How to straighten old warped / crooked wood - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 08-11-2012, 01:51 PM Thread Starter
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How to straighten old warped / crooked wood


A little history. If I understood correctly about this wood when it was bought it was quite fresh, recently cut from a log. It was cut and shaped to different pieces to make a table. There 2 wood types, mahogany and ebony.
This was 17 years ago and the wood was placed in storage never to be used. Attached are photos to give you an idea of how warped the wood got. As you can see this is not a case of cutting or chiseling the wood int o shape. So how can I straighten it. Should I immerse it in water and then add weight to it or what?
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post #2 of 10 Old 08-12-2012, 12:47 PM
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First I have to say, good luck!
If I really needed to salvage the wood, without cutting, I would soak it a while, when clamp it past, being straight, and let it dry out, and unclamp, and see what happens.
I have doubts it can be salvaged, without cutting down a bit.
I would keep it until I found a use for thinner pieces, then cut to lengths needed, shim up on a sled, and run thru the planer.
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post #3 of 10 Old 08-12-2012, 05:22 PM
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If it were me I would replace the wood and save these pieces for shorter parts on another project. Sometimes you can straighten wood but more often than not it will warp again like it is now. I would hate to have it in a project when that happens. It's just not worth it.
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post #4 of 10 Old 08-12-2012, 09:20 PM
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I am with Pirate and Steve on this one. Wood is REALLY cheap compared to the effort you will have to go through to attempt this and still not have guaranteed results.

However....if you try it...I would like to see the results. Good Luck


You can always check out the cool stuff Angel and I are working by going to our shop HERE... Let us know what you think
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post #5 of 10 Old 09-19-2012, 10:20 AM
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+1 on getting more wood and saving that for smaller pieces. whatever you could manage to do to straighten it will not likely last
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post #6 of 10 Old 09-19-2012, 10:41 AM
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What species of wood is it?

The only hope I see for straightening the existing pieces wood be to re-saw them into thinner pieces and glue them back together on a flat form. But then everything would be smaller due to what you would loose to milling.

I've been keeping apprentices busy looking for my board stretcher for decades, now I can add a board straightener to the list.

good luck, Bret
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post #7 of 10 Old 09-19-2012, 08:54 PM
where's my table saw?
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steam it

If they can steam wood to bend it, you can steam wood to straight it....I think? Make a steam box from a 6" Schedule 40 PVC, cap the ends and inject steam into for about ..... X minutes. Then you will need a flat surface to clamp it to or weight it down in your driveway with a straight board on top and then drive the car on top of that. That sounds pretty "Red Green" just without the duct tape, but who knows it might work. You could probably do several at once just space them apart. Find a used "Steam Buggy" on CL they make great volumes of steam. Let us know if it works. bill

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #8 of 10 Old 09-19-2012, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Lola Ranch View Post
I've been keeping apprentices busy looking for my board stretcher for decades.
Months ago I actually watched a video of a person claiming to have a board stretcher. This was for small increments like 1/8in, but it did seem to work. If I recall this involved water to soften the wood and of course an amount of force to stretch the fibres.

I spent a lot of time trying to find the video today, but no luck, so I may be accused of having a memory lapse....
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post #9 of 10 Old 09-20-2012, 02:51 PM
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There are two different approaches that could work. First, don't soak the whole piece. Wood expands when it has a higher moisture content. Therefore wet the concave side. It is shorter that the convex side. If the wood also has a twist this will not help much if at all.

With the tenon on the end it appears that this might have been a table apron. If so, this second approach will only be of value if the convex side is to be the inside and will not be seen. Cut evenly spaced kerfs across the piece about 3/4 of the way through. This will allow the wood to be bent back to straight. Then depending on the use you could then cut a 1/2" dado along the length of the convex side and glue a piece of wood about 1/2" by 3" in the slot. Such a cleat would stop it from ever bending again.
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post #10 of 10 Old 09-26-2012, 08:17 PM
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On a sunny warm day wet a small patch of grass. Put the board concave down in the wet spot in direct sun. It will steam bend on its own in a few hours.
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ebony, mahogany, no tools, table, warped wood

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