Yesterday a.m., I made my bending jig:
MDF, 2 pieces thick, repurposed from my “zero clearance” top to my tablesaw, with several kerfs cut out of the middle. This is what gave my bandsaw some problems – being grabby.
Between sawing, liberating it from the bandsaw, (trying to assemble my heretofore unused jig saw attachment for my shopsmith – and discovered I didn’t get any blades with), more sawing, and finally sanding. I spent about as much time on the jig, as I did ripping my strips, twice, and steaming them.
Again, thinking I only needed to steam the middle to get the bend I was going for, I figured a few inches overhang would be fine. 24” strips on my 12” skillet, sealed up like jiffy pop. They certainly got hot enough… but as Ryan later pointed out, soft wood just isn’t supposed to bend. A fact I was blissfully ignorant to, and like him, still eager to prove wrong (as Ryan already has!) – next attempt, some old, non kiln dried lumber (after a good long soak)... which unfortunately leaves this contest entry out of the question.
This morning I found my strips – all the broken ones, which were still nice looking lumber, maintained a slight bend to them. Which I can’t show you, as they are keeping me warm and toasty as i type this….
While time wasn’t on my side, I had a lot of faith in my idea. I was just ignorant of the physics involved in bending (or rather the resiliency) of pine.
Unless I get a brainstorm in the coming hours, I’m out. Best of luck to you and your boxes and former 2×4s. And good luck choosing your top five. Not an easy task!