Originally Posted by Itsmeyippee
I have some old cradled wood panels 24" x36" that have warped. I've painted the back side too hoping for the best but they are still warped. Is there really any fix? Also I'd appreciate suggestions about where to buy quality panels that won't do this, hopefully without breaking the bank. Thanks.
I have tried everything I could find to straighten some large 48" to 72" Art Alternatives panels that bowed almost 3" from level on the longest width, as soon as I took them out of the plastic wrapping - Steaming, wetting, clamping with reverse camber for several months - Nothing worked. The only thing that was a 100% fix was to put them in some fairly wide, from front to back, metal frames or attach larger cradle boards to the sides. The warping pretty much did away with why I bought a cradled panel - so I could display it without a frame.
The problem with the Art Alternative offerings is the pathetically small size of the cradle boards they use. They are only 1.75" deep and 1/2" thick. That is usually fine for a 12x16 and smaller but woefully undersized for larger stuff. Plus the cradle boards are some kind of fir or pine, probably not kiln dried. The bracing boards on the AA panels are also way too thin to stop the warping. The birch plywood AA uses is of a lower quality from China which adds to the problem.
I would seal any bare wood cradled panels as soon as they arrive. Urethane wood finishes, shellac, various primers like Bullseye etc. work well for the sides and backs and your choice of ground for the front. Sealing the Art Alternatives as soon as you take them out if the packaging can help stop warping, but the big ones are going to warp anyway some of the time.
I can recommend Fox Haase panels as the best I have used. I have never had any warping problems with 2" cradled Fox Haase panels though I haven't bought any bigger than 48". You can buy the Fox Haase panels direct from the factory in quantity or from this website in smaller numbers: https://www.rexart.com/cradled-wood-...xtra-deep.html
They use 2" x 13/16" thick US sourced kiln dried Basswood for the cradles and high quality cabinet grade 1/8" Baltic Birch plywood for the panels. The Art Alternatives cradling looks like Popsicle sticks next to them. Don't go less than the 2" cradling for large panels. There are custom cradled panel makers out there who build some premium stuff but they are quite expensive. Making your own isn't too difficult if you have the tools.
I switched to ACM panels for everything except Encaustics. They don't warp so you don't need cradling. Adding metal or wood cradling or bracing for huge panels if desired to make them easier to move about and transport by yourself without worrying about bending them can be done easily with epoxy or urethane glue. I have not felt bracing was needed for up to 60" wide pieces with the 4mm thick panels. Big 3mm panels will need bracing.