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I'm in the process of refurbishing a small solid oak desk–a teacher’s desk, I suppose; it has drawers on the right side, and the left is open to the knee-well. It was probably built in the 40s or 50s.
To facilitate the process I took off the top (solid oak, 26 X 38), and laid it flat and upside down on a workbench. My workshop is just a walled shed, no heat, no air, and as if Louisiana is not humid enough already, during the month of October we had rain on twenty-something days. So, while I was working on the base of the desk, the top was turning itself into an ‘S’. It also separated along one of its glue joints
Any suggestions on how flatten this top again and make it stay that way? I’ve considered cutting thin kerfs on the underside along its length. I’ve got lots of clamps and even a Scunci Steamer if that’s the way to go. I'm not trying to make a museum piece out of this, but I would like for the top to be flat.
Thanks for the help.
You have a couple of options at this point:1. Disassemble all the boards in the top. Then joint the edges so they're square and fresh for gluing. If the boards are badly cupped, you may also need to joint and plane the faces. Reassemble the top.2. Glue the split joint and then have the whole top wide belt sanded until it's flat.3. You could also try stacking the disassembled boards with stickers in between and lots of weight on top. Let them dry for several weeks. If this doesn't remove all the cup, you can flatten them further using steps 1 or 2.Woodworking in high or low humidity setting is challenging. That's why it's important to store furniture parts so the air can circulate around all sides. This doesn't guarantee that the parts won't cup or warp, but it does minimize the effects of high or low humidity by exposing all surfaces equally.One last thing, before reassembling the top, make sure the moisture content of the parts is close to the percentage recommended for interior woodwork in your area of the country. For Louisiana it would be about 11%. Below is a link to a good article on the recommended of moisture content for different regions.http://scholarsarchive.library.oregonstate.edu/jspui/bitstream/1957/5945/1/In-Service_Moisture_ocr.pdf