Salvaging distorted wood is possible. Minor corrections involve cutting cracked, split, discolored or curved ends. Cut off any areas with loose knots. Throw away any scraps or use them in a wood burner to heat the workshop, garage or house. The cut off lumber works great for kindling.
Flatten a crocked board on a table saw. Place the flat edge against the rip fence and cut off the crook. Flip the board and make a second cut to create a crisp edge.
Salvage a cupped board by cutting it into smaller strips. Place the concave of the crook facing up. Lay one edge against the rip fence. Make sure to lift the other side of the board off the surface until the board is lying flat on the table saw bed. Make the cut. Turn the board around and cut the other cupped edge in the same manner.
Split and cracked ends need to be cut off the board one to two inches above the void. The wood grains are weak from the splitting process. It is important to take enough of the wood off the end of the board so it does not continue to split once it has been used. The split and cracks occur from the drying process. It is best not to use a split or cracked board in a fine piece of furniture due to the fact the wood could continue to split with age.
Remove any loose knots by cutting the wood above and below the knot. Make sure to get high enough to remove the grain of the wood that curves and surrounds the knot. A loose knot will not stay in a piece of wood even if it is glued. The wood and the knot dry at different speeds. As the wood dries, it pulls away from the knot in the surface. Do not use wood with knots in any fine furniture.
Discolored pieces of wood can occur either from the treatment of the wood or the wood is diseased. It is best to avoid purchasing discolored wood. But, if it happens, cut off the discolored area.
Avoid purchasing distorted wood by looking at each piece of wood individually before purchase. Store the wood on a flat area with plenty of air circulation. Lay flat pieces of wood perpendicular with a lumber pile to help get air circulation under the wood. Wood expands and contracts with humidity. Wood on the bottom of a lumber pile stacked directly on the floor or ground will absorb moisture and not have the ability to release it on all four sides of the lumber.
Never store wood standing on end. This will cause warping in the length of the board. When storing paneling, plywood or other 4-by-8-sheets either store them flat or stand them on a slit vertical against a way. Stand the sheets so they are only four foot tall. This will avoid a bow from happening in the middle of the sheets.