Flattening a Bowed Panel

Attempts to flatten a laminated or veneered panel that has bowed are rarely if ever successful. March 28, 2010

Is there a way to flatten a bowed balanced panel?

Forum Responses
(Veneer Forum)
From contributor B:
You can lay it concave side down on a flat worktable for a while and that may help in a day or two. You can also lay it the same way with a block under one end and weigh down the middle of the panel until it flattens. I have found this works best on panels that are only a couple days from the press, longer and they don't move as well.

From contributor D:
It all depends on how it got less than flat, the materials involved, and thicknesses. Rarely reversible is the general answer, though.

From contributor C:
Contributor D is right on this one. I had some panels that were bowed and I put them under a load of wood to flatten them and left them there for a year. Within minutes of taking them out and letting them sit they began to assume the original bow. I did this as an experiment to see what would happen as I had already remade the panels earlier when it first happened.

From contributor L:
If the panel is veneer and not finished, try dampening the convex side slightly and let it dry. If it moves correctly, do it again.

From contributor C:
Eventually it will move back to the original warp that was before. The panel has to be balanced or it will warp to the stronger pull of one side. Even melamine doors that are laminated on one side will warp to the laminate side, even though the salesmen will often tell you otherwise!