Warped box

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Forum topic by tonychanman posted 06-10-2016 01:31 AM 343 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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8 posts in 161 days

06-10-2016 01:31 AM

I’ve been working on a project to build a box out of spalted maple with a tray insert as well as a removable tray. The spalted maple has been difficult to work with as it seems to like to warp.

Here’s my problem. I milled the insert tray, then mitred a box to go around it, glued it together and now it has warped. The box has a lid which I made from the same boards as the bottom for a nice match. It’s nice and flat but doesn’t sit nicely on the warped bottom. 2nd problem is that the removable insert has also warped. I tried to dry clamp it against the warp for 2 weeks, but after a day of resting it has warped back.

Any help is appreciated.

The lid doesn’t have the top on it yet, but it shouldn’t affect anything.

The box upside down.

The insert

5 replies so far

View Aj2's profile


627 posts in 1217 days

#1 posted 06-10-2016 02:12 AM

Was the wood unstable when you were cutting and planing.If not then your joinery isn’t good enough. Miters need to be square and 45 .
I’m not trying to put down your work I like making boxes. Yours looks nice.

View jumbojack's profile


1663 posts in 2044 days

#2 posted 06-10-2016 02:34 AM

What a shame. Did you recently mill this from a log? I have some very similar looking lumber that moved around quite a bit for about a year. I had it stickered in my wood yard. When it quit moving visibly I began working g it down slowly. I got it mostly flat and square and snickered it again for about six weeks. It did move a bit more. I had milled it to 5/4 in a fervent hope to end up with some useable 3/4. By the time I got it dead flat and square and dry I ended up with 5/8”
Throw it all in a box of sawdust like the lathe guys do and forget about it for a while. Maybe, just maybe it will settle out flat.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View tonychanman's profile


8 posts in 161 days

#3 posted 06-10-2016 02:55 AM

My mitres were square as far as I know, I think that when clamping it to the insert, the insert may have already warped thus warping the whole box.

I bought the wood from a supplier who shipped the wood to me so I don’t know what kind of moisture content it has or how long it’s dried. This box is for a customer of mine so I can’t just wait it out. They want it within the next month.

I did notice that after the first planing of the wood that it warped after a few days. I had to plane everything again to get it flat. It appears that the wood wasn’t done moving around.

I’m hoping for some creative solutions to fix this.

View Aj2's profile


627 posts in 1217 days

#4 posted 06-10-2016 03:44 AM

One method I’ve used to flatten box tops for lid was to glue sand paper down with spray adhesive.Then rub it til it’s flat.I have a granite surface plate,but any flat surface will work.
Im not sure if that will work for you box sounds like it’s twisted from wood movement.
Not sure if your a hand tool guy but that’s also helpful to go after the long areas.
Good luck.


View JBrow's profile


745 posts in 340 days

#5 posted 06-10-2016 12:57 PM


Aj2’s idea of sand paper glued to a flat surface works well and is a method I have used to get table legs to set in the same plane, but it can be a slow process. I offer an alternative method.

The bottom of the box appears to set flush to the lower edges of the sides. Therefore, before proceeding to the alternative, checking that the bottom of the box is flush with the bottom edges should be done first. Perhaps the bottom is keeping the box from setting flat. If the bottom is proud of the lower edges of the box, removing the material from the bottom that prevents the box from setting flat could solve the problem. Otherwise, the alternative idea to get the box to set flat is to carefully remove the high spots from the lowers edges of the sides and then flush the bottom to the lower edges of the side.

To solve the problems of identifying the high spots and determining how much material to remove can be addressed a scribed line. Set the box on a known flat service. Set a pair of scribes to the match the largest gap between the bottom of the box and the flat surface. Then using the flat surface as a reference, draw a scribe line around the bottom perimeter of the box. With a hand plane or belt sander, remove material from the lower edges of the sides to the line. With the high spots on the lower edges of the sides removed, the material on the bottom can then be removed until the bottom sets flush with the sides and flat on a surface.

Putting short legs (1/4” – ¾” long) of differing heights could also so get the box and insert to set flat on the legs, but it changes the look of the project. Nonetheless adding legs is much faster and less work.

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