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I picked up two cast iron skillets with wooden trivets from a thrift store. One of the wooden trivets is slightly warped, so that it doesnt lay perfectly flat and wobbles side to side a little. Its not much, but it bothers me enough to look for a possible solution.

One solution I found that seemed doable is to use a clothing iron on the wood to add heat and steam on the concave side to warp the wood back in the other direction. Does this method work? Or perhaps there is a better way.

The trivets are coated in some sort of finish. Im sure I would have to remove it in order for the steam to get into the wood. Im not sure what it is, but I would assume I could use a paint & varnish stripper to remove it. However, once I do strip it, I assume I should reseal it. What finish would I use to reseal the wood that would be safe for very hot cast iron skillets?

Thanks!

  • One question at a time, please. This site is not a threaded forum, but rather a Q&A site. See the tour if you have not already. Please edit your question and keep to a single question. – jdv Jun 8 at 15:52
  • Also, you'll probably get some hints about the limits of flattening warped wood by looking in the Related Q&A in the side-bar. – jdv Jun 8 at 15:56
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    Generally it's easier to flatten wood by removing material than bending it. Bending wood is very imprecise. Also, to take a step back...Assuming you're intent is to use it, you're going to constantly be putting hot things on the trivet and also possibly getting it wet. I think it won't stay flat in the long run regardless of what you do to it. – SaSSafraS1232 Jun 8 at 16:20
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    Wood warps to relieve internal stresses. Your trivet has probably found its natural orientation based upon the temperature and moisture content it is currently in. Fighting its natural condition is a loosing battle. The best solution would be to use a plane to recreate a level base. You can then refinish the entire trivet to reduce the risk that the wood will warp further. Bear in mind that significant changes in moisture content and temperature could result in more warping. – Ashlar Jun 8 at 17:40
  • "However, once I do strip it, I assume I should reseal it." No. This is one (of more than a few) applications where no finish at all may be the ideal solution. I have numerous items in the kitchen that have no finish at all on them, including a few things used as trivets. And as long as they are not carelessly soaked in water they hold up just fine — the oldest piece is nearing its 40th birthday, and I use it nearly daily. [contd] – Graphus Jun 9 at 18:05
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Furniture restorers years ago would put a warped top out on the ground on a sunny day with the convex side up. The sun would heat the wood on top and it would shrink and flatten out. You would need to monitor it carefully to make sure it didn't go too far the other way. the problem with this is there is no guarantee that it will stay flat, and likely will return to the curve it was before. However, with a small item like a trivet it would be worth a try.

I would urge you just to sand it them a bit, not strip all the old finish as long as they look all right. Then use some sort of oil finish- there are many such as linseed oil, tung oil, watco oil, or wipe on polyurethane etc. follow the instructions on the can.

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