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Fix a warped Boos worktop?

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la2tokyo Nov 15, 2010 05:37 PM

I have a 5' x 3' Boos maple reversible worktop that's 2.25" thick. It has been warped since I received it from the factory. They told me to rub mineral oil into the concave side repeatedly and leave it wrapped in plastic until it flattens out. It has been over a year and I still have an eighty pound maple board in the middle of my kitchen, half-soaked in oil, wrapped in black plastic garbage bags. It has gone from about 5/16" warped in the middle to 1/8" warped in the middle, but I still can't use it for what I bought it for because it's warped. I bought it to roll out noodle dough, which is about 1/16" thick - so on a warped board they would be twice as thick in the middle as they are on the edges (or vice versa if I flipped it over).

Does anyone have a better method to flatten this thing out that doesn't involve a large planer? This has been one of the worst purchases I've ever made in my life, and certainly the worst cooking equipment purchase I've ever made. The first one was delivered cracked and I had to return it. It's not easy to return an 80 lb cutting board by UPS. Getting a new one took six weeks, which makes it a year and a half since I paid $500 for this thing and never been able to use it.

I should add that after I unwrapped it and left it out for two weeks it looks like it's reverted and warped back another 1/16" - losing my gains over the last month or so. I'm about to set it on fire and post the video on youtube with my story.

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  1. z
    ZeroSignal RE: la2tokyo Nov 15, 2010 06:00 PM

    Try putting weight on it? Lol park your car on it.. Did you buy this online or at a local dealer?

    1 Reply
    1. re: ZeroSignal
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      la2tokyo RE: ZeroSignal Nov 15, 2010 06:17 PM

      Thanks, I guess I'll try and put more weight on it. The only problem with that is that I will probably have to weigh down each corner with some kind of big dumbbell or something like that, and I don't have anything more than 20lbs. If I flip it over so it's bowed up in the middle I'd have to flip it again to keep oiling the concave side, which is a two man operation, and the oil would drip down off the board. As it is now the weight of the board, which is considerable, should be helping, but I guess more can't hurt.

      I had to order it as a special order through a restaurant supply store. Not surprisingly, Boos is resisting replacing it, probably because it costs a lot to ship something this heavy.

    2. Chemicalkinetics RE: la2tokyo Nov 15, 2010 06:14 PM

      As ZeroSignal stated, I have fixed my pastry board by using water and heavy weight:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6817...

      However, you already have a 5' x 3' worktop. So you will need something very heavy and very flat to flatten it out. I agree -- it was a really bad purchase. Sorry to hear about your hardship.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
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        ZeroSignal RE: Chemicalkinetics Nov 15, 2010 06:18 PM

        That's why I said park your car on it. Other reason I asked if you purchased locally or online I know if you purchased locally you could of gotten sales reps involved but when you have warranty issues online purchases are tough. Also boos sucks at trying to claim any kind of warranty even when it's there fault

        1. re: ZeroSignal
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          la2tokyo RE: ZeroSignal Nov 15, 2010 06:34 PM

          Thanks everyone for trying to help! I have a concern, that I think is valid, about putting enough weight on it to bend it flat - I'm afraid if I put too much weight on it the individual boards may split apart if I apply too much force. I could probably put ten or fifteen pounds on it but I'm scared to do more than that. The board is primarily warped in the direction perpendicular to the grain - meaning all the force of the applied weight would be against the glue in the joints.

          1. re: la2tokyo
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            ZeroSignal RE: la2tokyo Nov 15, 2010 06:37 PM

            Lay plywood down first to distribute the weight evenly.

            1. re: la2tokyo
              kaleokahu RE: la2tokyo Nov 15, 2010 06:39 PM

              15 pounds? Try 15 HUNDRED pounds. I just trued a warped 3/4-inch walnut board with a car. No cracks, splits, etc. Just make sure it has some moisture in the wood.

              1. re: la2tokyo
                Chemicalkinetics RE: la2tokyo Nov 15, 2010 07:05 PM

                la2tokyo,

                As mentioned above, you will need to wet the wood first. This softens the wood fibers and gives they more elastic. Think about it. You can bend a toothpick by wetting it first. So wet the wood first and apply the weight. If possible, increases the weight in increment.

          2. kaleokahu RE: la2tokyo Nov 15, 2010 06:19 PM

            Hey, been there. Are the individual boards "gapping"? If not, the oil/weight (car is a fine idea, but you need to spread the weight out--flat steel plates) idea is still fine. If you want to speed the process, steam it a bit, in the oven if possible, but a steam iron works, too--from a distance or through a towel). Steam + car can work wonders. If there are gaps, I have used Superglue Gel wiped into the gaps at a 45-degree angle to close the gaps before final truing.

            Why the aversion to planing? If she is only 1/8-inch out of flat, you are not going to be removing much stock, and she is going to look brand-new. Try the above and then plane and sand. That way, all the natural stresses in the wood will have been relieved and she probably won't warp any more.

