My frustrations with soft maple

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Forum topic by rockindavan posted 05-26-2012 06:44 AM 1585 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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299 posts in 2599 days

05-26-2012 06:44 AM

I got some 6/4 curly maple a couple of months ago and have been waiting until I needed it for a cabinet top. I cut it into 4’ sections, and everyone of them is twisted 1/4”. I ended up having to take almost 3/8” to get it true enough to glue up.

I’m a little concerned now that its going to twist up now that it is glued up. The top is 23” wide so there is plenty room for it to get out of whack.

Anyone else have same problems with soft maple and is it common to warp so bad?

7 replies so far

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6851 posts in 3942 days

#1 posted 05-26-2012 07:31 AM

Are you sre the lumber was dry? It sounds as though it wasn’t.

The moisture content of a board should be checked, prior to use. Between 6-8% is what you’re looking for.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View rockindavan's profile


299 posts in 2599 days

#2 posted 05-26-2012 07:39 AM

Its been in the shop for 2 months..AC has been on for the last 3-4 weeks and everything has been stable otherwise.

View WDHLT15's profile


1730 posts in 2439 days

#3 posted 05-26-2012 11:56 AM

Sometimes there are stresses in the tree because of the orientation of the wood cells. There is not much you can do about it except turn the log on the sawmill 180 degrees after every board or two. It sound like that you have relieved the stress. I would keep in tight in the clamps until just before the moment that you need to attach it to the cabinet. Once it gets attached to the cabinet, it will likely be OK. Don’t take it out of the clamps and let it sit for weeks.

When I started woodworking, I always wanted to make the top first in a project because it was the prettiest part of the whole deal. You pick out the best wood and do that first. Well, I found that that is backwards. Now, I make the top last and attach it quickly after it comes out of the clamps and is sanded.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4947 posts in 2456 days

#4 posted 05-26-2012 12:54 PM

I have a small amount of curly soft maple on hand I bought some years ago. s I’ve made projects with it I’ve not had any warping/twisting problems, at least no more than any other wood. Like WDHLT said, sometimes there are stresses in the tree you can’t do much with. But I don’t think what happened to you is common, just one of those things.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1283 posts in 3700 days

#5 posted 05-26-2012 01:09 PM

I would not recommend using the AC in the shop. The moisture content of the exterior surfaces of the wood will be much different than the center of the boards.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View WoodKutter's profile


29 posts in 3430 days

#6 posted 05-26-2012 01:12 PM

If the boards warped almost as soon as they were cut, it is stress in the wood. If the wood was not dried properly, it can have quite a bit of stress in it. Also, internal stresses caused by limbs can be a factor. If you cut the 4 ft lengths and they were warped the next day, it is most likely because of moisture content. The moisture content of the board in the middle can be different than on the outer edges. When you expose new wood to the air the moisture content will seek to acclimate to your shop and can cause warping again. When I cut any long pieces, I always sticker, stack and weight down the shorter pieces for a day or two in order for them to settle down. I learned this the hard way when I first started ww. I had milled and cut several boards for a project and when I returned the next day they were warped all over the place.

View killerb's profile


150 posts in 2361 days

#7 posted 05-26-2012 03:02 PM

What wdhl said is spot on. All I use is figured wood. That is the nature of figure. Some stays nice and flat and some don’t. Get your top made and attached. Make sure you allow for expansion and contraction in attaching your top. Its beautiful stuff. bob

-- Bob

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