Steambending (updated Form)

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Project by kiefer posted 06-17-2014 10:49 PM 2896 views 15 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am making more back scratchers and had to bend a hook on the end of the cherry blank so I tried this .

This is a little experiment that I had to try using fabric softener in the steaming water.
The set up I used is as follows .
Boild the water with the fabric softener and let the wood soak and steam for about half an hour .
I added a good shot from the bottle of fabric softener and made about a 20to1 mix .
The jig is pretty simple and made from items I had around the shop .
I am amazed how much better this worked with the fabric softener added to the water ,all four pieces of cherry measuring 2 1/4”x 3/16 ” bent without a problem around the 1 1/8” radius . Watch the video and let me know what you think .

-- Kiefer 松

24 comments so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5186 posts in 2983 days

#1 posted 06-17-2014 10:53 PM

I suspect the fabric softener increased the specific heat of the water, hotter water means the lignin will be more pliable making tge wood more supple.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View JL7's profile


8324 posts in 2235 days

#2 posted 06-18-2014 12:53 AM

That’s a nice discovery for sure…looking forward to seeing the finished product.

View Roger's profile


19113 posts in 2074 days

#3 posted 06-18-2014 12:56 AM

Fantastic Kiefer! Looks very simple and very effective. Good stuff.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View woodshaver's profile


3831 posts in 2623 days

#4 posted 06-18-2014 01:16 AM

Great thinking Kiefer! Watched you video and it helps tremendously watching you explain how you do this. I could use a nice back scratcher too!

-- Tony C UAW, St Augustine FL, My high school shop teacher said "You can do it"... Now I can't stop!

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5741 posts in 1563 days

#5 posted 06-18-2014 01:25 AM

Slick solution! Nice going.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View sras's profile


4336 posts in 2400 days

#6 posted 06-18-2014 01:29 AM

You know – as soon as I saw that piece of belt in the picture, I thought “This looks like a Kiefer project”

It was! And another good one – thanks for the tip.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Jim Jakosh's profile (online now)

Jim Jakosh

15560 posts in 2376 days

#7 posted 06-18-2014 02:32 AM

Very neat idea. Thanks for the tip!!...................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View hoss12992's profile


3708 posts in 1163 days

#8 posted 06-18-2014 03:23 AM

Great job buddy and thanks for sharing. I really need to try that.

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View eddie's profile


8109 posts in 1884 days

#9 posted 06-18-2014 03:44 AM

Kiefer that pretty cleaver ,thanks for the video too have a project in mind thats going to have some steam bending , looking great and thanks for sharing

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View Andre's profile


872 posts in 1076 days

#10 posted 06-18-2014 05:17 AM

Good Video! So Downy or Bounce? Took a break from the garden shed and made a cutting board, will post after the final finish is complete! I have a feeling my shop will never get finished.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View stefang's profile


15324 posts in 2605 days

#11 posted 06-18-2014 07:40 AM

Thanks for that nice video Klaus, your process looks very simple and straight forward. I’ve never heard of using fabric softener for steam bending before. A great idea. Are you the first to do this? The applications for those belts in your shop seems endless, at least for someone as creative as yourself.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View GerardoArg1's profile


915 posts in 1264 days

#12 posted 06-18-2014 11:43 AM

Excelent. Thank for post!

-- Disfruta tu trabajo (enjoy your work) (Bandera, Argentina)

View kiefer's profile


4543 posts in 1937 days

#13 posted 06-18-2014 12:24 PM

Thanks for the comments .
Like I said it’s an experiment and I like to thank the person that suggested using fabric softener .
I will take this further and take some samples and see how good it will glue in case I need to make an item that uses multiple components .
I think a video is a helpful tool to explain a process and gives a much better insight than text and pictures .
What brand of softener I will use will be decided by what my wife uses and yes those timing belts are so versatile I would not know what to do without them .

Be well Klaus

-- Kiefer 松

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1274 posts in 1205 days

#14 posted 06-18-2014 01:41 PM

Very cool trick. Never would have thought of that

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View Earlextech's profile


1154 posts in 1961 days

#15 posted 06-18-2014 01:53 PM

Was it kiln dried wood?

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

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