How To Straighten Wood With Easy Steps

When a piece of wood, such as a board wraps, it means that it is not straight with flat surface anymore. There are several reasons to explain why wood wraps. The main reason is that when that piece of wood becomes dry, some parts will dry out more quickly than some other parts due to the uneven distribution of moisture inside the wood fibers. All of these occurrences make wood less straight.

Luckily, there are several ways you can use to straight wood. It can be as simple as cutting or more complicated as restoring the moisture nature for the wood fibers. Each of these methods will require different steps and techniques.

This guide below will provide you with more details about these two methods on how to straighten wood in the easiest and most efficient steps.


Types of warping

There are several ways at which an uneven drying piece of wood can bend. The two ends of the piece can bend up or down. When two ends of the board bend towards each other and the middle of the board is low, it is called cupping.

On the other hand, if they only curl up and the middle of the board is high, it is bowing. Another type of warping is crooking. With this type, one end of the piece of wood will curl more toward the other end.

There are several factors that lead to different types of warping including the different species of trees, hence, the different types of wood, the place on the tree where different pieces of wood are extracted as well as the method of processing and drying these pieces of wood.

You can easily spot the unevenness in the board by looking with your own eyes or placing the board on the bench and putting a winding stick on top of the surface. If there is any space between the winding stick and the board, it means that the board’s surface is uneven and it needs to be straightened.

Source: Straighten Wood

Steps to straighten/ flatten a board by cutting

Do you remember that I mention about different types of uneven surface? If the middle of the board is low, it is cupped. Otherwise, when the middle of the board is high, it is bowed. Two types would have different methods of cutting.

  • In case the board is cupped, you need to take vertical cuts. This will help to remove any high point, leaving the surface of the board to be even again.
  • On the other hand, if the board is bowed, you should take cuts from the middle of the board when it is low. It will cut down the entire height of the overall board to make sure that the high points of the board are even with the low points of the board in the middle.

This method is quick and easy to use. However, as you can see, doing so will alter the original height of the board.

Steps to straight a bowed piece of wood

Since the main reason why a wooden board becomes bowed is related to moisture, in order to straighten wood, the moisture will be restored inside the piece of wood before this piece of wood is bent for it to get back to the original shape.

Here is the step by step guide on how to straighten a piece of wood by steaming:

Step 1: First of all the board should be steamed for quite a while depending on the size of the board. You should keep steaming until the board is lightly damp.

Another way you can try to wet the board is to soak it into the water. However, wood will absorb water quickly when it is warm. Hence, this way will be longer for the board to become completely moist.

Steaming techniques: Different board or pieces of wood with different sizes will have different ways for you to steam them. If the board is small enough, you can place it over a top of a pot filled with running water. However if the board is too big, you would have to use a big drum and place a fire under it.

Step 2: Bend the piece of wood into its original shape and straighten it.

Step 3: Hold the board with clamps to make sure it can stay straight. Make sure that the clamps are strong enough for the board to stay in the same place

Step 4: Wait until the board is dry completely. You should place the board in a well ventilated area which is low in humidity, which is also away from the board sunlight.

For this method, it would take a longer amount of time to fix and straighten the board. Nevertheless, it is quite easy to follow all of the steps above. Not to mention that you can maintain the original shape of the board after you straighten it.

Last but not least, you can straighten a piece of wood on a jointer and a planer.

First of all, you need to place the board onto the jointer and operate the machine. The jointer will flatten the piece of wood. The machine would help to remove wood from the lower face. Then place the board onto the planer for the machine to do the job on the other side of the board. This machine would help to make the other side of the board go parallel with the straightened side.

With this method, you can have the best result with smooth and clean cut on the surface of the board. However, you might not have the planer and jointer which are big enough to handle big chunks of wood. It is also worth mentioning that this method is costly considering that you have to buy a jointer and planer for this project.

Here are 3 easy ways which you can use to straighten a wooden board. The first method is to cut the points which are higher than the lower areas. The second method is to restore the natural level of moisture of the board before bending it to make it straight again.

The last method is to make use of a planer and jointer. All of these methods have their own pros and cons. You should think carefully about your different needs before deciding on which method to follow. No matter what you are going to do, as long as you follow these steps above, you will be able to straighten wood without any difficulty.

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