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Thread: Ideas to keep wood from warping for plaques?

  1. #1
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    Question Ideas to keep wood from warping for plaques?

    Hey all! Wanted to get some expert advice about some oak/walnut that is glued together we are making some plaques out of. I will attach some photos so you all can see what we are doing. The problem we have run into is the wood that is glued together is wanting to warp in a matter of a few days. Some of them will be in a tin border screwed in, but some will not. Wanting a little input on what we could do to help in minimize them from warping.

    Thanks in advance!!20190514_112603[1].jpg20190514_112414[1].jpg20190514_112358[1].jpg20190514_112345[1].jpg

  2. #2
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    Verify moisture content, it should be 6-8% if kiln dried. Air dried will be around 14% or so and can be unpredictable depending on your climate. Try a bit narrower boards for the glue up (3" or so). Allow lumber to acclimate to your shop temp/humidity a few days before processing, which is tough to do when you want or need to get going with it. Try to flip every other board for heartwood sapwood as best you can and still keep an acceptable face appearance, which it looks like you have done on the one shown (I look at the end of the boards and think smile-frown-smile-frown), but sometimes you just can't do it. This helps the movement of one to cancel out the other. Make sure edges are square to the face. When clamping, make sure you pipe clamp from each side of the glue up. Two clamps on the bottom and one on top or 3/2 etc., depending on length of strips.
    Scott

    If guns kill people, I guess pencils misspell words, cars drive drunk and spoons make people fat.

    "Those who hammer their guns into plows, will plow for those who do not" - Thomas Jefferson




  3. #3
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    Looks like you boards are a bit wide for glue-ups, that said here are few tips. (that you may already know)

    How are you milling your lumber?
    To mill your boards:
    1. Cut to rough LxW (final size plus 1/4")
    2. Joint one face
    3. Plane other face (alternate faces till you get the correct thickness)
    4. Joint one edge
    5. Cut to the correct size at the table saw

    How wide are your boards?
    Your width should be 4-6" or smaller.

    What is the moisture of your lumber?
    8% would be great
    Kyle Stapleton
    River Falls Renaissance Academy
    Math/Technology Education Teacher


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  4. #4
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    The best way I know to keep a glue up from warping is to glue in cross grain boards on the back of your piece. It doesn't take much thickness to stop warping. If you can cover the back of your piece with 1/4" boards cross grain, that should keep your plaque flat as the proverbial board forever.
    ShopBot Details:
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  5. #5
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    Based on the sizes of the plaques, I would rip the boards to 2"-3" then glue them back in to a panel. The problem you are facing is that you are taking some wood from one side. This will release internal tensions and allow the panel to warp. Using 2-3" wide boards will help reduce this. One thing I've done is to v-carve a company signature on the back of whatever I'm doing. Not much wood is removed but it seems to be enough to lessen the warp.

    Wood moves. There isn't much you can do but engineer for that movement. You CAN'T stop it. I've watched furniture tear itself apart because wood movement was taken into account. Be careful with the metal frame around the plaque. If there is not enough room for wood movement, the plaque could split or buckle.
    Don
    Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks, LLC
    www.dlwoodworks.com
    ***********************************
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    If you make something idiot proof, all they do is create a better idiot.

  6. #6
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    Awesome guys!

    Thanks again for all the Great suggestions! I knew this was the place to ask!!

  7. #7
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    Chad, if you can chose the wood you are using (ie, not just buying what you can find at a big box store), you would be better off with quarter-sawn boards. All of the boards you picture are cut in a way that is called "flat-sawn". That is the least stable, most likely to warp cut of wood that you can use. But unfortunately, flat-sawn boards are the cheapest boards you can buy. That is because that is the easiest way to cut a log.

    In my personal opinion, the pronounced grain ("flame pattern") of flat-sawn wood also detracts/detracts significantly from the text and art work that is carved into such boards. Quarter sawn boards have a more refined, parallel grain, which does not visually detract from the text and associated design.

    And, for anyone who knows about which types of wood are the lowest cost, the flat sawn boards also communicate low-cost. Where quarter-sawn boards, which do cost the most, suggest elegance and expensive/refined taste.

    Good luck, Chuck
    Chuck Keysor (circa 1956)
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