Baby crib - Should I: Steam wood, soak wood, or boil wood to remove bow? Mesquite

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Blog entry by justmakeit posted 02-12-2014 12:21 AM 1552 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch


Large scale need to remove bow from wood. What is an alternative option to flatten dimensional lumber if bowed? 85% of the bows are in the middle of the board. Steam wood, soak wood, or boil wood to form flat? I don’t have enough to plane

So far I have created dimensional lumber from 2 large mesquite slabs and now I need to fix a bow in just about every board (50 pcs.)

wood dims:

L x W x H all in inches

Biggest pieces: (4) 52×2.5×1.5

Smallest pieces: (26) 28×2.5 x .75

Right now my plan is to boil the wood and then clamp 3 or 4 pieces between two pieces of 3” square tubing.

Baby crib pictures:

Thank you all in advance for any feedback

5 comments so far

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2798 days

#1 posted 02-12-2014 12:17 PM

I don’t know much about Mesquite, but, it sounds like it may not have been dry enough when you started cleaning it up. Good luck with the fix

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View justmakeit's profile


5 posts in 2017 days

#2 posted 02-12-2014 12:37 PM

Thanks Roger.

My problem was a few seriously twisted slabs that I was trying to salvage. I had a ton of loss from each slab cause I only remove from selective areas and now have some gorgeous twisted BBQ wood.

View Grumpymike's profile


2238 posts in 2309 days

#3 posted 02-12-2014 05:45 PM

I remember making a bow out of yew wood when I was a boy scout … (Ike was president) We soaked the wood, then shaped it over the fire … (in effect steaming) kept working the curve, and heated again and again until it held the curve that we wanted.

Now that being said, if your warp or bow is caused by a knot, you are done, make the bow part of the design.
but if the bow is just wood tension you have a chance.
Clamping it to a 3” square tube might work, but consider spring-back maybe you can plane that out??

Mesquite is a wile wood with a mind of it’s own, and I would like to know how it all turns out for you.

I have made relief cuts on the convex side of Warped stock with a thin blade to aid in the reshaping with mixed results, the regluing is a real pain, but with a bit of resin or epoxy it is passable.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View justmakeit's profile


5 posts in 2017 days

#4 posted 02-12-2014 09:10 PM

Thanks Grumpy Mike.

I assumed that by boiling the wood (adding moisture and heat) would allow for a new shape to be possible the same way curving wood is induced by a convex / concave form. I essentially am trying to reverse the bending process to make that bugger straight. I will definitely let you know and include some pictures.

Thanks again.

View Grumpymike's profile


2238 posts in 2309 days

#5 posted 02-13-2014 05:59 PM

If you know what a Windless is, here is another trick I have used a time or two …

Place a #8×1-1/2” screw in each end of the board end grain about center on the board. Loop a wire (like bailing wire or such) around the screws from end to end. Now place a 6”, or a bit longer, piece of stock (I use a chunk of 2×4) on end in the fat point of the bow, running the wires across the 2 by and start twisting the wire by placing a stick between the wires and spin it tight. You will see the bow coming out … retighten and moisten ... Then let it cure for a week or so to be sure it’s dry and see if it holds the shape. (might want to a bit over straight for the spring back)
If the screws want to pull or tear the wood, use clamps at each end … I am assuming that this is un-milled stock, If your stock is 3/4” or less the screws will tear out.

This will take time, so do not try to do it all in one day. I have used boiled rags wrapped around the windlass … not a good as a steam box but it helps.

Good luck on this project.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

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