Can I flatten this?

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Forum topic by muleskinner posted 464 days ago 726 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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668 posts in 1069 days

464 days ago

This is a pie crust table that sat in my parents living room for as long as I can remember. For the last few years it has sat in my sister’s garage. When she pulled it out, this was its condition.

Is there any chance of salvaging it.

I’m pretty sure it’s mahogany veneer and core. The veneer on the bottom has come loose but I think I can deal with that. What is making me dubious is that the bottom tier has curled on one side. The other side and the top tier are still flat. My initial thought was to clamp a couple sets of cauls across it and tighten over time. Is that approach going to be effective?

-- Visualize whirled peas

16 replies so far

View patron's profile


13018 posts in 1974 days

#1 posted 464 days ago

can’t hurt to try

won’t be any worse than it is already

maybe spritzer some water (on the bottom)
from time to time
make the bottom swell up some

good luck

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View oldnovice's profile


3710 posts in 2001 days

#2 posted 464 days ago

Not to be glib … oh yes, to be glib and to take a word from the old TV show Happy Days ”sit on it”

I think you have a nearly impossible task ahead of you!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View madts's profile (online now)


1247 posts in 973 days

#3 posted 464 days ago

I would take the top off. Sand the bottom top to open up the pores, mist it with water and put it in the sun. Keep an eye on it. It might bough the wrong way. If that is the case do the opposite.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View muleskinner's profile


668 posts in 1069 days

#4 posted 464 days ago

David, I’ve been trying to figure out the process that made it curl in the first place. So far I’m thinking that sitting in the garage, maybe the dankness (a concept, being in NM, you’re probably blissfully unaware of but that we of the PacNW are congenitally familiar :)) worked its way between the bottom veneer and the core. If that’s the case wouldn’t adding moisture to the bottom just increase the curl?

Hans, “nearly impossible” means it’s possible, right? :)

-- Visualize whirled peas

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Don W

14880 posts in 1200 days

#5 posted 464 days ago

if it comes apart you could try laying it on some damp grass in the sun. I’ve had it work for some lumber. I never tried a finished piece, but it may work.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View shipwright's profile


4928 posts in 1431 days

#6 posted 464 days ago

If it were me I’d find some matching veneer, trace a pattern from it, and make a new one with a more stable substrate than was used by the original manufacturer.
This looks a lot like one of those places where you might be able to fix it if you are willing to spend twice the time and then put up with “almost as good as new” (or worse).

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees.

View a1Jim's profile


112015 posts in 2210 days

#7 posted 464 days ago

I don’t think there’s a lot of hope for straightening this out . I guess if I were going to try I think I might try steam and then clamping it flat.

-- Custom furniture

View WDHLT15's profile (online now)


1099 posts in 1109 days

#8 posted 464 days ago

I hope there is hope, but I don’t think so.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT15 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln

View muleskinner's profile


668 posts in 1069 days

#9 posted 463 days ago

So it appears the consensus is that rescue is a quixotic quest. And in that tradition I think I’m going to carry on. I’m going to try putting some clamp pressure on it with a sandwich of plywood and a couple sets of cauls, stick it out in my pumphouse, check it every once in a while and see what happens. Maybe by fall it can be eased back into shape or you can all say “we told you so”.

Thanks all.

-- Visualize whirled peas

View redSLED's profile


687 posts in 525 days

#10 posted 463 days ago

Table top is toast!

Cut the top into 1” squares, mill each side square, then glue them back up randomly into a table top on top of MDF slab. Cut to size, mill and refinish as desired. That is, if you have nothing else to do.

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

View Sergio's profile


402 posts in 1325 days

#11 posted 463 days ago

Just an idea: dismantle the whole thing apart, save the legs and posts and make new tiers for it…

-- - Greetings from Brazil - --

View bondogaposis's profile


2491 posts in 984 days

#12 posted 463 days ago

Pretty hopeless I’d say. But you may as well try to clamp it flat, while you make plans to make another top.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View pintodeluxe's profile


3334 posts in 1446 days

#13 posted 463 days ago

Should be fine, just run it over the jointer a couple times.
You have a 36” jointer , right?

I would keep the memories, and part with the pie table.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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717 posts in 931 days

#14 posted 463 days ago

looks like you need some of that table magic stuff spray it on turn out the light count to 126 and turn the light back on

-- Stevo, work in tha city woodshop in the country

View Dallas's profile


2869 posts in 1120 days

#15 posted 463 days ago

Sure, it should be easy enough to flatten with the proper tools…..

...... just sayin.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

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