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Flattening warped panels?

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Mark A

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I'm in the process of making a pine chest out of reclaimed floorboards. Last week I jointed the edges of the boards and glued them up with biscuits, and made sure that the growth rings where running in alternative directions (three boards per panel). But then I had to leave them in my shed for a week as I was busy. This morning I went to sand the panels but they've warped with the damp, so I'm a bit stuck now. I could plane them flat, either by hand or with an electric planer, or alternatively find someone with a large enough thicknesser, but then I'll loose all of the character from the old boards.

Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Mark
 

Chems

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I know its not exactly the same, but I use the pre laminated pine boards, and they often arrived warped from the damp of the builders yard and being stacked on top of each other. Normally once they reach my none damp work area and are dimensioned they come back to level.
 

Mark A

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I brought the panels into the house and left them for 6 days to dry .... and they've warped more :(

I'm forbidden to plane them as the chest must be shabby chic style so what else can I do? I was intending to use hand-cut dovetails to add to the rusticness but now I don't know. Any suggestions?
 

Pete Maddex

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Hi, Mark

How did you leave them? flat with battens between them to allow the air to circulate? If not they still might need some more time.
If that dosen't work rip them back down and re-glue.

Pete
 

Chems

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I think your better cutting them to a rough size that your going to use, then allow them to even out. Thats what I find happens, they move rapidly when cut to size.
 

Mark A

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Thanks everyone

Yes I stacked them with battens between so air could circulate. The panels are slightly oversize, but not too much as I don't have enough long clamps for bigger stuff.

So I guess I have to break them up and re-glue, but first I have one question.... How do I prevent it happening again?


Mark
 

bosshogg

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Before breaking and re-gluing why not try wetting them?
Warping is caused by uneven tension, which in turn in turn is caused by the drying process, in other words as the moisture in the wood fluctuates the wood bends to the driest side, therefore wetting them on that side and applying a force to straighten them, leave that in place and allow the wood to dry (depending where you choose this could be 1 day to several days) when you are satisfied they are dry release the force and use the wood immediately.
I remember once when deadline on a house was looming, I suggested using a dehumidifier in the bedroom as they had me applying the finishing joinery to wet plastered walls. All though I had advised an open window and pass door and the night watchman to attend (empty bucket of water etc.) some one had closed the window, shut the door and taped it up. Next day when I couldn't get the door to open...you can guess the rest. All the doors in the room had a 6" warp toward the dehumidifier, the skirtings and finishings were the same, only the window had survived the experience. The doors were salvaged by the above procedure, which I think you could try...bosshogg :)

Imagination is more important than knowledge...
Albert Einstein (hammer)
 

Mark A

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Almost 2 months later.....

I tried wetting them and it worked for a few days before they started to warp again. I don't understand how as they've been inside for about 6 weeks.

Should I try again but with more weights on top of the chipboard the panels are sandwiched between when I flatten them, or break them up and re-glue? That's if I'm going to stick to the original plan, otherwise I suppose I could plane them flat and make a regular chest but in doing so loose the rustic charm of the old boards.

Mark
 

woodbloke

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mark aspin":isn9vz1o said:
Almost 2 months later.....

I tried wetting them and it worked for a few days before they started to warp again. I don't understand how as they've been inside for about 6 weeks.

Should I try again but with more weights on top of the chipboard the panels are sandwiched between when I flatten them, or break them up and re-glue? That's if I'm going to stick to the original plan, otherwise I suppose I could plane them flat and make a regular chest but in doing so loose the rustic charm of the old boards.

Mark
Personally, I think you're on a 'hiding to nothing here'...the timber is doing what it does best, twist and warp :evil: , it's infuriating but it happens. I'd take the whole thing apart and then leave the boards inside in stick for 3 months or more in a cool room (under a bed is ideal) Whatever flattening tricks you try and do, you're basically working with unseasoned timber and it'll move in the same way until it's at a state of equilibrium with it's surroundings. When you build it in the 'shop, if there's no heat or de-humidifier, I'd bring the boards back inside after each session. If it's the 'shabby chic' look you're after, get the wood dry to start with, then build the piece and then apply a distressed finish of some sort - Rob
 

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