How to Use
The key elements required to repair a warped or dished vinyl record are pressure, heat
and time – the exact same elements that damaged the record in the first place.

The
Vinyl Flat Record Flattener furnishes the required amount of pressure (on precise
areas of the record using vinyl-safe materials).  The other elements - heat and time - are
furnished by you.

For a heat source, we suggest our optional Groovy Pouch.  You may also use a
standard kitchen oven or a small convection toaster oven.  With that in mind, the two
most important rules to follow when repairing vinyl records with an oven as the heat
source are “LOW” and “SLOW”.

  • LOW = LOW HEAT.  Keep the temperature at 130 to 150 degrees F (65 degrees C
    maximum) or lower.  The lower the temperature, the safer the record.  At 130 150
    degrees.  If you use 130 degree F heat, we recommend an initial heating cycle of
    45 minutes for most LPs.  If you are using 150 degree heat, be sure to follow our
    estimated Heating and Cooling Cycle times provided in the Vinyl Flat instructions.

  • SLOW = BE PATIENT.   Every record is different and some records may take
    longer to flatten.  Other records may never completely flatten.  Your patience will
    be rewarded using steady, low heat.


Create a Warped Test Record to Practice with the Vinyl Flat

Before you use the Vinyl Flat to repair a valued record, we suggest that you first
practice with a warped test record.  To create a warped record, use a throw-away LP
(we suggest a medium-weight LP that weighs around 130 grams).  Pre-heat your oven
to 200 F (93 C).  Place the throw-away LP on a cookie sheet and put it in the oven.  Set a
timer for 4 minutes and keep a very close watch on the record.  When the record starts
to react to the heat ( the edges of the record will rise), immediately remove the LP from
the oven.   The softened vinyl will remain pliable for a few seconds so if the warp is
extreme, you can use your finger to gently press down on the warp to reduce it.  The
record will rapidly cool and you will be able to use it with the Vinyl Flat in just a few
minutes.


How to Use the Vinyl Flat with Any Kitchen Oven

Almost all kitchen ovens will heat to 250 F (121 C).  Some contemporary ovens are able
to heat as low as 150 F/65 C but very few ovens will heat as low as 130 F/54 C (and if an
oven does heat that low, the thermostat swing range will be wide and inconsistent).  
The good news is…with a digital thermometer and a little practice, you can use
practically any kitchen oven to heat to a vinyl-safe average temperature of 130 F (54 C).

To safely use a kitchen oven with the Vinyl Flat, you will need to watch your digital
thermometer and manually turn the oven on and off during the heating cycle to create
an average temperature inside the oven.  This is not as bad as it sounds because a
kitchen oven typically holds heat pretty well when it is turned off, requiring you to only
turn it on and off a few times during the entire heating cycle.  In effect, you are acting as
a manual thermostat to maintain an average oven temperature by watching your digital
thermometer and manually turning the oven on and off.

Here’s how it works.  First, hang the probe of your digital thermometer from the middle
oven rack, just below where you will heat the Vinyl Flat.  Set the temperature display
that is attached to the probe in a convenient location outside the oven.

Next, turn your oven on to Bake at 250 F (121 C).  The goal is to let the oven warm-up to
130 F (54 C) and then turn it off.  This will occur fairly rapidly because the oven is trying
to get to 250 F (121 C).  Once you see the temperature approaching 130 F (54 C),shut
the oven off and observe the digital thermometer reading.  It will trend up several more
degrees and eventually start to fall back down.

When the temperature drops back down to near 130 F (54 C), place the Vinyl Flat on the
middle shelf, shut the oven door and set your timer for the desired heat cycle time
(typically, 50 to 60 minutes at 130 F/54 C).  You will notice the temperature drop further
due to the oven door being opened.  Once the temperature drops to 125 F (52 C), turn
the oven back on to Bake at 250 F (121 C), and again, shut it off once you see the
temperature go above 130 F (54 C).  Soon the oven temperature will stabilize and the
temperature will drop very slowly and gradually when it is off.

Monitor the temperature range and try to maintain a 125 to 135 F range (52 C to 57 C) by
turning the oven on and off, thereby creating an average oven temperature close to 130
F (54 C) over the length of the heating cycle.


Verify the Vinyl Record Weight

You can save a lot of time and greatly increase your success with the Vinyl Flat by
using an inexpensive digital kitchen scale to verify the record weight.  Once you have a
good idea of the record weight, use the estimated Heating/Cooling cycle times for the
record (based on its weight), from the table that is included with the
Vinyl Flat
instructions.  For example, the record shown below weighs 128 grams.  The table in the
Vinyl Flat instructions suggests heating a 128-gram record for 70 minutes at 130
degrees F and then cooling the Vinyl Flat for 45 minutes before removing the record
from the Vinyl Flat and trying it on your turntable.
PLEASE NOTE:   This video was produced in 2011 and does not reflect the numerous
improvements in flattening techniques and product updates to the Vinyl Flat over the past 4
years  (e.g. the "hard" Groovy Rings shown in the video were replaced by synthetic fabric
rings back in 2012)  Please download our product instructions for the latest information on
our products and associated techniques!