            No judgment, but was this a countertop board? If it was sitting on a flat surface prior to the warpage, you will want to make suire that you are not inadvertently soaking the bottom in water when you wipe/clean/spill on your countertops. Strips of thin wood work to boost the board out of the wet, as do the stick-on rubber feet. Just remember to keep turning the board over as you use it.

            Hope this helps.

            2 Replies
            1. re: kaleokahu
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              la2tokyo RE: kaleokahu Nov 15, 2010 06:42 PM

              Yes, I am afraid planing may be the only answer. I hesitate because it weighs 80 lbs and I live in a second story apartment with no elevator, it's too big to fit in my car, and I don't know anyone with a plane that can fit a 5' x 3' board.

              This is like a countertop but it's not attached to a base. I bought a reversible one so that I could alternate which side I use so that it wouldn't warp. Unfortunately my plan was foiled when I received it and it was already warped.

              1. re: la2tokyo
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                ZeroSignal RE: la2tokyo Nov 15, 2010 06:46 PM

                I'm sure you have something heavy around you could stack on if. Boxes of crap, end of your bed, bunch of books, entertainment center :) or go buy some cinderblocks the are cheap.

            2. BoardSMITH RE: la2tokyo Nov 16, 2010 01:39 AM

              I hate you are having a problem. The restaurant supply is the culprit in this story. It was their responsibility to ensure you were taken care of.

              Forget weights, water, oil etc... None of which are permanent fixes and some could damage the top further. Look in your local yellow pages for cabinet shops and call around until you find one that will have a planer large enough for your board. At 36" wide, that might be tough. But there are shops out there which could help. I would recommend a planer and not a wide belt sander because you have put enough oil on it that it will clog a wide belt quickly rendering it almost useless.

              Good luck. I hope you can get the problem solved as easily as possible.

              1. m
                mikie RE: la2tokyo Nov 16, 2010 05:20 AM

                I'm assuming this is not an end grian board. If I'm correct in that assumption, you need a skilled woodworker with a Jack Plane. This is a large hand plane with a long base and a skilled craftsman can take down the center hump on one side and the ends on the other. Frankly, in my opinion, nothing else is anything more than a temporary fix. Water or oil on one side will make the fibers expand, but the water dries out eventually and the oil penetrates further into the board and eventually the board will just warp back to where it was. The wide drum sander would have been a good choice but as boardsmith mentioned, after it's been oiled, that's not going to work. A 36" wide plainer isn't going to work either, plainers put a lot of pressure on a board with the feed rolls and will actually flatten it out then take the wood off, all you end up with is a thinner warped board. The issue is where does one find a woodwright with the skill to flatten to your satisfaction your worktop?

                If you are in a fairly large city there may be a Woodcraft Supply sotre, where you can ask if they know of such a craftsman. I have flattened a coffee table top via this method and then a little sanding. It's less of a big deal to clog up some sandpaper than to clog up the sanding sleve on a large drum type sander.

                2 Replies
                1. re: mikie
                  BiscuitBoy RE: mikie Nov 17, 2010 11:39 AM

                  Have you ever used a planer? It does exert s o m e downward pressure, but not nearly enough to compress 2 1/4" of maple, thats just wrong information. If you could find a shop with a 3 ft wide planer (good luck) that it precisely the way to go...If boos leaves the OP twisting, which I'm sure they will

                  1. re: BiscuitBoy
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                    mikie RE: BiscuitBoy Nov 17, 2010 12:55 PM

                    Why yes, I certianly have, have you? And after 40 + years of woodworking I think I can fairly state that most authorities recommend that you not use a surface plainer to take warp or twist out of a board. Any surface plainer that has the capability of feeding a 36" wide workpiece is a massive piece of equipment, assuming you can find one. No, I don't know how much pressure the feed rollers exert on a machine of that size or how much it will take to deflect the worktop, nor do I know if the top is simply dished or has a bit of a twist in it or if it is shaped like this ( the entire length or width. If it's shaped like ( this over the length, the infeed and out feed tables on the plainer are not going to be long enough to remove that regardless of the pressure. The standard method of taking warp, bow, or twist out of a boad is on a jointer, and I can feel confident you won't find one of those 36" wide.

                    The largest surface planer made by Grizzly is 25", so the chances of finding a 36" planer is very slim. Oliver makes a 36" model if you can find someone that has one. All it takes is 480 volt 3 phase service and about $30,000 to pick one of these up used. If the board had not been oiled, it would ideally be sanded on a wide belt sander, these go up to 51 inches. But I doubt you would be able to find someone that would run an oiled board through their sander, the belts for these machines are about $50 each and I have no idea how many it would take to flatten out the worktop. It could easily end up costing more than the worktop because the belts are going to gum up with the oiled sander dust.

