View Full Version : need advice--warped vintage gg frame

Michael Roberts
23-Nov-2011, 08:04
I am restoring an 1898 King 8x10. The mahogany gg frame is warped--one corner sits about 1/2 inch above a flat surface when the other three corners are pressed flat. Is there any way to flatten the frame? The only thing I can think of is to soak it in water and then clamp it down for 12-24 hours.

Or do I just need to fabricate a new gg frame?

I would greatly appreciate advice on this from any experienced woodworkers.


Jim Noel
23-Nov-2011, 08:12
I would steam it until pliable and then place it under weights.

Colin Graham
23-Nov-2011, 08:29
Soaking in water might reactivate the glue and make the joints fail. Much of the glue used back then was hide glue- I've read that it's very susceptible to moisture. But as a last resort that might be helpful in disassembling the frame and replacing the offending part(s).

But first I'd try clamping the assembly in an over-corrected state, that is to say shim it so the high corner is now lower that the other three points by the same difference. I'd probably leave it for a week. If the full difference is too stressful you could approach it in smaller steps. In any case you would need to support all the joints so they aren't taking the stress. It probably won't fully flatten the frame but it might help enough for the back's springs to take the rest of the warp out of it. You could try adding some supplemental leaf springs to get the rest of the way there.

Colin Graham
23-Nov-2011, 08:43
Here's another trick- you can make an inlaid spring. Take a long 1/8" stainless steel rod and bend it into a sharp U shape slightly smaller than the width of the frame. Rout a 1/8" groove along the side (rail) of the warped end, and then drill two holes (in line with the routed groove) into the end grain of the opposing legs (stiles) of the frame- these holes will receive the 90 degree bent ends of the rod. They will probably have to be fairly deep to fully stabilize the warp. You then twist the opposing legs of the rod counter to the warp, and can sneak up on it by experimenting with the degree of twist. Once it's correct, you can epoxy the rod into the groove and holes, but I'd probably leave it unglued for further adjustments. The force of the spring will keep it from falling out.

Of course, this trick assumes that hardware or the joints themselves won't be in the way...

Tim k
23-Nov-2011, 09:36
If it got crooked on its own, thats where "it" wants to be. Make a new one, or re-fit the joints.

If it got crooked from the influence of a weight or some force over time, I'd steam it. If it falls apart, re-glue it on some flat object.

My 2 cents.

23-Nov-2011, 12:32
Hi Michael,

A friend who custom manufactures wood furniture (Oak and Mahogany) suggested steaming and then putting it between 2 pieces of "absolutely flat" materials such as plexiglass.

Clamp and let it flatten out as it cools down.

Hope that helps.


Michael Roberts
23-Nov-2011, 12:43
Thanks everyone. Steaming seems the easiest first step, so I'll give it a try and will report the results after a day or two of steaming and clamping as needed.

You guys are the best!

23-Nov-2011, 15:50
I do this with about half the Deardorffs I restore. Take a damp dish towel. Wrap the frame in it. Put it in a dry mount press for a day. THEN turn the press on low 140degrees for a few hours. They come out nice and flat. This however works best if the wood is stripped of its finish.

Michael Roberts
23-Nov-2011, 16:26
Thanks, Ken. Great suggestion.