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I purchased this monkeypod piece a couple weeks ago. It is 7.5 ft x 2.5 ft x 2 inches thick. It is composed of two pieces glued together. My plan was to use it as a desktop but I’ve noticed since I purchased it, one end has warped slightly. This makes it very difficult to put legs on the way that I planned. Before I finish the tabletop or continue with putting legs on, is there any way to flatten this out? In the pictures below, the wood is sitting on my old ikea desk I am replacing.

warp from side fromt view side view low with ruler

  • Did you try a search for "warp" here before you posted? There are previous Q&As that cover warped wood, and any viable means to recover it, from various angles. "the wood is sitting on my old ikea desk I am replacing" That could be part, or all, of the problem right there. You put a plank on a surface (any surface, even more wood) and the top of it can exchange moisture freely, the bottom cannot. So what happens is they end up at different moisture levels... perfect recipe for a warp to form. However even if this is the cause here it may or may not be rectifiable (as covered in the past). – Graphus Jun 16 at 11:05
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It's hard for me to tell by the picture, but it looks to me like it's not so much warped wood as the splined joint between the component planks isn't true.

If that's the case, you might rip that joint out, ensure that the edges are square, and re-join the planks into a truly flat panel. I think I'd try that before planing the whole thing down thinner to make up for a botched panel joint.

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  • Thanks for the input! I’ll ask the mill where I purchased this if they would be willing to do that. – Dylan Russell Jun 15 at 19:11
  • Use a straight edge on each side of the joint to see if each side is, indeed flat, or close to it. That will tell you if the whole thing has warped or if it's just a bad joint (which this does look to be). – FreeMan Jun 16 at 15:42
  • It seems like this is the case. I'm going to rip it lengthwise and re-glue it this weekend. – Dylan Russell Jun 17 at 6:36
  • @DylanRussell How did it work out? Did you get a chance to rip it down and re-glue it? – Greg Nickoloff Jun 23 at 21:01
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Beautiful piece! It must have cost quite some money. Despite being dead, harvested, and turned into lumber, trees still retain the ability to take on and release water. Fighting its natural desire to do this is difficult and can put the wood under some stress which can exacerbate the problem or lead to damage like cracking.

Is it possible to flatten it? Yes. With a good sized router flattening jig and the right bit or a series of hand planes, some physical dexterity, and a lot of patience you could flatten it. But when the moisture in the room decreases or increases again, you’ll be in the same boat (maybe an actual boat due to the amount it might curve if you’re not careful).

With something like this, I’d recommend two or three bars of C channel on the bottom, routed into the piece. This article has some information on how to go about that.

A strip of C channel is just a bar of steel that’s a double angle bracket with holes down it. You route the depth of the C channel into the slab and then it gets bolted in. You’ll need a flat surface to do this though which means at least one side will need to get flattened first.

To be honest, and I hate to say it, you might consider ripping three even strips, flattening each individual strip, then edge join them back together, and then adding the C channel. Maybe some others have some answers for you though.

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  • Thanks for the answer! Can both sides be flattened or only one side or the other depending on the curve? This is kind of a unilateral desk in that the side currently up is the side I would like to be the desktop. And is there anyway to figure out how thin the tabletop would be when flattened? – Dylan Russell Jun 15 at 16:45
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    @DylanRussell, the warp here is far too severe to recover from by reflattening. In your mind draw a straight line out from the top centre of the panel until it reaches both edges. ALL the wood above that line has to be removed. Now do the same from the bottom right and left corners, same deal, all that wood needs to be removed. At a guess, you'd end up with a panel less than an inch thick. – Graphus Jun 16 at 11:10
  • @DylanRussell I’m inclined to agree with Graphus. Your best bet is flattening two smaller strips of it. The annoying part is the company that sold it to you should’ve known this was going to happen and didn’t prepare it well enough. – SomeShinyObject Jun 16 at 11:21

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