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Discussion Starter #1
Hello All,

I'm new to the forums here. I'm a novice, but far from new to woodworking, but I've recently taken it back up as a hobby. I hope that I can learn a lot here and maybe improve my craft/hobby skills.

But I have a problem that has reached a critical point, hence the forum post. I've done a lot of searching and asking around but I really can't find a straight answer. So I'm hoping I can get some insight here.

I've started a project that I began with a lot of passion for. I'm making a sword. I'm using 1/4" red oak boards. But here is the problem... my wood curled. Now I think I know why. I live in Hawaii. Unfortunately I could not find 1/4 lumber on this island or anyone who would do it for me. So I had to order it from the mainland. (Ridiculous I know). So the wood probably underwent a bit of a humidity change and I didn't do enough to acclimatize my wood properly.

Now for the plans I have the wood, at least the wood I will use for the "blade" MUST be straight as an arrow.

So my questions are thus:

Is it naive of me to think I can get arrow-straight 1/4 hardwood?

Is there a way I can economically, perhaps even cheaply fix this?
 

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Sawdust Creator
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It's going to be pretty hard to keep long thin boards straight.

You might try quarter sawn wood. It's the most stable of any cut method.
 

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I would think you are going to have to let it acclimate and mill it afterward. I don't think there is a way around it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I would think you are going to have to let it acclimate and mill it afterward. I don't think there is a way around it.
I was thinking the same thing. What is the most efficient way to do that?

What thickness would be best to start with? I don't want to produce mass amounts of waste just to get a 1/4 board.

But I'm also worried that if I did that it would just cause the now exposed wood surface to dry or absorb more moisture and create the same problem again.

You will never keep wood that thin straight. You should use plastic or metal. Sorry man.
I disagree. I have a few pieces of 1/8 x 3 x 24 that are straight as a... board. Unfortunately they are too thin and too short for my "blade" needs. I have them for other things.
 

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I think you can keep wood straight... probably just bad luck to be honest.

One things for sure, if the wood wants to curl, you arent going to stop it.
 

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Have you cut the wood to 1/4" thick yet? If not lay it in the sun with the crown side up and it should flatten. Keep an eye on it and take it out of the sun before it goes completely flat or it might bow the other direction. If you can get it close to straight and stable you could machine it flat on a jointer and then surface it. Try as much as possible to take as much wood off each side.
 

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If quarter sawn is unavailable and the appearance of the wood will be concealed by paint,you could rip the oak into narrower strips and then flip alternate strips end for end and re-glue.this would allow the forces acting on the wood to cancel each other in opposite directions.

The remedy proposed in post #7 will only be temporary as the tendency for the wood to move will still be there when conditions change.If your climate is stable you could just wait a few weeks and then try again-if you can allow the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
If quarter sawn is unavailable and the appearance of the wood will be concealed by paint,you could rip the oak into narrower strips and then flip alternate strips end for end and re-glue.this would allow the forces acting on the wood to cancel each other in opposite directions.
I had considered doing that. Not by resawing the wood but by using two other 1/8 boards on either side. But I hesitate for the reasons mentioned, I don't want glue to mar the appearance I want. However if I did that I could use darker wood for the "shell" and attempt to simulate the temper line like that seen on laminated steel. I might have to test that.

Are there any durable wood-on-wood adhesives that completely ruin the look of a bare wood project?
 
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