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Bending Wood, It can't be this hard!

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  • Bending Wood, It can't be this hard!

    I have spent the day trying to reproduce a corner cabinet in my kitchen. On the original cabinet, the shelves are trimed by a 1/4"x3/4" piece of wood bent to follow a half round piece of 3/4" plywood.
    I have tried steaming, boiling....everything but Shake and Bake and cooking in the oven intill tender, but still the middle of the bend breaks out.
    I'm using Poplar.
    I'm steaming...boiling for about ten minutes.
    Any ideas???
    Rob Johnson
    Orange,Ca.

    [ 05-12-2003, 08:11 PM: Message edited by: Backyard Woodworker ]
    Just tilt your head a little and it will look straight!

  • #2
    I wish you would have asked this question back in 1975, when I studied bending in school!

    I would do a search on the internet, there is got to be a page somewheres on bending. If I remember right, there was chemicals involved, and a lot more time than 10 mintues invovled in bending wood. And the arc can not be all achieved at once. It's an ongoing process. One of those 8th virtue things.
    John E. Adams<br /><a href=\"http://www.woodys-workshop.com\" target=\"_blank\">www.woodys-workshop.com</a>

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    • #3
      Re steaming: Disagree on chemicals, agree on not nearly enough time, disagree on not all at once. If you don't make the bend all at once, you don't make the bend. Most woods cannot be steam bent twice.

      I'm durned if I can remember the proper time. Try a half hour, then an hour. Quarter inch is pretty thin, but you have to get it steamed through and through. I have no idea what Poplar's bending performance is, some woods just don't bend worth diddley.

      Dave

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      • #4
        You also need to make sure you are bending stuff that is close to quatersawn stock as flat sawn will have the tendency to split. Also, try laminating 1/8" pieces. ithey will be a whole lot easier to work with. Finally, Use a few brads until the glue dries...Then you can take them out [img]tongue.gif[/img]

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        • #5
          The easiest way I have found is buy some flex board and use a 1/8" veneer over it.

          The other way is to make your own plywood. Take several sheets of 1/8"" sheets glue, bend and clamp. I think there is a spring back factor. You may have to pratice. Make sure you cut the sheets long enough to cut the ends, it will come out stepped on each end.
          SCWood

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          • #6
            Watched a windsor chair program this last weekend (Woodright Shop?). Rule was 1 hour steaming per inch of wood thickness. You need to make a jig/press to bend the wood to curve and allow to set. Allow for springback. The wood will split on the out curve unless supported. You only have a few minutes of working time once you bring the wood out of the steamer. David Marks likes using MDF to form his press. He also laminates thin pieces too as reason above. In reading your post I assume you are just trying to bend the steamed wood around the curve. From what little I know you need to form the wood and then attach it.

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            • #7
              If you get a chance watch David Marks on DIY. His show is called woodworks, and he does a lot of bending. Try this link:

              www.diynet.com/DIY/article/0,2058,7614,00.html
              PROFESIONAL SAWDUSTMAKER

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              • #8
                Thanks for all the input. I'll try steaming for an hour. If that fails, I think I'll go the strip method. The finished cabinet will be painted,so any laminating would be hidden.
                Thanks,
                Rob Johnson
                Orange Ca.
                Just tilt your head a little and it will look straight!

                Comment


                • #9
                  From what I read on bending in R. Bruce Hoadleys book, Understanding Wood, is you should have a strap. In a bend the outside is stretched and the inside is compressed, wood just does not stretch well. When a strap is used (typically metal) the strap does the stretching and the entire piece of wood is compressed. As far as time, he isn't pinned down, though says a 1/2" strip of walnut worked well in 15 mins.

                  A strap could possibly be fashioned from some allround and the blocks easly adjusted by screwing them to fit the piece your bending.

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                  • #10
                    That sounds like a good idea. The strap would actually support the wood while bending. This also wouldn't be just a one time use tool, as it could be made to any lengh and adjusted to whatever is being bent. I think I'll try making one from 1 1/2" wide banding material when I get home. As for now, my wife is making me take the weekend off for a trip to Mexico.
                    Rob Johnson
                    Orange,Ca.
                    Just tilt your head a little and it will look straight!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Enjoy your trip!
                      And let us know of the wonderous sites you seen along the way.
                      Just don't drink the water...take your own.
                      Adventures are seldom without pleasures.
                      John E. Adams<br /><a href=\"http://www.woodys-workshop.com\" target=\"_blank\">www.woodys-workshop.com</a>

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                      • #12
                        Back from Mexico. My wife is now the proud owner of 9 very large pots and about 45 pounds for fake silver. She had every compartment of the old Winnabago packed.
                        Me, I think I gained about 15 pounds. What great food!
                        Now it's back to work on the kitchen cabinet. Going to try and build that strap assembley.
                        Again, Thanks for all the input.
                        Rob Johnson
                        Orange, Ca.
                        Just tilt your head a little and it will look straight!

                        Comment

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