salvaging a bowing table


Earth
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I just salvaged a dining table off Craigslist. The rich owner decided to refinish the table and gave up. It looks like they tried to sand it then quickly went to citristrip and started scraping and it was too much for them. The finish was conversion varnish and I have no idea how many applications of citristrip they tried. While finish stripping the top I noticed the overhanging edged curves downward about .25" over a 4" span and there is a tiny bit of wave in the length. I think the tables apron has kept it from moving more. The width looks pretty straight, but both ends over the length are curving down.  I believe the table was sitting on the ground in their garage for a couple weeks with the top exposed to humidity. I'm not a wood worker just making extra cash refinishing salvaged furniture during these weird times.

The table is hard maple. I have never seen an expensive table like this warp this much from stripping. The bottom is still sealed. Will this flatten out more as it dries out? Its been raining this week. Or should I try something mechanical to get the .25" bow out of the overhanging before it dries out? Any suggestion would be appreciated.

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  • Earth changed the title to salvaging a bowing table

Do you think a bow like this is negligible in solid hardwood furniture as it ages? My day job is as a machinist so maybe it bothers me more then most people lol.  I'm more familiar with homogeneous materials. Is it not worth the effort to attempt to flatten it?

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46 minutes ago, Earth said:

Do you think a bow like this is negligible in solid hardwood furniture as it ages? My day job is as a machinist so maybe it bothers me more then most people lol.  I'm more familiar with homogeneous materials. Is it not worth the effort to attempt to flatten it?

Do your plates wobble? Do you you think any guests will kneel down and look along the edge to see if your table is perfectly flat?

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If a lot of moisture was added to the top in the form of a citrius stripper there is a chance that some of it may rebound. That said using machinist tools to gauge woodworking accuracy will only show you how imprecise wood working is. If it's not impacting the use like pointed out above i'd not fret much.

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Maple that has moisture unevenly applied can move a LOT. I once glued up a thin panel of hard maple to use as a drawer bottom, and left it flat on my workbench overnight. The next day, it looked like a Pringle's chip. I flipped it over for 12 hours and it flattened back out. Keeping it on edge from then on, it remained flat.

Long story to illustrate that your table top may relax back to a flatter state, if you can balance the humidity to both sides of it.

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Dinner plates do rock a little bit at he head of the table. I let the table do it's thing and hope for the best and go from there. Sometimes being a machinist gets my mind wrapped up in having things be perfect. Thanks for taking the time to reply. 

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