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Repairing Hat Blocks

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Here are a few suggestions for repairing damaged blocks. Maybe you are considering a block on Ebay or other source that has obvious damage and trying to decide if it is worth your investment. Can you repair it or will you need to find a professional woodworker to do the job?

I made these repairs using Elmers Carpenters Glue, several grades of sandpaper, a selection of wood files and SculpWood, a moldable epoxy putty recommended by a local woodcraft store. A package of SculpWood is approximately $35.00. It contains two puttys, one white and one tan which you will mix or kneed equal parts until thoroughly mixed using latex or nitrile gloves, then molded into the cavity or shape required. SculpWood is easy to work with and remains pliable for 15 minutes or more. Do not mix more than you will be using in a short time. SculptWood cures in 4 hours however I let it cure for 24 hours or more. Then sand or file to restore the block shape.

Block 927:

Damage included a one inch chip out of the left side of the pinch at the front of the crown and a 2 to 3 inch crack further along the left side or the recess ridge.

I decided to drive two bank pins in to the block to give attachment support for the putty filling on the vulnerable recessed edge of the crown. This block is made of high quality dense wood so I carefully tapped the bank pins into place with a small hammer. If I had determined the wood of this block was of insufficient strength I would have used a small drill bit and drilled two holes for the pins first and then glued them into place so as not to risk splitting the wood.

The cavity was filled with epoxy putty and left to cure for 24 hours.

Then sanded as needed to restore the original shape of the ridge on the crown.

Block #506

Damage included splits in front and back and a previous repair which had come loose.

Repairs included pulling out the earlier repair wedge, roughing it up with a file, slicking it with glue and returning it to its original positioning.

Then the splits front and back were filled with SculpWood epoxy putty, pushing as much epoxy material as possible into the crevasses with a toothpick and left to cure for 24 hours.

The block was then filed and sanded to the original contours of the block.

Block #631

Damage included large and small chips out of the edge of the brim.

Repair required inserting 3 strong bank pins in the large chip area to support the epoxy putty patch.

Careful sanding and filing to restore the top brim edge and the string line on the underside.

Written by Wayne Wichern

January 18, 2021 at 6:27 pm