LumberJocks

How Would You Fix This? ***UPDATE***

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by cFurnitureGuy posted 1344 days ago 1848 views 0 times favorited 53 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View cFurnitureGuy's profile

cFurnitureGuy

145 posts in 1761 days


1344 days ago

see new pics in replies below for an update on this project!!

Today i aquired a new project and i need some input from eveyone!

The owner of this antique wash stand asked if i could fix the top and refinish the top to match the rest of the stand. of course i said yes
This wash stand was built in 1903 and sometime since the top started to warp. someone had tried screwing the top from underneath but eventually it even pulled all the screws out of the wood!! The current owner said that in the winter when they light the fireplace and the air gets dry the top warps twice as bad as it is in the photos.

the top is cracked in 2 places and was filled with some putty which i have already dugout. So How would you go about fixing this? i think my first would be steam the top and clamp it down flat for a while. after that…. i think i have a plan but i would like to hear some advice from experience! thanks for any help!!!

-- Justin, Savannah,Ga


53 replies so far

View Howie's profile

Howie

2656 posts in 1507 days


#1 posted 1344 days ago

I think you are on the right track with the steaming. After it is pulled back flat(?) I think I would cut a relief in the middle. It’s hard to tell what the top wood was from the pictures but I would bet it was made from something like elm that has a tendency to twist. If you don’t relieve the stresses in it, it will do the same thing again. Just MHO.

-- Life is good.

View Dark_Lightning's profile

Dark_Lightning

1656 posts in 1693 days


#2 posted 1344 days ago

Remove the handles and drive a new cabinet under it. J/K, I’m not sure what you could do to fix that, other than cutting blind dados along the bottom of the top, like you would do if you were making a curved panel, but in reverse. That’s a ton of twist to remove.

View brianinpa's profile

brianinpa

1809 posts in 2307 days


#3 posted 1344 days ago

That is a real bad roll top!

Steam it and add some weight. Something needs to be done so that it doesn’t roll up again in the future, and I am not sure one relief cut will be enough. The other thought is to scrap the current top and make a new one, but there goes the value of the antique. After you have it flat, why not cut out the center of the top and insert some mdf or other type of wood that will stiffen the outer frame and prevent it from twisting again. That way you will have the appearance of original and the rigidity of new.

-- Brian, Lebanon PA, If you aren’t having fun doing it, find something else to do.

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3808 posts in 2606 days


#4 posted 1344 days ago

Use the top as a pattern and cut a new section.

I know it sounds like cheating but you will have a satisfied customer and probably a better more stable piece.

p.s. there is a difference between “antique” and “old”.

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View cFurnitureGuy's profile

cFurnitureGuy

145 posts in 1761 days


#5 posted 1344 days ago

my thought was to steam it and clamp it flat… as possible
then cut a handful of slots in the underside of the top and glue in strips of hardwood to hold it flat.
The slots would be cut across the grain of the top. does that make sense?

-- Justin, Savannah,Ga

View GMman's profile

GMman

3902 posts in 2282 days


#6 posted 1344 days ago

I did a small one with steam and the glue let go and it did not remove the curls, I had to make another top.

View GMman's profile

GMman

3902 posts in 2282 days


#7 posted 1344 days ago

Funny that only the top is damaged, may have had water dripping on the top.

View huff's profile

huff

2770 posts in 1869 days


#8 posted 1344 days ago

Justin, Obviously there is a lot of stress in that top and not sure the best way to tell you to cure the problem, but first I would remove the top and look at it very closely to see how it was glued up originally. How many boards? was the growth rings staggered? was any of the boards over 5” wide?..........just a few thing to look at. Do you have enough overhang on the front and/or back to allow to cut the top apart (and lose the saw kerfs) and still be wide enough to glue it back together. If you cut it apart, could you get away with staggering the boards or is the bottom of the top such that you couldn’t do that (screw holes, not planed, etc). If you can’t work with the original top, then Bob#2 probably has the best solution…...Make a new top. Personally, I would probably just go with a new top and solve the problem. Good luck and let us know how you make out.

-- John @ http://www.thehuffordfurnituregroup.com

View Howie's profile

Howie

2656 posts in 1507 days


#9 posted 1344 days ago

My initial thoughts were that he wanted to use the original top, however after looking at the pictures and thinking about it, I agree with the others, make a new top. That way it probably won’t “come back to haunt you” from the owner. He shouldn’t object as obviously it’s junk at the moment.
Like huff says, let us know how this ends up.

P.S. that is one ugly paint job <g>

-- Life is good.

View canadianchips's profile

canadianchips

1831 posts in 1581 days


#10 posted 1344 days ago

If I were asked to do this:
First remove the towel bar. Take the top and make thin (panel blade) saw cuts iwth the grain about 1” apart.
Adjust the blade about 3/4 of the thickness of the top. Start and stop about 2” from each edge, you do not want saw cuts exposed if possible. Wet the top and place it on a flat surface with weight on top till it dries. (Make sure the board is wet enough so the remaining wood bends and does not crack when you are trying to get it flat)
There is probably enough framework from the underside to glue and screw the top back on.
If there is not enough frame underneath you could also put strips from underside in between the web frame.(Across the grain )
If you want, practice on another piece of hardwood to get familiar with how deep a cut and how wet you will need.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View CampD's profile

CampD

1184 posts in 2070 days


#11 posted 1344 days ago

1st Clue,
“The current owner said that in the winter when they light the fireplace and the air gets dry the top warps twice as bad as it is in the photos”
A lot of furniture made in that period had a laminated top with a softwood core, cutting relief groves in
it will only weaken it.
No matter what you do to try to get it flat, it will come back. was probably the type of paint they used.
Build a new top out of solid hardwood.

-- Doug...

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15623 posts in 2803 days


#12 posted 1344 days ago

If you (or the customer) are dead set on saving the top, your plan sounds as good as any to me. Personally, I’d write it off as a lost cause and make a new one.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View cabmaker's profile

cabmaker

1279 posts in 1393 days


#13 posted 1344 days ago

I would glue up a new substrate probably poplar and veneer it on top and seal the bottom. That edge profile should be pretty easy to duplicate. Good luck with it.

View KnotWright's profile

KnotWright

247 posts in 2072 days


#14 posted 1344 days ago

Looking at the top, it shows a lot of stains, so you should take that into account before you spend a lot of time trying to bring it back flat. If your customer likes the stains and just wants the original top back flat, then I would proceed.

Personally if I were trying to flatten it, I would turn it upside down and then take a damp / wet bath towel and lay it on the bottom side for a couple of hours. Once it was soaked, set the piece out in the sun and check on it about every hour until its almost flat, then bring it back inside and used some 2×4’s on edge and some clamps to bring it back flat and let it sit for a few days until its completely dried, then glue where necessary and the seal the back side. Then reattached the top.

I’ve used the wet towel and sun method a few times with good success.

Best of luck which ever direction you try.

-- James

View Mario's profile

Mario

94 posts in 1980 days


#15 posted 1344 days ago

Justin, don´t want to spoil it for you but this amount of cupping clearly shows severely stressed wood that has been working itself to this shape for decades. Even if you steam it agressively and place it in a press it will cup again in a very short time. If the owner still wants to keep the original top you could rip it into narrow 1” strips, joint them, and reassemble, maybe you will have to add a couple new strips to compensate for the lost width. I think this would be a good way to break the overall stress and maintain the original top as wholesome as reasonably possible.

showing 1 through 15 of 53 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase