Repairing Failed Sculptures – Wood Art

Repairing Failed Sculptures – Wood Art

As I was sitting at my computer yesterday
editing my latest video, I heard a very startling, loud, cracking noise. I thought to myself, “Uh-oh.” I checked out my sculptures and I discovered
a disturbing thing. As you can see, this separated by quite a
bit here. I looked at my other pieces. This one is separated here and this one has
separated here. I had already repaired this piece. What have I learned from this? Obviously, I cannot continue making pieces
that are made in this manner. The other ring sculptures I made out of slabs
do not seem to be affected. I am assuming it is because of the technique
I used to make these rings. It is kind of disappointing, because I really
liked how these turned out. It is winter now and the humidity is much
lower. Plus, we are inside an air-conditioned environment. Obviously, the drying of the wood made a lot
of tension and that is what caused it to fail. That is not going to stop me from attempting to
repair these though. I am sure there are seasoned woodworkers out
there that can tell me, “Well, I could have told you that was going to happen.” I do not pretend to be an expert on this. All the things I do are experiments. It moved this way as well as pinching it this
way. If I want to move it that way, it is probably
best to cut on this joint here. It pains me to have to do this. OK. Well, I may not be able to glue this back
together the way it is. I might have to make another cut. Basically, I need to somehow rotate this so these
line up. If I want to rotate it that way, I should
cut this joint here. The good thing is, the more material I take
off here, the more tension is relieved. That is certainly better, and it lines up
pretty good. I might just use some CA glue in the joint
there. Set that aside for now. It is this guy’s turn. I think I might go with my original plan. Cut the opposite side and try to flatten the
faces. Now I need to work on getting these faces
parallel again. The gap is toward the inside edge here. That means I have to take more material off
the outside edge. I am just going to mark it with a pencil so
I know roughly how much I need to take off. That is pretty close, actually. First try. This side needs work though. I need to take a bit more off this side. I am OK with that. I just need to put some glue in here. I am just going to let that dry overnight. I am going to let this one dry overnight,
I think, and come back and work on it tomorrow. This one, I think I can glue up. I am not sure I can get wood glue in there. I may have to use CA. I will just leave that overnight too. It is the next day now. This one seems to be glued up pretty well. I might put a little bit more CA just to fill
a bit of a gap that is that one. Let us see how this one faired. It seems alright but now it is not flat. I will have to figure out a way to fix that. There is a bit of a gap to fill there. This side looks pretty good. Oh, a little bit of a gap. It is so damp outside today. It is cold and miserable and raining. It has been raining for two days straight
now. Because it is so humid, I need to take these
back inside, I think, lest it causes more problems. Aside from using a little bit of glue yesterday,
I pretty much took yesterday off. It is the fourth day in a row where it is
cold, miserable and rainy outside. Pretty dang close. I am going to take this inside, where it is
warmer and dryer. Obviously, I will have to do some filing and
sanding to smooth out the glue I put in this. I should take this opportunity to make a new
base for this. I have been thinking about this over the past
few days. I am trying to figure out why this happened. What I have determined is that if I have a
wedge of wood, the grain is running this way, it does not shrink much in this direction,
but it can shrink a lot in this direction. When this shrinks, it actually changes the
angle of the ends of this piece of wood. If you have them glued up in a circle and
it starts to shrink, it ends up wanting to close in on itself. As you can see, it wants to break somewhere. Ultimately, it is not necessarily a good idea
to create segmented rings like this. Now that these are back together in one piece,
they may fail again, unfortunately. Hey, I did it to myself. It is a lesson learned. Thanks a lot for coming along for the ride
as I bumble through learning how wood works. See you next time in Cammie’s Garage.


  • Fred McIntyre says:

    Thanks for the info Cam, hope they hold up and don't give you any more issues! πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘ŠπŸ»

  • Xylem Slicer says:

    Interesting discovering the culprit. Shrinking angles. Love the giant disk sander. Nice repair work.

  • Don Willingham says:

    Would inserting dowels help? Since angles aren't all 90 degrees, you may need some way of drilling at specific angles.

  • Dimensionswoodworks says:

    I would go with some reinforcements in the joints as well, dowels or dominos. I would think your failure would have more to do with end grain to end grain glue joints more than wood movement. That’s why mitered frames have splines.

    Hope you get it figured out! Good luck πŸ‘πŸ»

  • tony toomey says:

    A real shame that you had to repair them. You did an amazing job of getting such square cuts on those faces, that saw looks a bit special too, they're still lovely pieces of art which clearly reflects your skill and patience, love 'em, well done to you. Regards, Tony(UK)

  • Thomas Tieffenbacher/DocSavage45 says:

    Thanks for showing the failure. I'd just sent an email this morning. You had already had the failure I mentioned. and it's good that it happened in your studio/home. Not in a patron's home? Saw a comment below. A drill is all you need as you have the dexterity. Murphy is my mentor! LOL. Wood movement is different for different species and it expands and contracts as you identified even when well dried.

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