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Re: "warped" desk lid

Posted By: Greg Scholl <beatkat@adelphia.net> (ct-waterbury1b-56.wtrbct.adelphia.net)
Date: 8/25/4 03:20

In Response To: Re: "warped" desk lid (James Schooley)

As wood dries out, it experiences cellular collapse, and it rarely happens in a symetrical manner. It's a little misleading to say that one could "retrain" the fibers in the wood, as they will inevitably return to the same state once the same conditions exist and the cells collapse again. I have had luck rehydrating the piece of wood from the concave side using a plastic bag big enough to seal the piece in..( mattress bags are great, or clear trash bags for smaller pieces..), and using a solution of 1/3 white glue and 2/3 water. After stripping the concave side, and letting it dry thoroughly, saturate the wood using a good brush with the solution until no more will soak in, and seal the piece inside the bag overnight, removing as much air as possible. It will not dry, but stay wet and just soak further into the cells and start to unwarp the piece faster and easier than one might expect. Check it the next day, and brush it again with the solution if needed, and keep treating to the point that the piece flattens out completely and starts to warp in the other direction slightly, usually this takes no more than two full days.Then wipe down the piece well with dry rags,until the surface is as dry and uniform as you can get it, and clamp the piece with 2x2's and clamps spanning across the grain, slowly bringing back the piece to flat over the next 2-3 days, leaving the whole assembly inside the bag, but not sealing the bag tightly. The idea is to dry the piece as slowly as possible and the glue solution swells the cells and slowly dries inside the wood, stabilizing the warp more than water alone would. I'ts important to remember that the more glue in the solution, the more it will hinder your eventual stain/finish restoration, but when this is dry, it should act like the piece has had a sealer coat of shellac or glue sizing and should finish fine. It's important to finish the panel. I have successfully done this on several size warped furniture panels from small 18th century painted mirror panels to slant top desk tops, and without damage to the other side of the piece, in a week or less, and without seeing the pieces come back to the shop.

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