                2. BiscuitBoy RE: la2tokyo Nov 16, 2010 09:39 AM

                  A 3' wide planer is going to be mighty hard to find, and the weight technique may result in a cracked board. Do you have any friends with hand power tools? A handheld planer, followed by a belt sander, and finish sander will do the trick...maybe an hours worth of labor...recoat in mineral oil

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: BiscuitBoy
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                    mikie RE: BiscuitBoy Nov 17, 2010 04:39 AM

                    To the OP, I wouldn't attempt either my suggestion above or that of BiscuitBoy until I had totally exhausted every possible route to have the issue addressed by the John Boos company or the retailer that sold it to you. Once you put steel to this worktop it's your problem not their's.

                    Also, don't let just anyone with a hand plane or a hand held electirc plainer and belt sander attempt to fix your worktop. It's just as easy to do more damage with some of those tools as it is to do good.

                    1. re: mikie
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                      la2tokyo RE: mikie Nov 17, 2010 10:16 AM

                      Thanks for your help! I agree that cutting this thing should be a last resort. Like you said before, unless I plane it with a minimum of pressure, which would likely result in a poor cut, pressing it down between heavy feed rollers would flatten it before it's being cut. Taking 1/4" off the top and the bottom is a full 1/2" that has to be taken off, which is ridiculous for me to have to do myself. Whatever process they do at the factory to ensure the wood is dried properly and oiled properly to produce a board free of stresses obviously did not work. Once you glue together an 80 lb maple board that's 2-1/4" thick the major planing and jointing should be taken care of, right? The only place I can imagine taking it to get planed down properly is a lumberyard.

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                    ZeroSignal RE: la2tokyo Nov 16, 2010 10:40 AM

                    How about you get on John Boos case with phone calls up the ladder? Dont let them blow you off like they like to do.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: ZeroSignal
                      BiscuitBoy RE: ZeroSignal Nov 16, 2010 10:48 AM

                      yeah, there is that too...for the prices they charge, you'd think they'd take care of their customers a little better

                      1. re: BiscuitBoy
                        Chemicalkinetics RE: BiscuitBoy Nov 16, 2010 01:00 PM

                        Yeah, I read many complaints of their products. Not sure if the customers do not know how to take care of the products or the products are not all that.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
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                          ZeroSignal RE: Chemicalkinetics Nov 17, 2010 08:34 AM

                          They make good quality products. Its just a lot of variables can warp a board depending if it was standing on end for to long, dry cold winters with out humidity can dry a boad out and appear that its cracking, temperature variations from cold to hot can also play with the moisture content within the wood. Also user error with not oiling or not leaving laying flat.

                          1. re: ZeroSignal
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                            la2tokyo RE: ZeroSignal Nov 17, 2010 10:40 AM

                            The whole thing has been a disaster from the very beginning. I had to order this from the factory because nobody around me stocks anything this big. So I waited about three weeks and it came via UPS. I opened the box and it was bent 1/4 inch with a fairly deep crack running about 14" towards the center from the edge of the board. I took pictures of it, and they agreed to let me return it. I sent it back, which took two weeks or so, and then they sent me another one, which took another two weeks or so. Two months of waiting so far. I told them the new one was also warped, and I sent them a picture of it clearly showing that it was bowed a little over 1/4". They told me that it was something that could be easily fixed by oiling one side repeatedly, so I did that for about a month, which corrected the problem about 1/16". I called them again to complain that it wasn't working, and to tell them that I had spent $30 on mineral oil, and they told me that it would work if I wrapped the whole thing in plastic. I covered it in plastic and soaked the top in oil. I re-applied every week or so. I went to Japan for two months and left my girlfriend in charge. I came back and it was still bent at least 1/8". I thought it was working, and I've been really busy at work so I just kept at it for another month or so. My girlfriend got sick of looking at the huge plastic garbage bag in the middle of the kitchen, so we unwrapped it a few weeks ago and it looks like it's been reverting since I unwrapped it. Every day I come home there is a film of oil on the surface that is seeping out of it because the top is saturated with mineral oil. I know I should keep calling them to complain about it, but I'm just sick of the whole thing, I have been working 90 hours a week for the last eight weeks. The last thing I feel like doing is dealing with someone in customer service who undoubtedly thinks that it's all my fault because I didn't care for it properly for the last six months. They probably think I cracked the first one myself. If I lived in Illinois I would rent a helicopter and drop this thing onto the Boos CEO's car from ten thousand feet in the air.

                            1. re: la2tokyo
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                              ZeroSignal RE: la2tokyo Nov 17, 2010 11:29 AM

                              email: lisa@johnboos.com she is the customer service manager. maybe she can help you.

                            2. re: ZeroSignal
                              Chemicalkinetics RE: ZeroSignal Nov 17, 2010 11:14 AM

                              I am sure they make great products, afterall Boos is very much a food industry standard. I wonder if they just have poor QC (quality control). That is the average quality is high, but the variation is also high. As such, one out of a hundred customers get something aweful.

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