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Unread 03-17-2014, 01:05 PM   #1
jasonrhicks
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Tenax travertine filler to repair broken slab?

Hi,

I just moved and my travertine sofa table was broken in half. I plan on fixing it by first cutting an HDF board to sit on top of the pedestal and provide support for the full length and width of the slab (the current wood support does not span the whole length, and therefore inadequate).Then I will glue the slab back together and finally place it on top of the pedestal and HDF board.

Question: how should I go about gluing the slab back together? I've found tenax travertine filler, but I'm not sure if it is strong enough. Do I need to make this a two step process by first using an epoxy, such as tenax Rivo 15, and then use the travertine filler on top of the joint?

I've attached two photos (soda can for scale).

Thanks!
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Unread 03-17-2014, 02:03 PM   #2
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Welcome, Jason.

Can't necessarily tell from the title, but this is the forum where more of our stoners hang out and I'll move us here.
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Unread 03-18-2014, 11:30 AM   #3
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I don't think HDF or any particle board will make a very effective support for your top due to the way they sag over time. I would at least use a good quality plywood with the grain properly oriented.
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Unread 03-18-2014, 04:37 PM   #4
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Ok, I'll be sure to choose a good plywood. What do you think of using the travertine filler as a glue?
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Unread 03-18-2014, 04:40 PM   #5
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We normally use Knife Grade epoxy which can be tinted to match the color of the stone
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Unread 03-18-2014, 05:41 PM   #6
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I'm sorry Jason, but if it were me, I would not consider glueing this piece back together without rodding it first - at least four embedded in the back of the stone. A good plywood might work but I would prefer steel.

By the time you do all this work you could probably buy a new whole one.

Just my opinion.

Good luck
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Unread 03-18-2014, 07:29 PM   #7
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This table is part of a set of three that includes a coffee table and an end table. This particular piece sells for >$2k, and I would prefer to repair it in order to maintain consistency with the other two tables. I don't think I have the expertise to install steel rods, but it sounds like a good idea. Perhaps I will augment the plywood support with spars running lengthwise to ensure it doesn't settle or warp. With this, and a good poly epoxy, I'm hoping I'll be good. This is a sofa table after all, so it won't see heavy use.

Additional thought: I've seen fiberglass bonded to the bottom of slabs before. Would that help stabilize the relatively brittle travertine?

1. Build robust plywood platform for top of pedestal.
2. Position slab pieces on platform and bond slab together using poly epoxy and pipe clamps.
3. Without removing clamps, turn slab upside down, and apply fiberglass to bottom of slab. (yes, or no?)
4. After everything cures, re-position on top of pedestal platform.
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Unread 03-18-2014, 09:19 PM   #8
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I would use a decent two part knife grade epoxy (not polyester resin) which is typically mixed 1:1 or 2:1. Tape the edges, apply the epoxy and then hold both sections firmly until the epoxy sets. One of those large furniture clamps such as those made by Bessey would be good for holding the two parts together but you do need to keep them together firmly while the epoxy is curing.

After the epoxy sets remove the making tape and scrape any smears with a blade held at a sharp angle so as to not scratch the stone.

Some well known brands include Stoneweld, Bonstone/Touchstone and Tenax if you want to check them out.

You could reinforce the stone with the mesh they use for delicate stone but I'm not sure it achieves much here - those are for stones that typically flake or deliminate. If you want to to that you can buy the special mesh they sell for doing that and immerse in a flowing epoxy.

Generally stone overhangs are supported by corbels than by plywood or MDF. At some point they will flex and possibly break. Maybe you can engineer some form of corbel system for you table. You can rod but I'm not sure that will substitute for a good support system.
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Unread 03-19-2014, 06:37 AM   #9
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To amend my remarks above, when I spoke of steel I was referring to a 1/4" steel plate glued to the underside of the slab. This is the only thing that would be rigid enough to minimize the slab sagging - in my opinion. We often do this to overhanging slabs that are borderline needing corbels.

The rods would hopefully keep it together while you went through the rigors of glueing on the plate and placing it on the pedestal.
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Unread 03-19-2014, 07:52 AM   #10
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Tenax travertine filler to repair broken slab?

If you want to do it right, the epoxy previously mentioned is a good start. Rodding will address the future strength issue. And the last item you will need to address is that after Frankenstien is glued back together, you will be faced with a flatness problem that only a re-hone/polish can cure. Since it is a small piece, this could be done with an orbital sander, but I would still recommend taking it down to your local stone fabricator so he could do it on his machine.

Actually, you might want to consider just loading up the broken pieces and taking the entire mess to the fabricator. That would be your best chance for a solid, hardly see the new "scar" refurbishing. Couldn't hurt to get a price, and it just might be worth it for both reasonableness and peace of mind. What you are attempting is no piece of cake without the knowledge, and without the tooling it gets even harder. I'm a 25 year experienced fabricator that currently doesn't have a shop, and I would not do what you have in mind in my garage, I would take it to my current fabricator. Even though I could do it in my garage. What does that tell you?

BTW, you have a good sense about the travertine filler. It is purposed for filling holes, not gluing things together. You couldn't even pick the piece up without it re-breaking if you used it to seam the break.

PS: color matching resin or epoxy is an art not learned in one project. It is your best hope for an as invisible as possible repair to take it to Yoda the Fabricator () as the force will be with him as he mixes color pigments

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Unread 03-19-2014, 08:25 AM   #11
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Marty does raise an interesting point about the "invisibleness" of the repair. I was assuming that the break can be matched up exactly - if not and there are chips missing from the seam then the repair becomes harder to conceal and then tinting the epoxy becomes critical. If the seam matches up exactly then a good tight clamp should render the repair invisible.

Also as Marty pointed out if the seams are not exactly in plane when you set them then the lippage would have to be ground out using top polishing. That does require someone with some level of skill to do.

As mentioned you may want to think about taking it to a fabricator who specializes in restoration work.
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Unread 03-19-2014, 11:12 AM   #12
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Exactly Ravin. And even if you can get an absolutely perfect match-up of piece-to-piece, when you run your fingers over the break seam, you will be able to feel it. The only way it will once again feel like a solid top is to re-hone/polish the top. There is no other way.

If you find the right guy, you are looking at about $2-300 to just do it for you. Not that big a deal on a $2k piece of furniture, right?
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Unread 03-20-2014, 12:15 PM   #13
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That makes a lot of sense. I was quoted $920 by a restoration company retained by Atlas Van Lines, which is why I was going to do it myself. Y'all know anyone in the Austin area that would help me out for $2-300?
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Unread 03-20-2014, 12:39 PM   #14
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Here's some more pictures. Upon closer inspection, it appears the side rails were glued together at the fracture point. This explains the weakness there, and why the table broke at the place. I took up close pictures with the penny near the worst missing pieces.
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Unread 03-26-2014, 02:03 PM   #15
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I am a little late to this party, but I want to clarify that there is a HUGE difference between polyester resin and epoxy. the picture that Paul posted is polyester resin, not epoxy. It will not be a trustworthy repair to use that alone.

This is a repair that needs to be pinned or rodded. I would recommend a strong epoxy, like Bonstone Clear Gel or Express II. You can drill into the sides of the crack and insert stainless steel rodding to pin it together, or cut a channel on the bottom and epoxy in a stainless steel rod.

It needs support to span both pieces, the adhesive alone will not be enough.
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