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Thread: Warping of carving

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Buford, GA
    Posts
    16

    Default Warping of carving

    Hi everyone.

    I purchased a 3D model of a Byzantine cross for carving a while ago, and I've carved it once before, out of Mahogany. It came out great.

    This time, I carved it out of cherry. I glued up three strips of cherry wood that were approximately 8" x 36", giving me a blank of 24" x 36" x 1.1" thick. I ended up carving the cross against the grain, length-wise (spanning all three boards).

    Though I did not plane the blank prior to carving, it was pretty darned flat. After carving, and removal from the material (it was tabbed), the cross was really warped. I'm guessing that this is from "stress relief" within the wood itself causing this once the majority of the material was removed. Is this possible? Anyway, it is what it is.

    I CAN push the two ends flat, and was considering cutting out a plywood cross that is offset 1/2" in from the carving, and gluing it. I'm worried that the stress on the cross could cause it to break at the glued seams.

    Does anyone have a way to try to un-warp something like this without breaking the glue seams?

    Thanks.

    Andy

    IMG_20191130_204028.jpgIMG_20191130_204036.jpgIMG_20191203_165138.jpg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Posts
    1

    Default

    This is something I've spent a lot of time fiddling with, as deep 3d carvings is most of what I do.

    You can probably get it to flatten back out by adding moisture back to the carved surface. Often what I'll do is take a bath towel, dampen it, and then lay the piece face down on the towel. As moisture is absorbed, it will flatten back out (overnight will probably do it). This isn't a permanent fix, because once you flip it back over it will dry back out again, but I find that a few cycles of this does a pretty good job.

    In the future, cutting a few reliefs in the back of the carving will help to alleviate this. I typically do a 3/16" deep, 2" wide relief across 75% of the width of the carving, every 4-6 inches as the shape allows, and that solves most of the warping. You can also use those slots to install steel bars if you still need to pull things flatter.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Beckwith Decor Products, Derby/Wichita KS
    Posts
    612

    Default

    A little hard to tell from the photo, but looks like you didn't alternate your grain in your glue up, then I would run the grain in the long length
    Gary
    Beckwith Decor Products
    Caveco Distributor, USA
    Custom CNC Tooling/Onsrud Distributor


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Buford, GA
    Posts
    16

    Default

    Thanks for the replies. I don't have a planer or jointer, so I had to try to clean the edges up with my table saw, and I picked the best edges I could find. Plus there was some drastic color veins I was trying to avoid. But, yes, the grain issue is correct. Also, I didn't have the right strategy. My "Blank" is large enough for 2 more crosses. In hindsight, I should have just made one blank with the grain the right way. I cut out of Mahogany about a year ago, and I did cut it lengthwise as opposed to against the grain. It did not have this issue.

    Here's a different question: Can you take lumber (cherry, mahogany, etc..), cut them into, say, 2" strips, plane the faces and glue up a blank that is 2" thick? I'd like to try this on a thicker piece of material, since so much of the material is cut away. Plus, I could make the model "deeper" so that the detail stands out more.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Diamond Lake, WA
    Posts
    1,639

    Default

    Since you live in GA, you could try what I do. Put the board out on the grass, crown up. This lets the board get sunlight on the top (dry it) and moisture on the bottom. I've done this with many boards, in the summer. Right now there's snow on the ground here so can't use this method.
    Don
    Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks, LLC
    www.dlwoodworks.com
    ***********************************
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty and well preserved piece; But to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out, bank accounts empty, credit cards maxed out, defiantly shouting "Geronimo"!

    If you make something idiot proof, all they do is create a better idiot.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Buford, GA
    Posts
    16

    Default

    That's awesome! I'm going to try it!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Hobby-Tronics, Chiloquin Oregon
    Posts
    1,288

    Default

    "In the future, cutting a few reliefs in the back of the carving" that's what I do when doing mantle pieces. Had an eight footer that I left overnight on the Bot, went out next morning and released the clamps - ouch about an inch riser on both ends of the mantle (after 7 hours on the bot)! NOT HAPPY. But doing a relief carve in the backside before the front side will help. Russ
    AKA: Da Train Guy

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    gleason, wi 54435
    Posts
    437

    Default

    your 2 inch edge grain will work fine and also be more stable than the flat grain.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Cleveland TN
    Posts
    358

    Default

    Andy,

    You are within a reasonable driving distance from me (Cleveland, TN) and if you need anything (including rough cut lumber) don't hesitate to reach out. I have all of the tools you are missing and would enjoy some company from time to time.

    Joe
    2005 PRT Alpha 48x96
    2013 Colombo 3hp spindle
    Indexer (converted lathe)
    Aspire 9.0

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