A Strategy for Woodworking #26: Wood & Water

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Blog entry by Gary Rogowski posted 09-16-2014 12:48 AM 1479 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 25: Agreement Part 26 of A Strategy for Woodworking series Part 27: Prodigies »

Don’t be afraid of wood & water. Wood loves the stuff. Most of the tree is water when it’s standing. It’s why they’re so heavy when they come down. It’s all that water inside of them.

Once I had a 1/2” thick maple table top, 20” square, all shaped and sanded. I decided to raise the grain and sand it off. Wet sanding I call it, although I wait for the water to dry and just sand off the fuzz raised up by it. Well I wet down this top and it cupped almost 3/8”. This is a very good way to increase your heart rate by the way. Seeing hours of hard work go wacky in a minute.

But I didn’t panic. I breathed deep, flipped the panel over, and wet down the other face. The table top came back to flat. As did my heart rate. If your wood gets wet, wet down the other side. It will be in balance. It’s imbalance that causes movement.

The Northwest Woodworking Studio

-- Gary Rogowski...follow my podcast at and twitter @garyrogowski

4 comments so far

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2894 days

#1 posted 09-16-2014 01:42 AM

I LOVE that table!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View DocSavage45's profile


8725 posts in 3046 days

#2 posted 09-16-2014 05:34 PM

I’m with Andy, it’s a wow piece.

Wood is organic and alive even after it’s cut and dried? Some more that others especially new growth woods. Great lesson Gary!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View SteveGaskins's profile


755 posts in 2791 days

#3 posted 09-16-2014 11:10 PM

Nice work, Gary. Always enjoy your posts and wisdom.

-- Steve, South Carolina,

View Mean_Dean's profile


6903 posts in 3351 days

#4 posted 09-17-2014 12:14 AM

The boards on my deck tend to cup a little in the rain. I wonder if I can get them back to flat by wetting the undersides? Of course I’d have to figure out how to get the hose under there, but that’s another issue….....!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

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