desk, my first attempt at bent lamination

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Project by drewnahant posted 03-08-2011 04:38 AM 4643 views 6 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

this is actually an older project, completed feb 2008, but I just realized that I had all these photos and decided to post.
let me just say, the only wood I bought for this project was one sheet of 5/8 birch for the top, the rest is scraps, which is why there are a couple extra seems covered with edge banding.
so, I started with sketchup.

I decided that I wanted more desk space, but I didnt want to take up all of the floor space, so I designed it with a rolling cabinet and drop leaf section of the desk.

I wanted to try bending and laminating 1/4” birch plywood, I thought it would be fun. so I just kindof tried it without any real research. I steamed the plywood with a wet towel and an iron. It was a lot more effort than a steam box, but since i didnt have any real plans of doing this again, I didnt want to build a steam box just for this. Here I am pre-bending the panels.

once the panels were roughly bent, I covered them in glue, bent them around the interior frame, and since I dont have a vacuum press, I clamped them with a bunch of ratchet straps. I cut the drawer fronts, and the shelf openings out of the solid curve after lamination. this way the drawer fronts actually fit the curve of the face, and the grain fits in. It was a little tricky laying out the cuts, and then actually cutting it with a fine handsaw.

the top is pretty simple, just some 5/8 birch plywood, with a maple band bent around the edge. the final step was to accent edges, drawers, etc. with walnut edge banding, sand and finish with gloss clear polyurethane.

24 comments so far

View AugieCoe's profile


44 posts in 2712 days

#1 posted 03-08-2011 05:03 AM

That’s pretty cool!

-- There is a lesson in every project. Play safe!

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 2676 days

#2 posted 03-08-2011 05:15 AM

Very nice job. Bent form lamination and freeform opens up the world of possibilities in woodworking.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18285 posts in 3698 days

#3 posted 03-08-2011 06:12 AM

Nice job. It really takes another WW to appreciate that.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3549 days

#4 posted 03-08-2011 06:18 AM

The outcome of your first attempt appears as though you have been doing it for decades! Great job and the design is really awesome!

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4423 days

#5 posted 03-08-2011 06:20 AM

A great job. making your own bending ply.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Ryan Bruzan's profile

Ryan Bruzan

153 posts in 2917 days

#6 posted 03-08-2011 07:03 AM

That is AWESOME! Now I’m gonna have to try it.

-- No matter how many factors go into thinking about a project, there is always one important new discovery to be made.

View steliart's profile


2690 posts in 2710 days

#7 posted 03-08-2011 07:14 AM

excellent project

-- Stelios L.A. Stavrinides: - I am not so rich to buy cheap tools, but... necessity is the mother of all inventions

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3735 days

#8 posted 03-08-2011 07:22 AM

AN inspiring project! Thanks for the post and the great idea.

-- "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 David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 2662 days

#9 posted 03-08-2011 07:35 AM

Very nice. Looks professional. Hell, I’d have it. I like projects that don’t look home made, but are. Impressive.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View RPKnikker's profile


64 posts in 2665 days

#10 posted 03-08-2011 02:56 PM

Very nice!!! I like the 2e 3D picture! Works well!!!
Good luck to make your next project!

-- Register at my website if you're interested in my projects... It's FREE!

View 489tad's profile


3368 posts in 3034 days

#11 posted 03-08-2011 04:17 PM

An iron and a towel. Thats cool.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View 4thumbs's profile


153 posts in 3169 days

#12 posted 03-08-2011 04:23 PM

Great job! Bent laminations are tedious, but sure do open up design options like this. Well done!

-- 4thumbs in MO

View nobuckle's profile


1120 posts in 2783 days

#13 posted 03-08-2011 04:38 PM

Okay, first let me say, WOW! That is a really nice desk. You have inspired me to take a second look at material that would normally be pitched in the trash. Absolutely amazing.

-- Doug - Make an effort to live by the slogan "We try harder"

View Ken90712's profile


17563 posts in 3211 days

#14 posted 03-08-2011 04:58 PM

Great work, looks great all the way around.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Jason's profile


659 posts in 3530 days

#15 posted 03-08-2011 06:59 PM

Turned out well.

-- Jason - Colorado Springs

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