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Re: warped wood on antique table top

Posted By: Greg Scholl <beatkat@adelphia.net> (67-22-200-210.albyny.adelphia.net)
Date: 5/25/5 13:15

In Response To: Re: warped wood on antique table top (Sandy)

The reason this would work is of course that the wood is absorbing moisture and swelling back to flat, if you took a brush and kept brushing water (or pretty much any liquid for that matter) onto the concave surface, it would eventually flatten too....but it will be temporary at best..even after varnishing, the wood cells will collapse again and revert back to the shape they were, causing the warp to reappear. On smaller panels I have used a technique of re warping the panel back to flat using a large clear plastic bag and a solution of about 50/50- 60/40 white glue to water.The first step is to remove the finish on the panel and let that dry. Any furniture outlet will have big plastic bags to give to you and they'll be happy to get rid of them...Mattress bags are heavy and perfect for this..I use them to cover things in the shop too, like my machines when spraying..Paint on the mixture with a paint brush over the course of 15-20 mins till it's pretty wet and then seal it in the plastic bag, reapplying every 4 hours or so (it will vary, so keep an eye on it), resealing the bag every time but watching carefully to make sure that the surface of the wood remains damp at all times.That's important, you do not want to let any drying happen during the course of this process. Get as much air out of the bag as you can each time you close it up.You'll see it moving as you go over the course of the first few hours..If it starts to dry in an area, open the bag up and recoat again maintaining an even wetness across the whole piece. The wood will move right back to flat over a varying period of time...and I keep applying the solution till the warp has gone the other way by about 5-10%.The idea is to re-swell the cells and fibers of the wood with a solution that will not re-evaporate but instead stays behind and stabilizes the wood as it cures.Then I wipe off the surface really well with damp rags and a wet ScotchBrite pad till it's clean, and clamp the piece with cauls across the width, slowly over the course of time it takes to flatten it...don't force it flat on the first clamping or it might split..the idea from here is to slowly dry it out now in the bag, but this time leaving the end of the bag open or partially sealed with air space in it, so a SLOW drying can take place, and flipping the piece around to allow even drying every few hours, and adjusting the clamps tighter till flat...when the surface of the wood starts to look dry, I then remove the plastic all together and continue to dry SLOWLY over the course of the next few days, clamped flat with the cauls top and bottom, tight enough to keep it flat but not tight enough to prevent movement...in a cool place out of direct sun, heat, and breezes. This usually takes several days to complete, but I have had excellent results on some pieces going back 15-20 years now...I have not tried this on large, thick panels and definately would not recommend it for veneered panels, but it is a technique that works...Once flat and dried finish as usual on both sides and remember that the glue/water mix will act like a sizing, affecting your finishing schedule somewhat...but not in a huge way.

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