Reply by Woodknack

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Posted on keeping small table flat

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13057 posts in 3012 days

#1 posted 09-15-2016 07:22 AM

Finishing the underside will not prevent warping. Just plan on finishing the top. See PopWood article by Bob Flexner on wive s tales regarding underside prep.

- Smitty_Cabinetshop

Flexner is wrong on this and I’ve debunked it before. If you read his explanation carefully it doesn’t even make sense. Ditto for Schwartz who has bought into Flexner’s mistake. Partly they base their conclusion on the examination of antiques but the problem is they are only examining the ones that survived and not all the ones that failed. What if 100 tables were built identically, 98 fail and 2 survive … if you only examine the survivors, you will draw a false conclusion and that is what happened. In Flexner’s case he also is contradicting his earlier work about wood movement and finishes, you can’t have it both ways … either a finish impedes moisture transfer or it doesn’t. There is no scenario where a finish impedes moisture transfer except specifically on the topside of tables. He lost his marbles with that theory.

Top and bottom should be finished equally and in turn .. top, bottom, top, bottom, etc. It’s all about airflow and moisture gain/loss. If you use quartersawn you significantly reduce the risk. Worst case scenario … I’m wrong but you follow my advice and the top doesn’t cup. Best case scenario … I’m right and you follow my advice and the top doesn’t cup. Note, there is no 100% guaranteed way to prevent a piece of wood from warping, it’s all about hedging your bets and doing the right things to equalize moisture transfer.

-- Rick M,

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