How to Fix Warped Wood – 3 Simple Methods To Follow

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Let’s say that you bought a bunch of lumber to build your own furniture for your new room. Finally, when you get some time to work on it, you realize that, unfortunately, some of the wood there is warped.

It can be a waste of money and decent wood quality to buy a new set. It is worth a shot to have a look at fixing it.

Yes, you can fix all kinds of warped wood by and large by yourself to ensure that you at least use most of it up. Here are some handy tips on how to fix warped wood before you consider other costlier alternatives.

How to Fix Warped Wood

Types of wood warping

Before you swing into action on fixing your wood, it is useful to know the different types of wood warping so that you can understand what has gone wrong and take a suitable measure to correct it.

1. Cup

This kind of warping occurs when the wood has bent across its width that makes it look like a “cup.” The edges are curled up and the center has a slight depression, giving it the appearance of a cup.

2. Bow

Similar to cup, if the warping occurs across the length of the wood instead of the width, then it is referred to as bow warping.

3. Kink

This is an uncommon warping type, though it does exist. This is when one part of the wood suddenly has a bend somewhere along its length, giving it its name — because it is rather unusual.

4. Twist

The twist kind of warping occurs when the piece of wood has warped in random places, so it looks twisted.

5. Crook

This is similar to the bow type of warping, that is, across its length, except in the crook type, the warping occurs only on one edge.

Now that you understand the different kinds of wood warping, we can move on to how to fix warped wood.

How to Fix Warped Wood

Wood warps mainly because of too much exposure to heat and moisture. So when you apply the same heat and moisture to the other side of the lumber, you can effectively warp it back to its original flat structure.

This is just like, say when a notebook is bent by keeping it in your handbag. You bend it the other way to make it flat again. If required, you would even put it under some weights — say a heavy block of wood or even under your mattress— so that when you lie down on it, the pressure is evenly distributed across the length of the notebook to make it flat again.

These are the same concepts used to straighten out warped wood. The tools and methods are perhaps different but the underlying reasoning is the same.

You can effectively unwarp wood by ironing it, placing it under direct sunlight or by applying pressure on it, no matter what kind of warping you are dealing with.

Method 1: Ironing

The ironing method is effective in taking care of slight warping on just one or two pieces of wood. Place the piece of lumber on an ironing board that’s flat. You would need to place the lumber with the outward side of the bend facing up towards you and the inward curve facing downwards towards the ironing board.

Moisten a towel and wrap it exactly on that area that has warped. The towel needs to be damp and not dripping wet. The wood must be able to retain some moisture but not be bathed in water, so wring out any excess water before placing it on the warped area.

Now set your iron box to the maximum heat it can generate and place it on the warped area over the towel. Make sure the towel and the ironing board can withstand the heat.

Pause for a few seconds over the warped area and move it from side to side and repeat the process until the warped wood has straightened out. Depending on the extent of the warp, you may need to repeat this procedure over a few days.

Method 2: Direct Sunlight

If you have several pieces of lumber and you are wondering how to fix warped wood in this case, you can rely on natural sources to treat this — good old sunlight. You must keep in mind that this will definitely take several days, so if you are in a hurry you may need to consider ironing out the warped areas or applying pressure. If not, you can simply follow the “direct sunlight” method to deal with treating several pieces of warped wood.

Moisten several towels and wring out excess moisture. Wrap the warped areas of the different pieces of lumber and lay them out under the sun, where there’s direct sunlight. From time to time, you need to spray some water on the towels as they get dried up. Place the wood in such a way that the outward portion of the bent wood faces you up, and the inward curve faces the ground.

You could even lay them all on a flat wooden surface for best results. The application of heat and moisture should help with straightening out the wood in due course of time.

Method 3: Using pressure

Applying pressure is a quick method to unwarp wood. For this method, let the concave side, that is the inward portion of the bent wood, face you. Place moistened towels on the inward side of the warped wood. Wrap these with plastic sheets. This will help retain moisture and help water to not evaporate quickly.

Now clamp this piece of lumber — covered in moistened towels and plastic sheets — the whole unit on a flat surface. Clamp both the edges down and leave it on for a few days.

Alternatively, without having to clamp the wood, there’s another trick that requires you to apply weights. Simply wrap the wood in moistened towels and nylon paper. Now place weights or bricks on the outward side of the warped area so that the weights will eventually help flatten the curve and make the lumber go back to its original state.

So these are some effective methods on how to fix warped wood. Follow these right away to save all that warped wood and resume your DIY furniture project!

FAQs on How to Fix Warped Wood

Can you Unwarp wood?

Yes, you can unwarp some types of wood that is warped in certain areas across their length or width. This involves the application of moisture or heat in strategic areas so that it gets flat again.

How do you straighten a warped piece of wood?

You can straighten a warped piece of wood by either ironing it or placing it under direct sunlight. You can also straighten it by placing weights on the outward portion of the bent area so that the pressure can help with flattening the piece of wood.


If you are wondering how to fix warped wood, those are some effective DIY methods you can follow. This involves ironing the warped area, exposing it to direct sunlight, and applying pressure so that it gets flattened and goes back to its original un-warped state.

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