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Warped Wood


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About 3 1/5 years ago I started building 2 guitars. I finished one and the other one only got part of the way and its been in a box since. I got it out the other day to see about getting back to work on it and was horrified to discover that the top had warped significantly.

I have some pictures from back when I first started on it and I can post a picture of how it looks now later on tonight.

What I want to know is, can it be salvaged? Will I still be able to do something to straighten it out and laminate it to the top of the body?

neck_top_and_bridge_small.JPG

sanding_the_top_small.jpg

By the way, that is leopard wood.

Thanks for the help.

Mike

Edited by kings_x
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What I want to know is, can it be salvaged? Will I still be able to do something to straighten it out and laminate it to the top of the body?

It depends just how much it has warped. If it is not that bad, you may be able to add water to the concave side and put some weight on it. Leave it for a few weeks and see if that helps any. When you go to clamp it to the rest of the body that will help some too since there will be added pressure. I had a maple top bow in the last month and went through this procedure. But it all depends on how much it is warped. More pictures or descriptions would help. Good luck!

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The fact that you have already joined the pieces and especially that you have already started the carve process is really putting a hurt on your ability to flatten it back out.

Personally, working with what you have, I would just glue it up as-is and work with it as best you can.

I would recommend you put a big, thick, strong board under the body when gluing the top to the body to prevent any further warping (believe me, it can get worse than it already is)

Future notes:

I see that you are making a sort of hollowbody kind of thing. The body wood itself, once you route that much material away from it, loses a lot of strength, and it is quite possible that when you glue up the top to the body, the entire body can start to warp as well, this has happened to me several times before, until I learned to be ready to do both top and back glueups as close together timewise as possible (like, within 24 hours of each other)

I would get entire body warps because I would cut most of the wood away (as you have done) from the body, glue up a top, and leave it awhile before gluing up the back.

Just food for thought.

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Before you do anything else, try this:

Just place it on a flat surface in a warm, dry room.

Wait a day or two and see what it does.

If it doesn't change, flip it over, and wait another day or two.

It may even itself out over time, or not, but I would give it that time before trying to add weight or water.

I have pieces like this that I have glued up, that will bow 1/4" or so, and if I flip them over, they will bow the other way an equal amount within a day.

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I have pieces like this that I have glued up, that will bow 1/4" or so, and if I flip them over, they will bow the other way an equal amount within a day.

With all due respect orgmorg, wood that does that (warps easily both ways) is basically green unseasoned wood.

If you have wood that does that, it should be stickered and stacked and left to dry for several months, that is a different issue altogether :D .

That is not his problem. His problem more than likely stems from the two sides of the wood 1) being different thicknesses 2) just sitting for several years in a partially carved state (uneven stressors/moisture absorption) 3) I would bet that both sides were not left prepped the exact same way (which will cause warpage as well)

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No, the wood I am talking about is dry, between 6 and 8% moisture content. Small changes in relative humidity will do this to wide thin boards left with one face exposed to the air. Keeping them stickered helps, as does keeping them dead stacked with thicker, heavier pieces on top. I just often forget to put stuff away properly. :D

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Yeah, I would agree about wide thin boards, some are quite stable, others can move around like that, but usually not both ways back and forth like you described, that is (usually) more a sign of unstabilized unseasoned wood, but I understand what you're getting at.

That top is partially carved (routed for carving) already, there is no real way to equalize out the moisture absorbtion / stressors on each side of the board equally that I can think of at this point, and simply using the strength of the body wood (just glue it on) would more than likely flatten it out with no further problems I would think, unless the wood is very brittle and dry and the warp is such that trying to glue it on as-is would stress it too much and cause a crack, but that's usually not too likely, I've glued tops like that on before and they were almost always fine afterwards.

Really beautiful top wood, I hope you get it solved and get it finished. :D

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