What could cause a board to twist after being planed????

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Forum topic by Angela posted 08-18-2011 09:42 PM 4437 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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205 posts in 2313 days

08-18-2011 09:42 PM

Topic tags/keywords: glue up planer jointing with table saw mahogany planed problems

I purchased 14’ of 6/4 African mahogany rough wood. I cut the wood into 3 pieces. (4’, 4’, and 6’). I use my planer first to get it down to size. I’ve had the boards in my garage for about 2 weeks now.

Because it’s been about 100 degrees in my garage, I decided to take it to my local lumberyard and have the yard finish the 1/8” left to plane and use their jointer on the boards.

The wood place did the work while I waited. When I got them home, one board is twisted. It wasn’t like this before and I planed most of the rough wood but since my planer is small I thought I’d have them take off the last 1/8”. Before taking the boards in they all were flat. They all came from the same one board but now I have one that’s twisted.

What would have caused this? Is it just the nature of the wood?

On a side note
The place didn’t have a jointer. They told me they use their table saw for all their glue ups. I had them cut the boards but when I got home and tried to put the boards together the ends of the boards match up but the center part of the boards concave away from each other.

-- - Helping other woodworker's

12 replies so far

View Angela's profile


205 posts in 2313 days

#1 posted 08-18-2011 09:58 PM

Well after researching this I located a similar problem here on LJ

I let the wood set for about 10 days then I put it through the planer. I left it set for a couple of days before I took it to the yard to be planed.

One thing I noted in the other posting was regarding planing on both sides equally. I didn’t do this. I planed one side more than another, although I did plane both sides.

They also discussed about cutting a long board and the tension released when cut. I’m not sure if I agree with that. I can’t believe there’s that much tension to twist a board that much.

A friend purchased a piece of Cypress at the same time. It continued to cup the more time it was in my garage. I took it at the same time to be planed and they planed the cupping out of the board.

-- - Helping other woodworker's

View therookie's profile


887 posts in 2245 days

#2 posted 08-18-2011 09:59 PM

The only thing that I can think of is when the board is dried, the center doesnt dry as fast as the outside. this means when they plane the dry wood off it exposes the more moist wood and that does not dry evenly so it twists. just my two cents.


View Chris Camp's profile

Chris Camp

14 posts in 2293 days

#3 posted 08-18-2011 10:07 PM

It could be that when they took off more material they released tension in the wood and it sprung back in a different shape. I’ve had that happen while resawing 8/4 quartersawn white oak for a headboard.

-- I'm always thinking one step ahead, like a carpenter building stairs...

View b2rtch's profile


4821 posts in 2466 days

#4 posted 08-18-2011 11:54 PM

You will never prevent wood from “working” twisting, shrinking and so on.
I like to tell the story of this friend on mine in France who after the last war bought some oak beams coming from damaged cathedral, these beams were several hundred years old.Yet when he cut them they”worked” just as green wood would have done.
This is wood for you.

-- Bert

View mailee's profile


44 posts in 1896 days

#5 posted 08-19-2011 12:45 AM

I have to agree about the twisting and movement. Most woods will release tension when cut. It does help to take the same amounts off each side but this is not a sure fire way to eliminate it. I have cut a length of wood on the table saw that had been in my shop for a few years and as soon as it was cut it curved into almost a quarter circle!


View Viktor's profile


456 posts in 2836 days

#6 posted 08-19-2011 01:38 AM

I’ll just add that it may not necessarily matter how old the wood is. Its moisture content changes all the time to equilibrate with the environment. Old wood does not imply dry wood or acclimated wood. Those beams could have picked up moisture (stored outside etc.) quickly, much quicker than it takes to dry. In addition there is usually an internal tension unrelated to moisture, but related to how the tree was growing. And this changes little with time.

When the board bows after ripping it is more likely due to internal tension. If this happens during planning, then moisture equilibrium is likely the culprit (exposing large fresh surface area and accelerating evaporation). Planning removes relatively small (thin) amount of material to noticeably relieve internal stress.

View glue4you's profile


162 posts in 1898 days

#7 posted 08-19-2011 02:23 AM

When resawing dead dry oak for my band saw box project I sliced it into 3 boards. The center part stayed nice and flat the outer parts cupped like hell. Not even the planer could get these bastards flat again as the pressure on the pieces in the planer was enough to keep them flat but after the transport rolls let it go it sprung back to the old shape.

Wood does these things, I guess. I left the work to glue and clamps which in this particular case worked out.

your board: If only one side had been planed I’d have expected it to cup.

Maybe you should take that evil board to the Woodwhisperer and let him talk to it about how “pretty darn cool” (copyright by the WW) flat boards are. It might change its mind :-)

-- Alex ----- Bavaria in Germany

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 2072 days

#8 posted 08-19-2011 03:58 AM

A lot of the twisting is caused by stress releases when the board is made thinner with the planer. Also, improper drying (read, dimensional lumber) is another cause of this.

When you resaw a board (or taking off a lot of wood for thicknessing), you should stack and sticker it for a couple of weeks to let it settle down and re-acclimate. If I’m taking a lot of wood off in the flattening and thicknessing process boards can twist and cup and go pretzel on you.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View Angela's profile


205 posts in 2313 days

#9 posted 08-21-2011 01:51 AM

Thanks everyone. I should have just finished planing it myself. I was taking little pieces off of each board and didn’t have a problem until they took a whole bunch off at once. I guess that’s the fun and frustrating part of woodworking, you’ll never know what’s going to happen.

I just order a jointer so I might cut the boards smaller in width so they will fit on the jointer. Hopefully I’ll be able to get a flat side then run it through the planer.

cr1 thanks for the info. I’ll remember to do that.

-- - Helping other woodworker's

View BentheViking's profile


1763 posts in 1981 days

#10 posted 08-21-2011 02:04 AM

I got this link from someone else a few months back. I suppose it may be something that could help you.

good luck

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View Angela's profile


205 posts in 2313 days

#11 posted 08-21-2011 11:42 PM

BentheViking – thanks so much for the link. That’s a great video. I’ve seen some planer sleds but this is by far better than anything I’ve seen. I might make one of those because boards are never flat and the one I have is over 8” wide. It would be a good jig to have around the shop.

The other thing I was thinking of doing is cutting the twisted board in half so then each board is 4” and will fit on the jointer. Specially since this one board I have is very twisted. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a board twisted as much as this board I have has twisted.

-- - Helping other woodworker's

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 2072 days

#12 posted 08-22-2011 07:08 PM

I always wrap dimensional lumber in plastic wrap when I bring it home. I’ve had it last weeks with no problems with twisting or warping. But as soon as I unwrap it I use it immediately.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

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