What do you think?


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Aug 7, 2005
Nanticoke, PA
WOLFrames Picture Framing
I had a customer come in just over a year ago and ordered some raw oak moulding that they wanted stained to match the trim in their house. I told them I couldn't do the staining, but I could get the moulding if they wanted to do it.

So fast forward to today, they bring the moulding in, finally got it stained, for me to cut and join the frame. Then the guy says that the moulding is warped and he doesn't like it. He says they must have used wood that wasn't dried correctly, if it was dried right it would never warp. I don't know about that. (It did have a bend of maybe 3/8" over 4 foot length. I don't know if it had the warp when I first got it in.) He noticed that it was warped when he started to stain it. He wanted me to get a replacement from the manufacturer. I told him they aren't going to replace moulding after over a year, especially after it's stained. He kept going on, so I made a phone call while he was there just to show him they wouldn't do it.

Then he asks what the cost of the moulding would be to order a replacement. I told him what my cost would be. He said he would think about it.

If he decides to order the replacement, I'm wondering if I should get money up front for it. And if, perchance the new moulding would have ANY type of warp, YIKES! I don't know if the company would accept a slight warp as a reason for returning it. Maybe I'll call them up and ask before he even gets back to me.
3/8 over 4 ft? Sounds straight to me - tell them, then tell the supplier customer's specs and get momey ahead of time
How did he treat it between getting it and staining it, no matter how its dried it can be warped if not supported. The customer is always right though...
Part of my conditions of sale:

All recommendations and information contained in our specification are to the best of our knowledge correct.

Since conditions of service are beyond our control, users must satisfy themselves that the products are suitable for the intended use.

No warranty is given or implied in respect of information or recommendations or that any use of products will infringe rights belonging to other parties.

In any event or occurrence our liability is limited to the invoice value of our goods delivered to you.

We reserve the right to change product design and properties without notice.

His claim that the wood wouldn't warp if properly dried should give you a hint. Tell him to put it back in the rack with the crown up and it should straighten out...in about a year.
I've had oak that was properly dried from a sawmill to make my own frames. Leaving it on a rack over a month after running it thru a jointer and planer, I noticed all of the boards had a slight warp to them. Fortunatly I left them a little thick. Running them through the jointer and planer again to straighen them out worked, but I noticed after making moulding out of it, and it setting for a week or so, it again had a small warp in most of the pieces. After checking at local lumber yards for finished oak, I never did find a piece over 4 ft that didn't have some kind of warp in it. I would think your customer leaving it for over a year before messing with it was his own fault, as you don't know if he stored it correctly or had it out in his garage all year leaning up against the wall. Tough situation to be in for sure either way you go.

Wood can and will move ("warp") after proper drying if subjected to uneven moisture or heat (which will have the effect of driving moisture out). Properly dried wood is 6-8% water, by weight. It can easily dry out more than that in a typical un-humidified winter home, or will pick up moisture in a typical non-A/C'd or non-dehumidified mone in the summer (unless it's in Phoenix....).

Just laying a piece of moulding on a flat shelf will restrict moisture movement on the bottom portion, so if you introduce air with a RH that will produce a different EMC than the wood is currently, you will produce movement. If the air is too dry, the exposed surfaces will dry (shrink) which will have the effect of the ends picking up. If the air is too wet the exposed surfaces will swell, which will cause the center of the stick to pick up.

It could also warp if it had stress introduced over a period of time by leaning against a wall, laying on an uneven surface or having other items pressing on it in an uneven manner.

Whether 3/8" warp over 4' is acceptable would be dependant on the specifications of the moulding and what it's being used for. If it were a large sectioned moulding that is almost impossible to bend, it's being used in its full length for one leg of a frame and has a 1/4" wide rabbet I would say it is probably unuseable. However, generally speaking 3/8" over 4' may not be desireable, but usually acceptable.
Originally posted by wpfay:
His claim that the wood wouldn't warp if properly dried should give you a hint. Tell him to put it back in the rack with the crown up and it should straighten out...in about a year.
Wally, don't make me laugh so much early in the morning!

I just spilled my Mint Tea over the cordless keyboard....
I would recommend that you sell the replacement as a joined frame. This way you have taken yourself out of the equation as to what happens after staining. This way you will also have control of cutting it in a manner that is straight because we all know that warped moulding can be cut and joined into a straight frame usually.
Try to make his frame from the "warped" length.

Chances are it will still look fine. If not I think Jeff got it right.

Join the new stuff before he stains it.

If that doesn't work, hit him over the head with it and kick him out the back door!
Yes but before you do that make sure you fillet him. Oh sorry this is food and not framing so that would be filet.

You are out of control - but sure made me laugh out loud!!

Thanks and I hope this has helped MarkyW with another odd retailing problem!
First let me clarify the manner of 'warpage': If you have the moulding against the wall the way it will be when hanging with the picture in it-the bend is away from the wall and toward the viewer (not up and down away from the edge of the picture). The painting it's going on is 2'x4' landscape orientation, so the 4' pieces will be on the top and bottom rails so I don't think it will really be too noticeable at all. But of course a person doesn't want to hear you say it doesn't matter.

I'll definitely check if the supplier can check and pull only straight length before I order. But, can it warp in below freezing temps during shipping (it coming from Georgia to PA)? And I think I might join it while raw as suggested.

It's a good thing I can't get in trouble for what I was thinking when they were here. My sister was here helping me with some stuff and she had to walk out of the room, she was getting perturbed. It's a good thing my other sister wasn't here, she would have told the guy off in NO uncertain terms.

And, of course, they want it for Christmas. But then, they wanted it for Christmas last November when they first came in.
And, of course, they want it for Christmas. But then, they wanted it for Christmas last November when they first came in. .....Don't you really mean, kill him, gut him and eat his liver??
With some fava beans and a nice Chianti !
:cool: Rick
Here's my theory: Ex's & customers are like vacuum cleaners....they'll suck the life out of you if you let them. Some times you just gotta pull the plug.

Of course its just a theory
Any wood, dried correctly or not will warp if not properly supported. I'm guessing they spent the better part of that year standing in a corner or on his basement floor pulling in moisture. It's pretty much his problem if it left your shop straight. Sell him something new, at cost, include shipping, prepaid and hope that keeps him happy. You really do not owe him much more than that.