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[Shop-talk] Unwarping an antique tabletop?

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Subject: [Shop-talk] Unwarping an antique tabletop?
From: Jim Franklin <>
Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2023 19:45:46 -0400
I foolishly picked up a "free" 1930s dining table. It has a stunning veneered 
top and nice fluted double legs with intricate designs on the skirt.

It was free because the PO stored it in his basement and the top warped pretty 
good, the sides cupping upwards as moisture entered the underside.

I stripped the shellac off the top and laid it face down on the lawn to try and 
introduce moisture to the top while the sun baked the underside under weight, 
but it didn't move. I was able to remove the loosened underside veneer (maybe I 
should have done this before I put it in the sun?) but a few hours of hot steam 
and clamps wasn't enough to budge things. I don't want to remove the top veneer 
since I'd prefer a warped top to destroyed veneer. 

It seems I have 2 choices - soak the underside long enough for the entire 1/2" 
thick solid wood top to get wet and then clamp and dry it, and risk loosening 
the veneer, or build an environment where the humidity is very low and let the 
underside dry out well below ambient humidity, pulling the top straight. I'm in 
MA and it's a very damp summer.

Any thoughts on which is better, and if the latter, how to create this 
artifical desert?


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