Wood moves. Is this fixable?

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Forum topic by skatefriday posted 10-05-2014 07:18 PM 1276 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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424 posts in 1680 days

10-05-2014 07:18 PM

Well yes, wood does move. I ripped these three rail/stiles out
if a single 8” wide piece of maple that was pretty flat before I

Is this usable or fixable? Note that I do not have a jointer
but I’ve been able to edge joint with a router with fair
success, but this is a different direction.

10 replies so far

View Woodknack's profile


12430 posts in 2577 days

#1 posted 10-05-2014 07:35 PM

Depends on the cause. If it bowed because of moisture inequality then you might get some bow out by allowing more moisture back into the concave side. People usually leave it laying on wet grass, concave down, in the sunlight. This happens either because it was finished on only one side, or was not stickered and stored properly. Basically one side is open to the air, the other is not, so one side gains or loses moisture faster than the other side. If it bowed because of some other internal stress then you’re screwed.

-- Rick M,

View exelectrician's profile


2328 posts in 2625 days

#2 posted 10-05-2014 08:30 PM

You could rout or saw a slot and put in a spline, or you could use biscuits, or you could use a hand plane and glue and clamp them, or you could put pocket screws in from the sides to hold them, I have done all of these and they all work, But..
You should first follow all of Rick M suggestions

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2887 days

#3 posted 10-06-2014 12:51 AM

I’d cull that board and replace it. You may be able to cut shorter useful pieces from it but it has WAY too much bow to use as is.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View bondogaposis's profile


5086 posts in 2548 days

#4 posted 10-06-2014 02:20 AM

The wood is usable in shorter pieces.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 3155 days

#5 posted 10-06-2014 04:09 PM

I have had success with weighting a piece like that to bend it in the opposite direction, but that is a lot of bend. If another piece is not available you could try bending by forcing it to bend in opposite direction at least two times as much as it is currently bent for 2-3 days; more if it doesn’t work. You will need to let it bend back for 2-3 days as well to see if it worked or not.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2567 days

#6 posted 10-06-2014 04:20 PM

You didn’t set these boards down on that concrete floor over night(s), did you? That’ll help warp them. Been there, except I did it with a glued up panel (never again). The side that’s down does not get as much air flow, and the cool/warm cycles can condense moisture on the floor. Could happen on any surface, though. If that’s the case, I’d try stacking/stickering them for a few days and see if they straighten out a bit.

If this happened right after you cut them, there was probably tension released and the wood reacted that way. In that case, the piece will probably need to be replaced.

If you’re not in the habit of milling to final dimensions in stages, and stacking/stickering the parts in between milling, you may want to start. I don’t get very much time in the garage these days, so leaving the parts stacked for a couple days is pretty easy and doesn’t hold me up.

Edit : If these rails/stiles are for the face frame of that piece behind it, you can get some warp out when you clamp and pocket screw it to the box. Doors will require much truer rails/stiles.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3774 days

#7 posted 10-06-2014 04:48 PM

Before you cut them up into smaller pieces, try wetting the convex side of the boards put them on stickers (that means nothing flat on the bench or floor) and put some weight on them or clamp them so your taking the bow out or even a little more. Like Ed said this looks like one side of the boards took in moisture and the other side dried out .

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View JAAune's profile


1850 posts in 2514 days

#8 posted 10-06-2014 06:11 PM

Steaming them, doing a slight over-bend then clamping flat for a couple weeks would probably do the trick. That’s a lot of work and if the wood moved that much, it’s likely there are internal stresses inside such as reaction wood. I’d prefer not to use it for critical parts that need to stay flat.

I’d be inclined to do as others have said and use that for shorter pieces and get a different board for the long part. It’s easier and less chance for headaches down the road.

-- See my work at and

View pintodeluxe's profile


5797 posts in 3011 days

#9 posted 10-06-2014 08:23 PM

If they will be attached to plywood, or other framing members with glue or biscuits etc, they may well be usable. If you intend to build a coffee table or other freestanding furniture, it may not be worth the headache. Even a jointer would render a pretty thin board from that.

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

View skatefriday's profile


424 posts in 1680 days

#10 posted 10-07-2014 07:09 PM

They were not stored on the concrete floor, although I do have
some plywood stored flat on the floor laying on some stickers made
from other scrap plywood.

I ended up cutting into smaller pieces, they are intended to be
milled into door pieces for mission style doors for the face frame
in the photo behind it. They appear to maybe be usable.

And yeah, I discovered that milling oversize and in stages can
be necessary. That face frame is about 3/8” narrower than it
was originally intended to be, as I ripped to size and then had
to edge joint with a router. Oops.

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