How many times have you gone and purchased a piece of wood and got it home and cursed it because it has a bend it in. Then as you move along into your woodworking hobby, you discover that there are times that; you wish you could bend the wood. Well actually, you can and there are a few methods not all that difficult to do to help you achieve this. There are methods such steam bending or microwave steaming. Then there are Kerf cut bending or laminated wood bending, so you can see there are a few options ahead of you.
Don’t even think about attempting to bend wood without a form. When you have removed the treated wood from the steam box you need to get it clamped into place as quickly as possible and that’s where the form comes into play. You can easily make your own forms with several layers of MDF.
Now let’s look at micro waving wood. Naturally you aren’t going to get a big piece of wood into your microwave so this is just for small pieces. Wrap the piecedin a wet paper towel and nuke it for only a few seconds. It works just like a steam box. You will have to experiment with the time because of the variations in the wood.
The most tried and true method for wood bending is the steam method. You will need to make a steam box so you need a heat source, a container to hold the water, which is going to be heated, and a hose for the steam to pass through. A separate box is needed for the wood that is going to be treated. For your heat source it doesn’t have to be anything elaborate it cane even be a hot plate. Nothing with open flames though. A teakettle makes a great water container but you have to be able to modify it so you can add a hose to it.
For the steam box, you can use any type of pipe or wooden box that you construct yourself. The steam has to be able to escape though or you will end up with an explosion.
You must be very careful not to get burnt when doing this the steam is extremely hot and heats up everything. Make sure you wear gloves. Again making sure that you, steam has a way of escaping you can start off with about an hour of this treatment; you may need more again depending on the variation of the wood.
Laminated wood is much easier to bend because of its thickness. You will need the form but not the other equipment. Make sure the piece you are bending is longer than you need and it must be thin. Then you just glue the layers together as you stack them in the form and clamp them. Once dry trim the edges.