Wood twisting

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Forum topic by Rookie07 posted 02-22-2013 10:15 AM 2751 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 1943 days

02-22-2013 10:15 AM

Topic tags/keywords: wood saw working frame project

Short and sweet we are having horrible problems with the wood twisting. We built an entire frame for a tank stand and it wobbles bad. We went back to the lumber store bought new wood and as soon as we got home started on it….. It wobbles. We pulled the wood from the middle of the stack and checked it out it looked straight. Once we cut the wood and got it all together it wobbled just like the other one. Could this be because of the table saw or what? I am ready to have a huge fire and enjoy the wood one way or another. This stand has to hold up to over 1400 lbs so it has to be almost perfect. Any advice is appreciated.

15 replies so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29383 posts in 2361 days

#1 posted 02-22-2013 10:47 AM

I am assuming that you are using pine. It was probably not fully dry when you bought it and the twisting is from it warping as it dried.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 2116 days

#2 posted 02-22-2013 11:54 AM

Warping is something that is a constant problem for me as well. I share your frustration.

As Monte said, I suspect you’re using pine. Whenever I’ve bought pine (primarily from Home Depot or Lowe’s) it twists itself up mere hours after going into my shop. Partly I think it’s because pine tends to move. But also, as Monte said, they don’t dry the stuff enough.

But almost all wood is going to warp some when you bring it home. When the temperature and humidity the wood is living in changes the wood moves. It’s aggravating and to be honest, I don’t think there’s a way to stop it.

Quartersawn wood tends to be more stable than flatsawn wood. Of course quartersawn costs quite a bit more.

And different species of wood move more than others. Beech, for example, will turn itself into a pretzel. Whereas I’ve seen very little movement in ipe.

I store my wood in horizontal stacks (I think it’s called stickers) which seems to help a little, though not a lot.

Once the project is put together there really isn’t much you can do. To flatten out a board you can run it over a jointer. The downside being that this will result in quite a bit of wood being lost.

One thing that can help with wobbling. If your stand has legs you can get leveling table feet. You can adjust the height of each individual leg to get things nice and stable in relation to the floor. I use these things all the time and they’re only about 3 bucks at Home Depot.

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3182 days

#3 posted 02-22-2013 01:26 PM

Ditto the above. Let it stay in the shop a good while before milling. How long depends on how wet it is.

BTW, I’d go to an actual hardwood/lumber supplier. If your “lumber store” is Lowes or Home Depot, you are probably paying a lot of money for wood that’s not quite ready.

-- jay,

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 2975 days

#4 posted 02-22-2013 01:47 PM

Whenever I buy pre-dimensioned lumber at Lowes, I make sure it is straight and has no issues. I also buy it and use it at home pretty quickly. Have not had any issues with it twisting. If it is stuff that I mill up (at another location, not at home), I sticker as soon as I bring it in the basement, I do not wait at all. Then I let it sit stickered for at least a couple of weeks. That seems to stabilize it pretty good and haven’t had any issues from that method either. Maybe you could try doing that to see if it cures your problems.

-- Mike

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2202 posts in 3182 days

#5 posted 02-22-2013 02:09 PM

I agree, Mike. I typically work it so quickly that I don’t have problems…but I would also use it in a way that the glue-up would resist any twisting after milling. In other words, with wood like this, it’s not typically used for a big table top that can cup shortly after glue-up. If you need it for that, sticker it and let it dry in your shop environment.

-- jay,

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 2975 days

#6 posted 02-23-2013 12:30 AM

That’s a great point, Jay. Using it in a way to resist twisting is a good strategy. I also agree that stuff from Lowes et al, isn’t good for tabletops and show piece stuff.

-- Mike

View Rookie07's profile


5 posts in 1943 days

#7 posted 02-23-2013 03:33 AM

After six hours of shopping we were too tired to build the frame the first night so we waited…big boo boo. So we started fresh with the old frame still around so we could see why it needed done. We just finished the new frame and this is what it looks like.

