How to Bend Wood For Your Woodworking Projects?
Woodworking is a great hobby, and each project often calls for a unique set of strategies to be used to reach the end result. You want your projects to look as good and professional as possible, allowing you to show them off in style, so it is important that you equip yourself with the skills and knowledge to do some of the more intrigued techniques that some projects may require.
Wood bending is one particular strategy that people sometimes opt for in order to add a creative twist or two to their project. Even though more popular among furniture manufacturers, many woodworking hobbyists have also started to look into how they can add some bent wood to their projects to make them more interesting and creative.
Large manufacturing companies tend to use heavy machinery to get the job done, which is usually not possible at home for a small-time woodworker. Still, there are different strategies that can be used to achieve the same end result. In this post, we’ll consider some of the best ways that you can bend wood without having to spend thousands on professional equipment.
Why You’d Want To Bend Wood In The First Place?
There are many reasons why you might to include a wood bending strategy into the projects that you are working on – the specific reason will usually vary from one project to another. A variety of wood-based objects that you build can greatly benefit from such a technique. For example, if you are building a set of chairs for your porch or the outdoor pool area, you might want to have some bends in the wood that you will be using them as armrests. This will not only add some form to the chair itself but will also ensure you can make something “different” than the usual wooden chairs that you’d find on the market.
There are other types of projects where wood bending will also come in handy. Tables with rounded bottom parts bowls for the kitchen – these are only a few examples of the many projects that you can take on where wood bending would be useful.
Best Techniques For Bending Wood
There are various techniques that you can use in order to bend wood at home, often times without the need for those expensive pieces of equipment that are used at factories that specialize in the production of furniture at bulk.
Out of all the methods that you can use, the steam box method is the most common. Most of the factories that manufacture furniture and other wooden objects that require bending wood tend to utilize industrial machines that provide a similar method that uses steam.
Steam Box Method
- Wood or PVC Boxes for encapsulating the wood. The size will depend on the size of the wood you want to bend.
- Steam Generator. There are steam generator kits available just for bending wood. You can check some of them out here.
- Thermometer to check the temperature levels.
- A Flat wood base
- Jigs to hold the wood in bent shape after steaming
Setting up the System:
- Set up the wooden or PVC box with wire supports to place the wood inside.
- Ensure that the box is not air-tight to prevent pressure built-up while steaming. In case the box is air-tight make some holes in it.
- Attach the thermometer to one of the holes with the bulb inside the box.
- Connect the steam generator the box and the water supply. Ensure you have at least 5 gallons of water supply.
- Place the wood into the box and start the steam generator.
How Long to Steam the Wood?
It would depend on the thickness of the wood. The rule of thumb is one hour per inch of thickness.
Meanwhile the steaming is done, set up the form you want to bend the wood using a jig.
What to do after Steaming the Wood?
Once the wood has been steamed, the next step would be to remove the wood from the steam box and to place it in the form.
The form will then hold the wood for a certain period of time in order to allow the wood to maintain the new bent shape.
It is important that the wood is kept within the bent position on the form until it has completely dried.
Tips for Bending Wood
When it comes to bending wood, it is always important to consider the type of wood that is being used. There are various types of wood that you can use for bending – not all of them bend equally well. Thus, you will also need to be very careful when you do get to the part where you will be bending the wood.
There are other types of methods that can also be used for bending wood, including the lamination method, as well as the Kerf-cutting method. You will have to consider the pros and cons of each, and then choose the one that will best suit your needs.
Bending wood adds an interesting twist to your woodworking project, but needs to be done carefully, and you need to have patience with the process. Even though industrial companies tend to use large machinery that sometimes cost thousands to millions of dollars for this process, you can still bend wood at home with just a couple of tools. We provided you with some of the best techniques that you can use for wood bending in this post to help you get started.
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