Your records may become warped over time, in most cases due to improper storage. Or, if you order a record online, a courier service can warp it during transit. You might wonder whether warped records can be fixed.
Well, if you can’t have it replaced, instead of just throwing it away, there will be no harm in giving your record a chance. You can check if your local record store offers warped record repair services or use this simple repair guide.
Besides a warped record itself, you will need two glass sheets larger than your record, a weight, and an oven. You can get glass sheets in your local hardware shop. As for the oven, the one in your kitchen will work fine as long as it can maintain a constant temperature.
First of all, get rid of the dust on your records surfaces, and clean them with record cleaner. Next, clean the surfaces of the glass sheets that will touch your record in the same way. Place your warped record between the glass sheets, preheat your oven to 175°F (80°C), then put the ‘sandwich’ in the oven. After about 10 minutes, take it out using oven mitts, place it on a flat surface, and put the weight on top. Let your record cool this way. Check the progress of your warped record repair after about an hour. If necessary, repeat the procedure. When you are done with your record repair, keep it in its sleeve and jacket in an upright position to avoid further damage.
You can also try to place your record on a flat surface and some big heavy books on top of it and leave it this way for a couple of weeks. Depending on the initial degree of warping, it can also help, although it usually does not guarantee the perfect flatness of your record after the repair. But if the record plays fine, you can consider it fixed.
If you have a lot of warped records that are really valuable for you, you might benefit from buying a warped record flattening machine. It works on the same principle as heating in an oven, but it is more precise and safer in terms of possible damage to records. The machine does not heat grooves – it concentrates heat in the center and around the outer edge. A record heats up gradually over two hours and then gradually cools down for another two hours, so the process is much better controlled than if you were using an oven.
Those fortunate enough to have their damaged records repaired with these machines generally report excellent results. The only downside – such a machine will cost you a fortune. So if you are not willing to spend more than $1000 for a purchase that you will use only a few times a year, warped records repair is something you can outsource.