Tips
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 oven temperature near 130 F (54
    degrees C) or lower.  The lower the temperature, the safer the
    process.  At 130 degree F oven heat, we recommend an initial
    heating cycle of 45 minutes for most LPs.

  • 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 as a warped test record 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.