The table is (I think) 3 solid oak planks joined together.
The only fixing at the 'big end' is a vertical pole under the middle
So I can't see anything pulling against anything.
I think it is just the effect where the upper side of the wood dries more
than the underside and the whole thing bends.
The same would happen if it wasn't attached to anything.
At least that is what happens to our cork bath mat which is rather an
extreme example :-)
If you leave a plank in the sun so the upper side is dried but the lower
side is cooler and a little damp then the plank bows up at the edges.
I think this is what is happening (but much more gently) here.
I was hoping I could reverse the shrinkage in the upper surface and slowly
bring the wood back to true.
Are there accepted ways to add moisture (or oil) to wood to encourage it to
On Wed, 6 Aug 2003 20:55:14 +0100, "David W.E. Roberts"
So this is literally just the three boards? Presumably they're
biscuited together ?
It sounds like a lousy design, because of the warping problem.
Depending on how you stack the three planks (whether you put them all
the same way round, or alternate them), you can control some of this
warping, or at least switch it between one big C curve, or a
The boards are too wide. They should be narrower, even if this needs
more of them. Three boards is too few for something the size of a
table. My workbench top is 2" oak and that's ripped down to 3" & 4"
wide strips to keep it flat, even though I got the timber in as 12"
Much though depends on the tree's size (which is hard to guess for oak
- they come in all sizes). If this was a big tree, then the boards
would be a lot more stable than something small with highly curved
I'm not keen on this sort of thickness for a tabletop. It's too thick
to hold it flat by fastening it to a frame, and it's too thin to stay
stable on its own. I'd think some warping is inevitable, but it ought
to be controllable to reasonable limits. If you're going to do this
sort of simplistic rustic style though, you need to use quartersawn
timber - use radially cut boards, so that their movement is simply
shrinkage, not curvature.
A table like this should also have breadboard ends, to give some
control against movement.
To fix it, I think you've got no hope with trying to soak it, not much
chance trying to nail it down to a new subframe, and the only option
is awkward. If I had to do this, I'd saw each board in half, flip half
of them over, join them back together and then thickness the lot flat
again. A lot of work !
Ooops! My bad!
After reading this I went and had a proper look at the wood.
I had assumed three planks because of the colour differences, but in fact it
is made up of 120mm (just under 5") strips.
The rings aren't highly curved, and some strips have been reversed so the
rings curve down not up.
The whole thing has bread board edges (in fact we also have two bread boards
made by the kitchen company from the offcuts).
The problem area is the round(ish) end where the wood does not run the full
length - this is effectively a 40" wide run of wood trimmed down to 28" on
the shaft of the 'P' with the head of the 'P' angled off to make an octagon
(or al least 6 segments of one - if you cut the other two the end would fall
The overhanging bit has 3 faces of the octagon, and is not stabilised by
running the full length of the table.
On this piece the rings curve upwards and are not balanced by a downward
curve - this is probably the source of the problem :-(
Because of the bread board edges even chopping a strip out and reversing it
would still give a wierd effect because it would be undercut where the wood
Guess we will just have to live with it.
Oh, ye of little faith!
I have been covering the top of the table where the warp is with damp
teatowels for about a week now, and the table has slowly straightened out.
Picture (as requested) will appear eventually.
I guess I should now scrape the surface to remove old oil and other crap,
and seal it with plenty of teak oil to stop it drying out again.
Amazing how it just flattened out over time.
The art of Bonsai with dead things?
How will resurfacing help?
I would have a table thinner on one side.
It could still warp further.
It could also 'unwarp' back to the original state.
I have demonstrated that the warping is not a one way thing, so it is
apparent that the table would not be stabilised when warped and resurfaced.
Either way I would also have to recut the 'bread board' edges which would
then look unbalanced because of the different thicknesses.
I will try to reduce moisture loss from the upper surface by treating it
Bearing in mind that it took 4 years to warp and one week to return to
normal using damp tea towels I think this is a sustainable strategy.
Andy Dingley said previously "To fix it, I think you've got no hope with
trying to soak it" (not picking on you Andy, just pointing out that opinions
vary) but in fact keeping the top damp did the trick.
So I think that 'moisturising' may be the third way :-)
So I think that any talk of recutting, resurfacing etc. is probably a little
Besides which, it would be a b*gger of a job removing the table from its
fixings and then refitting.
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