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Avoiding panel warpage: tips for eliminating warpage in cabinet and furniture projects.

Whether you are trying to restore a table with a warped top, or figuring out why your cabinet or passageway doors are warped, understanding what causes panels to warp and how to prevent it can be the difference between getting it done and getting it done right.

Whether working with solid wood or plywood, preventing panel warp is possible. Although the materials have inherent differences, the fundamentals behind warp are the same for both with regards to materials, construction and processes.

Materials: The right materials are crucial, whether they are solid wood or plywood. Keeping solid wood panels flat requires lumber that is dried evenly throughout. Keeping the components narrow and square (faces 90[degrees] to one another, not necessarily the shape) will also help. Like the components in solid wood panels, the ply materials for the plywood panels need to be the same moisture content.

Construction: As a rule of thumb, the thinner the panel the more responsive the panel will be to the factors causing warp. However, component orientation is more complex and best practices vary between solid wood and plywood panels.

Solid wood- Alternate the growth ring arc direction to reduce the effects of accumulating dimensional change in the wood as it takes up and releases moisture. The greater the humidity change, the greater the exaggeration. To better visualize, think of the panel as a wave. By shortening i the distance between the peaks or valleys you will reduce the height of the wave, even with a dimensional change.

Plywood- Symmetry of the layers, where they are mirrored through the panel center with regards to material, thickness and grain direction, will produce a balance. If a balanced panel is exposed to the same environment on both sides, it will remain flat.

Processes: Processing done to one side of the panel should be done to the other: drying, machining or finishing.

Solid wood--When surfacing panels to thickness, remove the same amount of material from both sides. Also be sure to finish all sides and edges; the application quality does not have to be the same, but simply sealing the panels will go a long way toward keeping them flat.

Plywood- All aspects of solid wood processes apply to plywood, with some additions. Apply the same glue with the same thickness of spread to both sides of the panel when laying it up. When hot pressing, it is also good to consider the rate at which the faces of the panel are cooling and drying.

When stacking panels as they come out of the press you may notice that the top and bottom panel are cupping away from the rest of the stack. Something as simple of a sheet of cardboard on the bottom and top of your stack will greatly reduce the amount of movement of the panels.

Kyle to help bridge the gap between knowledge that lies on both sides of the spectrum. Read more insights

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Title Annotation:HOW to do it
Comment:Avoiding panel warpage: tips for eliminating warpage in cabinet and furniture projects.(HOW to do it)
Author:Newman, Kyle
Publication:Woodworking Network
Date:Oct 1, 2014
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