Dealing with bent, twisted southern yellow pine?

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Forum topic by Brett posted 08-08-2012 01:47 PM 1918 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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660 posts in 2652 days

08-08-2012 01:47 PM

I’m building a Roubo workbench from southern yellow pine. I have two boards, each 1.25”x4”x48”, that I want to face-glue to create a stretcher that is 2.5”x4”x48”. The pine is very good quality but somewhat bowed and/or twisted (one board is bowed about 0.5” along its length and the other is twisted about 15 degrees, which is the angle a second hand on an analog clock moves in 2.5 seconds—a fairly substantial twist). I’m trying to decide whether to replace these boards or use them as they are.

If I choose to use them, here’s my plan: (1) Lay the boards on a flat workbench and clamp them very tightly onto the workbench, making sure the boards are straight, lined up correctly, and in full contact with each other; (2) drill holes for two rows of screws, with holes every 4”; (3) Drive the screws into the boards, remove the clamps, and check that the assemblies are square; (4) If they assemblies are square, remove the screws, glue the boards together, clamp the boards together onto the flat workbench, and put the screws back in; (5) Leave the boards in clamps for 24 hours until the glued is completely dry.

If I follow this procedure, will the glued & screwed assemblies stay straight or will the tension in the boards eventually cause them to warp or come apart? I could buy new lumber, but it’s hard finding southern yellow pine that is as clear as the boards I have, plus I don’t have a powered jointer or planer, so it’s not a simple matter to thickness the boards from 1.5” down to the required 1.25”.


-- More tools, fewer machines.

6 replies so far

View MrRon's profile


4722 posts in 3213 days

#1 posted 08-08-2012 04:39 PM

I don’t think it will work. It may take some of the twist out, but some will remain. You could try wetting down the boards, clamp them until dry and see if that works. You could also rip boards from plywood and laminate them together.

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2234 days

#2 posted 08-08-2012 05:48 PM

Without seeing how the grain is oriented in those boards and knowing what type of environment they’re going to be exposed to, this is going to be a tough call.

The pine down here loves to twist plus it’s fairly soft. I don’t know what your’s is like, but I don’t know if I’d go through all that trouble to try to make something work on a workbench and then have to replace it down the line.

Post some pics up of the boards and ends. Thanks.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View Loren's profile (online now)


10283 posts in 3617 days

#3 posted 08-08-2012 06:11 PM

Hand plane one side of the twisted board flat. Glue the bowed
board to the flat face. Then let the glue-up settle and see
how it moves. Then square it up and work with it as one

View bondogaposis's profile


4690 posts in 2320 days

#4 posted 08-08-2012 07:07 PM

I think you need to joint and flatten the boards in question first. Then glue them up or you will have problems for ever.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Infernal2's profile


107 posts in 2167 days

#5 posted 08-08-2012 08:42 PM

Considering the price and the relatively small amount of wood, why not just replace them? Save the pieces for a shorter run on another project. 15% isn’t huge, but over a 4’ stretcher it would be a pain to deal with and in my mind, would be to remove and keep the same relative thickness. I’d also think with that much spring in the boards (between the two parts) would create too many easily avoidable possibilities for failure.

View Brett's profile


660 posts in 2652 days

#6 posted 08-08-2012 11:10 PM

Thanks, everyone. The boards were already thickness-sanded to 1.25”, after having sat in my garage for a couple months. The grain is angled across the wood—definitely not in a quartersawn orientation. As much as it pains me, I guess I’ll have to start over—I don’t want to have to replace a stretcher on a workbench with drawbored mortise-and-tenon joints.

-- More tools, fewer machines.

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