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cupped table top1/13
seeking advise on how to flatten a table top. This is a 48" square elm slab top, 1" thick. My client purchased it from a maker who has since vanished. I found that the maker has finished the top with lacquer, but did no finish on the bottom. ( bad move ). The top has cupped with a top crown. what is the best way to get this thing flat again without major surgery ?
Top crown, I assume is convex on the top. If so, that means the bottom has dried out and shrunk, pushing the center of the table up.
If you put a humidifier under the table for an hour, then let it stabilize for an hour to assess then will see if it was enough. Keep doing that until you get the table top slightly concave. Wait for it to be nearly flat, but still concave and then apply a finish to the bottom. That should seal it. But it may not stay because it will still equalize internally with both sides sealed from the exterior.
How are the legs or apron fastened to the slab? Did he allow for shrinkage of the wood?
Another option is to rip the top into one or more pieces, rejoint edges, reglue, then flatten. You'll lose a kerf's width or two, but the multiple small crowns are easier to flatten than one large one.
If you have time. Finish the bottom and over time it will flatten itself.