Is it possible to soak the wood for a bit and redo the old frame to sell while it is still wet? I’d hate to throw away so much time and money when it may possibly be salvaged. The second photo is the old frame. As you can see we made some changes not big but we did. Instead of going with 4×4s we stuck with 2×4s and decided to put the supports in before we set the top and bottom of the frame together, we hadn’t gotten that far yet with the old one. This is my first big project where I am running the show and my hubby has to sit around and do what I say so if it still looks crappy please be nice about it lol

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile


932 posts in 2378 days

#8 posted 02-23-2013 03:42 AM

1 your right side is taller than your left.
2 The sides of your stand lean out at the top.
3 either you got some weird photography tricks going on or your cuts just aren’t precise enough.

Check to make sure your saws are square for your cuts, I’m looking and thinking they are not. Also it looks like your top deck is longer than your bottom deck…

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View Rookie07's profile


5 posts in 1943 days

#9 posted 02-23-2013 03:46 AM

One major problem we ran into was with the table saw. I zeroed it but the zero wasn’t zero so after 15 20 mins of working with the stupid thing we finally got it straight. This was a stressful and learning experience. The screws we used were horrible so we switched from a regular to a star and bought new bits. Then our counter sink broke so we had to buy a new one of those. We lost the key for our drill twice thanks to the drain. Still after all of our bad luck and money spent we still saved about $200. I love this project so far but that may change when I do the sides. Tomorrow it should be done and ready for staining and clear coating. Thanks for all the advice it is greatly appreciated.

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5 posts in 1943 days

#10 posted 02-23-2013 03:48 AM

It is the angle. My garage has a horrible slant where we moved it for the pic

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5 posts in 1943 days

#11 posted 02-23-2013 03:50 AM

And the top is a bit longer because the tank will sit inside the 2×4s which is also why the top boards are different than the bottom

View MT_Stringer's profile


3172 posts in 3254 days

#12 posted 02-23-2013 04:13 AM

I am building a couple of my fishy coffee tables. The frames are made out of southern yellow pine (plain old #2 studs). I ripped the edge off all of them and ripped several pieces from a couple of 2×8’s I had spare in the shop. Several of the boards twisted both ways.

What I did was run them across the joiner until I had a flat side, then jointed the two edges. Next I ran them through the planer to get the second side flat. All is good with the world. I have 8 pieces glued up in one bundle to make the four legs for the first coffee table.

Only by joining and planing the boards could I have saved them. Obviously the 2x’s are not full size any more but that is part of my plans. The legs will be about 2 7/8 square and the frame pieces are 1 3/8×3 inches.

Note: It also helped to cut the boards in to shorter lengths. Much easier to work on the crooked ones that way.

Note 2: My garage floor is also slanted and very unlevel but my work bench/outfeed table/assembly table is dead flat and level.
Hope this helps.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Marty5965's profile


158 posts in 1968 days

#13 posted 03-16-2013 12:12 PM

2×4 dimensional lumber is more likely to warp and twist than larger sizes. I have had better luck over the years by ripping smaller pieces from 2×8 or 2×12 stock. You can find the odd quarter sawn board at the Borg but its pure luck.

-- Marty, Columbus, OH, learning every day....

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2211 days

#14 posted 03-16-2013 05:28 PM

There’s a lot of crap lumber out there these days, especially from big box stores. Not only is it likely not dry, it’s often from scrubby little trees and more than likely contains the pith. And if it comes from trees that didn’t grow straight, it’s full of stress and is guaranteed to twist, no matter how long you dry it.

As Marty5965 says, you are likely better off buying big boards and ripping them to size, avoiding the pith area if it’s present.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View Dakkar's profile


324 posts in 1951 days

#15 posted 03-16-2013 05:58 PM

Whenever I feel I have to buy some lumber at one of the Big Borge stores and I don’t use it immediately I clamp stacks of it together tightly. This seems to slow the process, but you sure want to use it ASAP.

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