Live idge slab warping after kilm dried

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Forum topic by Mackswood posted 06-03-2019 01:03 PM 724 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 46 days

06-03-2019 01:03 PM

Hello everyone.
I’m a brand new woodworker. I made one table live edge with a skilled friend but she moved but I was hooked. I bought some slabs of wood and the bar top I’m currently working on is not flat it was kilm dried and currently sitting in my shop. I’m not a skilled wood worker or familiar with my tools but the sander lol. Any suggestions on what to do?

5 replies so far

View avsmusic1's profile


442 posts in 1102 days

#1 posted 06-03-2019 03:33 PM

First, is it moving still or is it just not flat?
If the moisture in the slab is different the atmosphere around it – it’s going to move. To that end, if your “shop” is notably different than the space it’ll go into when finished that’s something to think about

If you’re simply asking for flattening advice, look up “router sled” on youtube. Fundamentally it’s an excersize of removing material from high spots to level them out with the lower spots to create level planes.

View JayT's profile


6226 posts in 2628 days

#2 posted 06-03-2019 03:40 PM

Welcome to woodworking. If you are going to be serious about the hobby, and particularly working with live edge slabs, then you will have to have a way to flatten them. Typically getting one side flat is the purpose of a jointer in a machine based shop, but if working with large pieces or not having a jointer, then it’s either a router sled, planer sled (if the piece is narrow enough to fit through a planer) or hand planes. Regardless, you have to start with a flat surface to reference everything else off of. Please don’t make the common mistake of thinking that you can pull a slab flat with screws to your bar frame—it just doesn’t work.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

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3436 posts in 1898 days

#3 posted 06-03-2019 03:48 PM

A common method is a router sled and planer bit. Google that and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

The fact is was in a kiln doesn’t mean a lot. In fact, that is very likely a bad thing. It all depends on how they were dried. See if you can get that information. Thicker boards are not well suited for kiln drying. If they aren’t dried long and slow, there can be issues which you won’t find out about untill you start removing material.

FYI it would take 2-3 years for a 2” thick slab to acclimate air drying.

Bottom line: leave the slab to acclimate and do its thing for another 6-8 months before you flatten it or else it will probably continue to warp. Keep it in a well ventilated area with air movement on both sides of the slab.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View RobInVT's profile


6 posts in 52 days

#4 posted 06-04-2019 12:06 AM

Get a moisture meter to determine how wet the slab is. Once it reaches a reasonable dryness, use the router sled to flatten.

-- Everything Happens for a Reason. Make the Most of it!

View AZWoody's profile


1452 posts in 1641 days

#5 posted 06-04-2019 01:04 AM

Get a moisture meter to determine how wet the slab is. Once it reaches a reasonable dryness, use the router sled to flatten.

- RobInVT

This is the right answer. You have to know what you’re working with before you do any work with the wood.
Just because it’s kiln dried doesn’t mean the sawyer knew what he was doing. I’ve found that many people are getting into milling slabs and don’t put in all the necessary time and patience to make sure they’re properly dried before selling them. I’ve heard a lot of complaints from people who have bought slabs from various people in the large city near me.

Even if kiln dried properly, it still needs to acclimate to your home or wherever they will be placed. That takes time and monitoring and when it comes to flattening, that’s a whole other can of worms.

You can make a router sled or take it to a cabinet shop and ask them to do it or some places have community woodworking centers you can rent time. The cost and amount of work and time depends on the size of the slab.

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