Repairing water damaged oak top that's swelled!

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3 Jun 2016
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I had something leak onto my oak chest of drawers. I tried to mop it all up, thought I'd done enough but a few days later I noticed the wood has now swollen. A once uniform gap has closed in one place and the wood has protruded up. I used a hammer (and a cork backed coaster!) to try smacking it back into place, it helped a little but it's still protruding about 1mm proud of the rest.

How it looks now...


close up...


The leak was a few days ago. Do you think there's any chance with enough time as it dries this protruding bit will recede at all?

How would you fix it?

Many thanks!
I'm sure others will comment but I'd personally leave it alone for a few weeks to see what further movement occurs before I did anything to attempt to repair it.
I would get it away from the wall, and take the top drawers out to allow air to circulate around both sides of the top properly. I probably wouldn't do anything with it at all until next summer, when it's had a chance to dry out completely. Only then would I assess whether or not to remove the top and remake that joint.

Don't force dry it, though. Heat and/ or dehumidifiers would be too quick and splits could open up. Let it dry slowly.
I've recently had exactly the same thing happen to me with a walnut top.

I have left it for about 3 weeks drying out naturally and it's settling back. It's not critical so I'm going to leave it a bit longer. Then possibly a bit of glue, some clamps, some sanding and then some wax.

Then I can call it patina and it will be worth a whole wedge of cash!
Thanks for your replies everyone.

It seems I need to be patient...pipper! That's the one thing I can't do!

My plan is to put a smallish 2ft aquarium on top of it, so the bump (or any of my butcher style repair work) will be hidden. The tank will sit on a 5mm aquarium sponge mat thing but I can still feel the bump through the mat. I'm worried about it eventually rising and putting pressure on the glass. Do you think if I put another thin sheet of wood on top of the aquarium mat and then put the aquarium on that sheet, it'll be ok?

is the wood likely to rise at all as it dries?
If you put a board and/or a board directly on it, it won't dry.
Can you put spacers under the board to allow some air flow?