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Thread: Bending Veneer?

  1. #1
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    Default Bending Veneer?

    I intend to build a ukulele. But I am confused about how to bend the sides. The timber I have is New Guinea Rosewood 7mm.thick. Looking on the net some say use a heating iron some say steam?? I don't know how the iron works e.g. do you simply heat the area and progressivly bend the timber to shape? And with steaming is there a risk of discolouration???? Any suggestions.:confused:

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    Both heat and moisture help when bending wood. You need to have forms to bend your wood on, and it may be held by clamps or a vacuum bag. (Do a search on vacuum). A hot iron over a wet towel should heat the veneers enough to bend, as long as you work quickly to get it into the forms. Depending on how big the pieces are, you may be able to soak them then heat them in the microwave. That's probably the most effective way of heating small pieces to bend them.
    I've never bent NG rosewood, but don't think it will discolour. Try a small sample first.
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    Thanks for the tips I will probably try the iron and wet towel trick first...Cheers Old Salt.

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    Back in my earlier life as a new young WWing teacher (Man that was a long time ago ... 60s) I was located near a veneer mill where the log was sliced automatic with a machine that bundled the works as it emerged from the device. After inspection some of the bundles were rejected. The company would donate the culls to our schools. We proudly accepted the bounty. In as much as it were free and I had kids (of poor family income) I set about finding resources to use the free goods. I had the kids learn to make molds of curved surfaces we learned Band saw skills and most of all sanding skills with mating surfaces a requirement. Using Wax paper as a mold release and multiple layers of Pecan veneer and yellow wood glue the kids fabricated many different projects ranging from Salad fork & spoons, hair combs (picks), desk sets, chair backs, and a host of more advanced projects. All of these were completed by squeezing glue between layers of veneer and pressing in a mold till dry. This is how I would approach your delima.

    If you want further details I will be proud to expound my vast wordage of knowledge on the simple subject.

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    G'day Hickory
    Thanks for your trouble to reply, after looking at the web and other sources,I'm in information overload at the moment. I think the best thing to do is KISS (Keep it simple stupid!) and try the wet cloth and towel method.After that I will maybe build a steam box......OLD SALT
    Last edited by OLD SALT; 8th Sep 2006 at 02:58 AM. Reason: Needed to identify post submission.

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    7mm sounds pretty thick? Is that the recommended wood thickness?
    Rusty

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    My wife plays the cello and recently we went to a violin maker for a tuneup. I asked him if the wood used in the instruments was steam bent, but he said that it wasn't. He said that the hardest thing about making the instruments was planing down the wood to 1.5mm thick (I think this was the wood for the sides). 7mm sounds waaay too thick for the sides of a guitar. Even the top would only be about 3-5mm thick?
    "If something is really worth doing, it is worth doing badly." - GK Chesterton

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