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Blog entry..Winter Awards 2008 (Added pics...teasers though ;) )

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Blog entry by Ryan Shervill posted 2275 days ago 1109 reads 0 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

AAAAAAARRRRRGGGHHH! Steam bending standard 2X4 SPF stud material is, hands down, the single most difficult and FRUSTRATING practice I have ever undertaken. I went out to the shop today to finally begin assembly, and 30% of my pieces decided (after a night in the forms) that they didn’t want to bend after all :(

First time I’ve ever had wood splinter after being in the forms…oh well, in true LJ form I took a deep breath, collected my thoughts, then….... started over. I am down to 2/3’s of a stud now, which is OK because my original design was asthetically too “top heavy” and I needed to make the change anyway. I apologize for the lack of pics, but A: ANY pic I posted other than the ones in my first blog post would give away my surprise, and B: SWMBO has total control of the camera ;)

To anybody else that is trying to bend wood from a standard stud, you have my utmost respect….I’m into about 30 hours total now, and still don’t have anything that looks like a finished component. I have this “vision” of what this 2X4 can turn into: Gracefull curves and an organic appeal, while maintaing the usefullness of a functional piece of furniture…..but it really…REALLY doesn’t want to play along! Remember before when I said it was “personal” now? Well….now it’s at a whole new level. Now I’m making it my priorioty…no, my mission….no, my primary mission in life to bend this 2X4 to my will (pun intended). I have one more day to focus on this thing….then it will be decision time. It’s funny, the picture in my head seemed do-able…but the “getting there” is far more difficult than I would have imagined. I am on my final 2X4 (also removed from my 1/2 done basement reno) and I won’t be removing anymore framing. It’s this time or never!

My box entry was put on hold due to my (unhealthy) obsession with this piece of framing lumber, but I started the final finishing steps. Oil and french polish: Beautifull, but you really can’t rush it…..that’s OK, some projects, for some special people, are worth the time. And seeing as this one will be for my wife? I’m willing to take the time…I owe her way more than that.

Thanks for letting me vent, it’s 9:45 PM here and I’m heading back out to wrestle with my curse a little more…..wish me luck!

-- Want to see me completely transform a house? Look here: http://forum.canadianwoodworking.com/showthread.php?41055



21 comments so far

View mot's profile

mot

4911 posts in 2536 days


#1 posted 2275 days ago

NPDH!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8699 posts in 2599 days


#2 posted 2275 days ago

I never would have tried to steam bend a framing 2×4. I would have done a bent lamination. I have an idea the soft wood of the 2×4 will not accept steam bending the way that harder woods will.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View Karson's profile

Karson

34795 posts in 2900 days


#3 posted 2275 days ago

Sorry about the problems. I understand that HD still has some 2X4’s in stock if you want to try bent laminations.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 2488 days


#4 posted 2275 days ago

Lamination is the way to go.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Moron's profile

Moron

4666 posts in 2393 days


#5 posted 2275 days ago

nothing ventured

nothing gained

that what doesnt steam well and bend, generally doesnt bend well without steam

you cant have both in one step, or even two ar three or more steps, patience and as many as needed. It’s a lot like cooking.

steam the laminations and bend

steam the laminations again and bend again

then steam and glue the laminations when ready

those who never made a mistake, never did much.

Cheers

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View SPalm's profile

SPalm

4614 posts in 2381 days


#6 posted 2275 days ago

I feel your pain.
I tried and failed at bending this stuff.
I will go with what roman said, it did not bend well no matter how thin I cut it for laminations.
But I am sure you can do it, you got the skills.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View rikkor's profile

rikkor

11295 posts in 2374 days


#7 posted 2275 days ago

I can relate more than you know. Good luck my friend.

View YorkshireStewart's profile

YorkshireStewart

1103 posts in 2400 days


#8 posted 2275 days ago

Rikkor and Ryan. My sympathies are with you. I’m just pleased I didn’t go for a chair incorporating bends. I hope you had more success last night Ryan.

-- Res severa verum gaudium - True pleasure is a serious business. http://www.folksy.com/shops/TreeGems

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18613 posts in 2660 days


#9 posted 2275 days ago

oh Tom.. don’t rub it in—“No pictures; didn’t happen”—THAT”S the problem- it’s not happening!!

Keep the faith!! Don’t give in…...... You shall conquer… (and then a little Tim Allen man grunt for you)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8699 posts in 2599 days


#10 posted 2275 days ago

Oh yea, the man grunt.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View SPalm's profile

SPalm

4614 posts in 2381 days


#11 posted 2275 days ago

Thinking about this on my comute to work. I had always heard that successful bending required air dried lumber. The kiln drying locks in the fibers. I wonder if this has something to do with it.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View mrtrim's profile

mrtrim

1696 posts in 2380 days


#12 posted 2275 days ago

try buying your 2×4 at h. d they have plenty already bent !! lol

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18613 posts in 2660 days


#13 posted 2275 days ago

laughed out loud at that one MrTrim

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View toyguy's profile

toyguy

1353 posts in 2337 days


#14 posted 2275 days ago

My sympathies . But I just don’t understand !

When I did my 2×4 project the pieces bent all by them selves.

-- Brian, Ontario Canada,

View Ryan Shervill's profile

Ryan Shervill

278 posts in 2312 days


#15 posted 2274 days ago

Thinking about this on my comute to work. I had always heard that successful bending required air dried lumber. The kiln drying locks in the fibers. I wonder if this has something to do with it.

Yes, the fact that wood should be green or air-dried has something to do with it….AND the fact that softwood “can’t be steam bent”, AND the fact that every stud I looked at had full arc grain (made from small trees!) AND the knots that are ever present in framing lumber…...what can I say, it’s a challenge!

I am happy to report that my shop time (untill 1:30 AM) last night paid off….I actually managed to get 1/4” material to steam bend….and only got second degree burns in the process :)

To all that were talking about bent lamination, well….this design calls for both. some of the strips had to wwrap arounfd a tight radius, so glue laminating was out. Even at 3/32” they wouldn’t bend that tight, so I wen’t whole-hog and bent the full 1/4” thickness with the steam. Now that the individual strips are out of the forms, I have bent laminated them into another series of forms….forms forms forms…now I know where my time went!

I should be into glue-up tonight, and (God willing) sanding and finishing before the time limit is up :)

Thanks for the words of encouragement, I was at my limit last night and I needed that!

Ryan

-- Want to see me completely transform a house? Look here: http://forum.canadianwoodworking.com/showthread.php?41055

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