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Project by kiefer posted 09-25-2013 05:50 PM 4950 views 18 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This a steamed wood bending jig that I am currently using to make some bent wood hinges for a box that I am building .
I used the micro wave stem bending process and this form with a discarded timing belt which has Kevlar imbedded into it and does not stretch as opposed to steel strap and a stop block made from plywood .
The process I used is soak the wood blank which in this case is 1”x11”x1/8” walnut for about an hour in warm water . Steam the blank in the MV for about a minute wrapped in a wet towel and let rest for about four minutes then reheat for another minute and let rest again and then a final reheat for another minute.
Run to the shop leaving the wood rapped in the hot wet towel and wearing gloves ,this thing is steaming hot !
Insert the blank into the ready jig and lock on the stop block ,keeping tension on the piece as I bend it around the 7/8” radius form and helping form by pushing with my left hand against the belt in the sharp bend area.
When the main bend is formed I clamp a pressure block to the belt and form to create the reverse bend .
After the part has cooled for several hours I remove it from the form and insert a wood plug and clamp it ( see pic 2 ) .
The biggest issue I have is finding straight grain wood and I also have only kiln dried lumber available .
The process seems to work but it took several attempts and failures to figure out the timing of the steaming process but I have made several parts now and it seems to work fairly consistently .
I will post the box with the hinges soon for you to look at .

-- Kiefer 松

19 comments so far

View Earlextech's profile


1047 posts in 1475 days

#1 posted 09-25-2013 06:03 PM

I’ve never used the microwave system but with standard steaming I’ve found that doubling the steam time for kiln dried wood usually does the trick.

Can’t wait to see the project!

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

View michelletwo's profile


2302 posts in 1800 days

#2 posted 09-25-2013 06:04 PM

I use an old metal gutter on my cookstove and fill with water & the wood. Put a top on it. Keep it just under boiling/simmering..I have bent kiln dried oak& ash pretty well this way. I also try hard to find rift or quartersawn wood

-- We call the destruction of replaceable human made items vandalism, while the destruction of irreplaceable natural resources is called development.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

12455 posts in 1890 days

#3 posted 09-25-2013 06:08 PM

Very cool Idea!!!!!!!!!!..............Jim

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

View stefang's profile


13762 posts in 2119 days

#4 posted 09-25-2013 06:15 PM

Good way to heat the wood, and I like the timing belt idea too.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View hoss12992's profile


3011 posts in 678 days

#5 posted 09-25-2013 06:30 PM

This is really cool. I have not tried steaming wood yet, but have some projects coming up that I will be trying it on. Very interesting on your setup. Great job and thanks for posting. I look forward to seeing your finished project.

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View TurnTurnTurn's profile


601 posts in 1894 days

#6 posted 09-25-2013 07:13 PM

Great idea, can’t wait to see the finished product.

-- TurnTurnTurn

View kiefer's profile


3461 posts in 1452 days

#7 posted 09-25-2013 07:38 PM

What attracted me to micro wave heating is the time it takes and the convenience but is limited by the size of the MV .
In my neck of the woods walnut oak ash are only available from the lumber yard as does not grow here ,so I am stuck with whatever I can get .
The box should be ready in a couple of days and I will post it then .
Just thought this would be of interest to some and would get lost in the box post .

-- Kiefer 松

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5017 posts in 1077 days

#8 posted 09-25-2013 08:09 PM

Interesting process—look forward to seeing your project using this hinge part.

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

View jbschutz's profile


429 posts in 1476 days

#9 posted 09-25-2013 10:21 PM

Kiefer, I am amazed at the tight radius you are able to achieve. I gotta try this! Thanks for the info.

-- jbschutz

View jaykaypur's profile


3494 posts in 1193 days

#10 posted 09-25-2013 10:26 PM

Good job and your work/set-up is, yet again, brilliant!

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View woodshaver's profile


2966 posts in 2138 days

#11 posted 09-25-2013 11:02 PM

Your system works well Kiefer. You have produced some really nice and unique work using your method.
Your work is always interesting. Thanks for sharing.

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

View Roger's profile


15700 posts in 1589 days

#12 posted 09-25-2013 11:41 PM

I knew I should have kept my old rear belt when I replaced it on my Heritage.. LOL

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe.

View michelletwo's profile


2302 posts in 1800 days

#13 posted 09-26-2013 08:47 AM

ah, alberta. I have had success with maple too…maybe you have that? the microwave method will only do short pieces,,the advantage of the stove method is one can make very long pieces, if one needs to. thought I would share it with you. thanks for sharing your pieces & your methods

-- We call the destruction of replaceable human made items vandalism, while the destruction of irreplaceable natural resources is called development.

View Ken90712's profile


15344 posts in 1973 days

#14 posted 09-26-2013 09:58 AM

Very cool idea, nice!

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

View shipwright's profile


5426 posts in 1583 days

#15 posted 09-26-2013 05:03 PM

Fun to watch kiefer. My steam bending experience is so different.
I see a very interesting hinge coming here.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees.

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