Hands-on with Dennis Belcher: When Good Wood Cracks

March 1, 2019 from 8:00am to 5:00pm

Mann Tool & Supply, 802 Chris Drive, West Columbia, SC 29169

Cost: $50

Registration: [closed]

It's a curse, and an opportunity, when wood cracks. This HOC presents a series of techniques that take the curse of a crack and turn it into an artistic opportunity. This presentation flows from the article Dennis wrote for the AAW's American Woodturner in the August 2015 edition. The article was a survey of techniques used by woodturners across the country to deal with a crack.

There are two key themes in the class. The first is to show how to safely do each technique. The second is unleashing the creativity in the students to resolve cracks in their own unique way.

This HOC will be different than any other we have had.  There will be very little to no turning involved.  You will have the opportunity to perform 5 different techniques to deal with cracks in your wood. All the materials will be provided by Dennis. You are also welcome to bring any cracked turnings or wood blanks to discuss or repair.  


  • Art Theory. - How you can use a repair to make your pieces look more appealing. The point of turning a flaw into a design element is illustrated with simple vase that has a zipper in it and some white board time.
  • Drying Techniques – A short description of how Dennis dries blanks.
  • Dutchman and Butterflies – How to safely create a butterfly patch in a bowl. There is a discussion of stabilizing the wall with the repair, and the use of contrasting colors.
  • Splines - This is a repair technique suitable for wider flaws than the Dutchman technique. The creation of a custom spline with matching slot across the flaw will be shown. The safe use of a biscuit cutter in creating the slot is stressed.
  • Lacing – It sounds simple, but it is not. Dennis will discuss the technical issues and how to solve walking drill bits, misaligned holes and other problems. The three key decisions in lacing will be illustrated with a sample board show a variety of lacing materials, lacing patterns and the key question of what to do with the ends. He will also talk about his favorite tools.
  • Staples – An alternative to lacing is the use of staples. Dennis will show how to create a staple and to put it into the wood so that it is secure. A separate segment will show how to form hand forged copper staples for my work. Again, the tools that he uses will be shown and discussed.
  • Cut it Out – This is the third choice for flaws. We can leave it, highlight it, or cut it out. Dennis will show how to create a mountain range rim, a wave rim and the wrapped vase. The idea of using common items as inserts will be demonstrated.
  • Brass Plating – Dennis will show silver plating on wooden bowl from 1562. Demonstration will include making the template, cutting the plate, and forming the plate to the curved surface, and creating hand formed rivets. 
  • Dealing with a Torn Nub – Dennis will discuss and demonstrate several methods to turn a torn nub into an artistic statement.