Avoiding wood twist and warp for new table top

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Forum topic by contento posted 10-13-2017 12:40 PM 855 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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47 posts in 2410 days

10-13-2017 12:40 PM

I’m getting ready to start on my next dining room table top (I’ve done a couple now as well as some benches). In my past pieces, I’ve had some varying issues with warp and twist. I say varying, because it seemed like no rhyme or reason to it. For example, I did 2 identical benches with wood from the same boards (not the highest grade but all the same), acclimated for a couple of weeks, then joined and planed. I biscuit-joined them, clamped them over and under to equalize stress. One was dead solid square. The other twisted and not just a little. Had to toss it and start over. The last dining table top I did twisted a bit, but I was able to correct it.

I want to do everything I can to avoid having to correct the next one as I’m going to be buying some very expensive exotic stock. So I guess what I’m looking for are your tips and tricks. What do you do to avoid having to deal with twist and warp? How do you join boards (biscuits, just glue, pocket screws, etc)?

As for acclimation, my shop is my garage in FL. I run a little window A/C unit in it to try and help normalize the temp to home interior temps, but humidity can be pretty high. I assume I should be acclimating the boards in the shop vs. in the house, correct?

I appreciate the help!

6 replies so far

View Gilley23's profile


489 posts in 1229 days

#1 posted 10-13-2017 12:50 PM

If the humidity differences are that much, I would acclimate in the house and keep it in the shop as little as possible. Do you use a moisture meter?

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47 posts in 2410 days

#2 posted 10-13-2017 12:54 PM

That makes sense, but the issue is space. I can store in the house in board-form both for initial acclimation and post-milling, but once it’s glued up and curing, having that in my living room might not go over very well with the wife BUT if that’s the best plan of attack, I’ll buy her something pretty and she’ll get over it.

View EricTwice's profile


248 posts in 1380 days

#3 posted 10-13-2017 01:31 PM

Don’t be in a hurry
I would buy the material oversize (If the top is 7/8 thick, buy 5/4 rough)
Sticker it. Let it sit in your shop rough for several weeks to a acclimatize, before you start.
(Hot, cold humid dry it’s all good, leave it alone and let it move)
cut to rough length and joint flat. straighten, but don’t worry about perfect.
plane to about 3/16 over and resticker it. (wood is oversized length width and thickness leave it for another week.)
straighten, reflatten and mill to thickness

The wood will have moved all it wants and should be fairly stable at this point.

Note, this is true with most woods, some like sapele (also known as twisty wood) do not stop moving

-- nice recovery, They should pay extra for that mistake, Eric E.

View PPK's profile


1789 posts in 1656 days

#4 posted 10-13-2017 01:42 PM

I’m not sure how much help this’ll be, but I just came across this short article, and it is pretty good for showing HOW the wood will move.

I sometimes glue up panels with the grain alternating, so that it cancels out the large amount of warping.

Here’s a picture the Wood Whisperer shows:

-- Pete

View ChefHDAN's profile


1730 posts in 3696 days

#5 posted 10-13-2017 01:48 PM

For tops especially I always try to find as much quarter sawn as possible, went to using cauls instead of biscuits, and find best results doing larger tops in sections to permit skip planing them before they exceed the width of my planer. The flat sawn ^^ above I’ve found to have the most movement and subsequent frustration.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

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47 posts in 2410 days

#6 posted 10-13-2017 01:53 PM

all good stuff!

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