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How to Straighten a Warped Timber

Is there any way to fix twists in maple mantels?
Philip Hatfield, Ottawa, Kansas.


We recently purchased a house that
has solid maple mantels over each of three fireplaces. Unfortunately, they have all twisted noticeably. Is there any way to correct this problem?
—Philip Hatfield, Ottawa, Kans.


Norm Abram replies: Once timber twists, that's it; you can't untwist it. But you can resize it—make it smaller—by planing it square. This is probably too big a job for a hand plane, but you could turn the mantels over to someone—a local woodworking shop, perhaps—that has a thickness planer and a jointer. Otherwise, talk to a timber framer or a contractor that specializes in barn construction; they work with large timbers all the time and can probably tell you whether yours are worth the trouble or whether it makes more sense to build new.


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