As I've tried to save as many of my Sn3 kits as possible after the Colorado floods, the standard tactic has been to dry them out flat on a table. Plastic parts dry out fine, resin - it depends, plans and drawings dry wrinkled or stick themselves together and decals are a total loss. Beautiful laser-cut wooden parts, especially thin sheets of plywood, may dry out OK. In the case of thin basswood, either plain or milled, they dry out looking like a potato chip, a very distorted one. It's so frustrating to see those nice laser-cut parts looking so straight, still wet in a plastic bag, knowing what is likely to happen when they dry.
I therefore decided to try a different approach last evening with Bill Banta's Sn3 Baker Tank kit - by golly,
I'll assemble it while it's still damp! I started with the tank core, a set of 4 laser-cut discs with 6 interlocking X-braces between the discs. Initially it looked like a good idea, except the parts increased in thickness due to the moisture content and would no longer fit easily into the slots in the discs. Sanding the parts helped, so it was onward. As I assembled the second disc in the 'wedding cake", a problem became very apparent. The discs were not round after all, but ellipses. My tank was going to be oval, not round, not very typical of water tanks.
Learning point #1 - 1/16 basswood doesn't expand evenly when wet. Doing the math in this case, the basswood expanded about 5% more across the grain than with the grain, a difference if about 3/16" on a disc. The result was an ellipse rather than a circle. I took the partially assembled parts apart,
cleaned off the glue, and let them dry overnight.
I tried again this morning, as the discs had returned to being circular after drying, but as I expected they were warped like a Pringles Potato Chip. It was obvious the intended construction sequence wasn't going to work.
Learning point #2 - I took a feature from the Crystal River water tank kits and applied it to Bill Banta's tank. I added four strips of scrap balsa the same height as the X-braces, adding them between the extremes of the "X-braces to form a box around the X. This stabilized the structure, giving more gluing support to the edges of the potato-chip-shaped discs. I'm not saying it was a simple assembly, but it has caused no real problems. The assembled tank core is much stronger, and it's both round and true.
Since the assembly jigs were laser-cut cardboard
and suffered similar water exposure, they also warped badly when dried. Gluing the two jig parts together with Titebond red-label and placing them under heavy weights for the night should make them stay flat enough to use.
With the remaining parts dry and looking useable, this might be a successful salvage job after all.