There is nothing as annoying as carefully storing your wood for use at a later time only to retrieve it and find that it is warped. It can be very aggravating and stressful at the same time given the fact you had planned to use it for a significant construction. In this case, you will be forced to postpone your construction to find ways on how to realign it.
The trickiest part and question in this scenario will be how to go about the unwarping process, especially if you have no previous knowledge or experience on how to unwarp wood. There are some ways to go about on unwarping timber. However, before we go into discussing these methods let us first discuss what a wood warp is and what causes wood warping.
What is a wood warp?
There is no proper definition of what a wood warp is, but on a general view, wood that is warped will display twisting characteristics or bending or shrinkage on some points. Wood warps in relation to the annual rings on the original tree from which the piece of wood came from.
Also, wood can be said to be warped if the edges seem to be higher or lower than the center. Read Methods on How to Stabilize Wood
What causes wood to warp?
Climate and environmental factors are the primary causes for wood warps. When the weather changes to be extremely humid, then the part of wood exposed to humidity will absorb water in excess making the moisture content uneven on either side of the wood.
Similarly to when wood is subjected to hot weather or high temperatures, the exposed part will dry out making the moisture content also uneven on each side. All these changes lead to bending, shrinking and o twisting of the wood warp.
How to unwarp wood
There are many ways to straighten out warped wood. Of the many methods woodworkers have used, moisture, heat, and pressure seem to be the easiest to pull options in successfully unwarping wood. Read on for more on these methods;
While we have stated that heat is a leading cause for wood warping, interestingly, it is also an excellent remedy towards straightening out warped wood. To unwarp wood with heat;
- Clamp both sides of your piece of wood on a surface like on a table or vertical post
- Next, pass the heat over your piece of wood as you put more stress on the warped area. Do this until the wood is pretty hot but be carefully not to scorch it.
- When the wood is satisfactorily hot, try bending it manually and slowly while gauging the extent of bend with your eyes
- Lastly, let the wood cool for it to hold the straightened out/new shape.
However, if you overdo the heating until the wood warps differently, you will need to reheat again to undo the bending.
2. Dampen cloth and iron
Like heat, moisture causes wood to warp, at the same time wood can be unwarped by the use of moisture. If warping occurred as a result of wood exposed to excessive moisture, subjecting it to a similar treatment will help to bring it back in line.
The best way to unwarp wood with moisture is by using a dampen cloth and hot iron.
- The first step for this regimen is to get a cloth and dampen it with water. For this, you just soak the cloth in water or totally drench it and then drain out the excess water
- Secondly, place the piece of wood in between the damp cloth. Here, you should ensure that the piece of cloth you hold is big enough to cover the entire piece of wood.
- Once you have covered the wood with the damp cloth, put it on an ironing board or any flat surface that can sustain heat.
- Take out your iron and heat it until hot. Next, iron the wood with the damp cloth on. Iron it like you would normally iron a piece of cloth, be gentle and do not exert too much pressure on the wood as this can make it break.
- Do this repeatedly until the wood is totally unwarped. Once you are done, leave the wood to dry before using it.
3. Moist cloth, nylon, and pressure
At this stage, you all know and understand that wood warping is majorly as a result of uneven moisture content in the wood. When the moisture content is uneven from side to side in wood, then it will be subjected to bends, twists, and curves; this, in this case, is called warping. Pressure, in this situation, can be used to correct this situation and achieve desirable results.
How do you unwarp wood using pressure?
- To begin with, you will need a moist cloth, nylon paper, the warped wood and some weights, and of course patience
- Once you have all you need, take the damp cloth, and wrap it around the warped wood so that it covers it completely, especially the warped area
- Once you have covered the wood with a wet cloth, take the nylon paper and wrap around it so that the moisture stays locked in.
- Next take the weight (this can be a heavy log, a heavy stone/ brick or just something that will put much pressure on the wood) and put in on the convex side of the warp and leave it there
- You need to leave the wood with the wet cloth, nylon paper, and weight on for some time like 2 to 3 days or even a week for it to naturally dry in that state. This will significantly help the wood to unwarp better and dry while holding its new straightened out shape
As discussed in our previous post on Top 5 Useful Woodworking Tips and Tricks You’ll Ever Need, you realize that as a woodworker, it is beneficial that you learn and be equipped with the essential and necessary wood working skills. Skills that can help you in times of need and when a professional cannot be of help at the very particular moment.
So as you put into practice the above methods on how to unwarp wood, remember that patience is key if the wood does not straighten out like you would want it to be, repeat the processes used to unwarp it until you reach your desired state of unwarping. Also, you can use mechanical means to unwarp wood. If you need to explore this method, then search for more information about it online.