drop bags and stuff the minute you walk in the house.

  10. This would have been a fantastic tutorial about 4 years ago when I attempted something similar with wood filler (it didn’t really work at all). Ours was a cheapy veneer as well, so not too much love lost! The best part of this tutorial is that it opens up a world of possibilities for my husband’s brew room table. We’ve been looking on Craig’s list for far too long for something that fit the bill and kept coming across things that were almost perfect except for the “dust collectors”! So thanks for helping a girl help her husband out!

  11. I was waiting for the part of the fix that included a rock to wind a piece of string around... ;)


      ::knowing wink::

      ::secret fist bump::

    2. ... I forgot the point that I was making?

  12. I ordered a piece of glass from a local glass company for my table with groves. I have fun putting table clothes under the glass for a pop of color that can survive the kids and cat!

  13. I used to live in an apartment where the contractor's "signature" was reclaimed wood. Both the floors and the countertops were made of the stuff. Very pretty and eco-friendly, but the dude didn't seal the cracks in any of it. REALLY smart for a kitchen counter. My former roommate still lives there. I might have to send her a link to your tutorial....

  14. Ooh, this would also look awesome with the copper coloured epoxy stuff you can get. Some of the brands you get at the hardware store (for fixing leaks in metal pipes) are a proper metallic colour, not just 'copper orange'. It's an all-in-one type deal as well, so no measuring and mixing, just chop off the right amount, knead it thoroughly and apply :-)
    One day I will do a decent repair on the lovely reclaimed wood coffee table I picked up at the local second hand store (all the old nail holes etc are filled with plain cream filler), and I plan to use that stuff.
    Kahurangi, New Zealand


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