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Warped desk top advice needed

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Blog entry by ohgeez2 posted 05-05-2021 06:26 PM 522 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hello Lumber Jocks. I’m having wood workers block. We (my wife) purchased a Victorian reproduction set of furniture. It matches the rest of our furniture set. Well, I have repaired and refinished most of the furniture pieces except the last piece, “The desk”. All the furniture is a stained white oak veneer, with a medium darker oak stain. The top on the desk is warped on the ends, I’m talking about 3/8+ rise. I tried bracing to top to the base, and it looked pretty good upside down. But when i got it on level ground it rocked (not in a good way), because it raised the middle partition. So, taking out my braces, (what a good job I did too!) I put a 4” hole on the finished side of the desk, that I can handle. Back to the top. I pulled the desk top off and put it on my bench with a straight edge width wise. It had a bow about 3/8th+ in the center looking at it from the front. Here’s where I could use some wisdom. I want to salvage the top, because it has great grain and flecking. I thought okay, I could rout the bottom side and put 1/8th in bars from side to side (width wise) , or maybe kerf the bottom side front to back in several places and fill it with bondo and clamp it flat (I can feel your eyes rolling). I don’t want to screw up the top, so that’s where I’m at. I have maybe one shot at this so, I’m all ears. Any helpful advice would be appreciated. I’m am looking forward to the challenge of this repair, seriously.

Thank you Lumber Dudes,

Ohgeez



5 comments so far

View metolius's profile

metolius

430 posts in 1849 days


#1 posted 05-06-2021 12:32 AM

I don’t see bondo holding up against expansion.

Maybe its a calling to experiment with c-channel battens

https://ambwoodandsteeldesign.square.site/product/c-channel-powder-coat-finish/17

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Pd6rEbkfo0

-- derek / oregon

View lightweightladylefty's profile

lightweightladylefty

3655 posts in 4831 days


#2 posted 05-06-2021 06:05 AM

Is your desktop bare wood now? If so, you might consider steaming or wetting the wood. There are numerous articles on straightening warped wood that might be helpful. This one had some good information. Possibly the combination of moisture/heat and reinforcement so it stays flat could be an answer.

I had some success with using a hot iron with a wet towel but that was on some approximately 1/4”-thick plywood that I made from walnut, oak, and maple that wasn’t flat.

Let us know what you try and how it works out. Wishing you success!

L/W

-- “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin -- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View ohgeez2's profile

ohgeez2

11 posts in 2724 days


#3 posted 05-06-2021 05:22 PM

Hello Lumber peoples, Thank you for your input. I’m considering all options. Although I did scrap the Bondo idea. The top is veneered with quarter sawn white oak. It is oak veneer, particle board, then birch on the (or poplar) skin on the opposite side. I can’t believe they used particle board, the other pieces are at least plywood centers. I’m a little hesitant using a lot of water, because of the particle board acting like a sponge and swelling. I even considered routing the entire back, dampening it and putting weight on a flat surface, then putting a new piece of plywood, like 5/8th or 1/2 inch. Any thoughts on that? The desk is only about 42” wide. Not a huge top, just a big challenge, for me.

Thanks again for your thoughts,

Ohgeez

View ohgeez2's profile

ohgeez2

11 posts in 2724 days


#4 posted 05-06-2021 06:14 PM

The top has not been stripped yet. It’s sitting on my workmate right now, laughing at me.

Ohgeez

View lightweightladylefty's profile

lightweightladylefty

3655 posts in 4831 days


#5 posted 05-06-2021 06:37 PM

Is there any chance you could release the veneer from the substrate? Maybe using heat? If the veneer is extremely thin that could be pretty difficult.

Have you tried placing it on a flat surface, putting something in the middle of it (about 3/4” thick), then weighting or clamping each end and leaving it for a few days? If you could get it flat that way, you could then add steel reinforcement underneath to keep it straight (although getting the metal to hold to the particleboard would be a challenge). Particleboard warps with very little weight on it which made it a poor choice for a horizontal surface that wasn’t reinforced or supported.

I had a similar problem with a worktop made of MDF. I should have taken the first person’s advice and flipped the piece over. It would have eventually flattened out. Instead I reinforced it and screwed it to the cabinets throughout the center area and . . . it has never been flat! Live and learn!

L/W

-- “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin -- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

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