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Best wood to steam bend

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Forum topic by Donlore posted 1369 days ago 15142 views 1 time favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Donlore

15 posts in 1599 days


1369 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question

I’m curious, from everyone’s experience of steam bending different types of wood, what were the easiest and hardest woods to bend, IE.. oak, ash, beech, walnut…..redwood….?

Also, I’ve tried bending kiln dried with little success and am about to try bend air dried. Any comments on this?

Thanks, Don

-- Don, Indiana, http://www.rusticcocoon.com


3 replies so far

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Moron

4666 posts in 2491 days


#1 posted 1369 days ago

As a rule AD bends easier then KD, some KD doesnt bend period

Birch, Ash, White and Red Oaks, Beech, Elm all bend quite well. I’ve had good luck with cherry too.

Good luck

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

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Howie

2656 posts in 1520 days


#2 posted 1368 days ago

Don’t forget hickory. Lots of chairs are made from it.

-- Life is good.

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shipwright

4839 posts in 1395 days


#3 posted 1368 days ago

Building wooden boats involves lots of steam bending. The common woods we used were Oak for ribs ( I’ve bent up to 2 1/2” x 3 1/4” stock) and Yellow Cedar, Red Cedar and Doug Fir for planking. Gumwood will steam bend if you’ve got enough clamps and a come-along. I know of other woods that bend well but these are the ones I have experience with. Kiln drying pretty much “Kill Dries” as far as bending is concerned. The wood never seems to regain it’s elasticity after kiln drying. My tips would be:
1) you want wet, white steam. If it gets clear it’s too hot.
2) you can help yourself a lot by chamfering the corners before bending.
3) a coat of linseed oil will help hold the heat and keep the material moist and flexible longer
4) be aware that a wide piece will cup quite a bit when bent
5) if you aren’t fastening the bent piece hot expect substantial spring-back
It’s a lot of fun to see the things you can do with well steamed wood. Have fun!

Paul M

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees. http://prmdesigns.com/

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