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Forum topic by Pabs posted 10-04-2018 01:33 AM 638 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Pabs

246 posts in 3632 days


10-04-2018 01:33 AM

Hi guys

working on a halloween costume and need to make a sword. I want to make a pirate sword and need to make the and guard. I’m making one that would look something like this

I’ve been reading online and see that some will cut thin strips of material (1/8th or so) and boiling it on the stove.
Anyone here try this technique ? things to look for, issues, problems, etc

the strips won’t be huge, guessing around 10 to 12 inches in length and 4 inches or so in width. I have a big pot that they could fit in

thanks

-- Pabs


16 replies so far

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

1453 posts in 341 days


#1 posted 10-04-2018 03:10 AM

this is how I bent some 14” oak strips. after steaming a couple of hours,
they were left in the caul over night.
but – with that slight profile, I would just cut it out with a band saw.
1/4” thick wood of that size can be found at most big box stores. (or even 1/4” plywood).
for a one night show, I would not put too much thought into it. (it is for night use, right ??).

.

-- I started out with nothing in life ~ and still have most of it left.

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

2875 posts in 2203 days


#2 posted 10-04-2018 04:22 AM

Those bends could easily be done with a heat gun and a bending strap. It’s the heat that lets wood bend, not the moisture. In steam bending, the steam is just a way to get the heat into the lignin layers in the wood.

Of course, some woods are better than others for this. White oak is excellent, but also red oak, ash, yellow cedar and black locust. Otherwise, laminating very thin layers works if you don’t have good bending woods.

I just grabbed this image as an example. It’s a prototype for a shelf bracket.

The whole bending process took less than 5 minutes.


.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View bilyo's profile

bilyo

396 posts in 1281 days


#3 posted 10-04-2018 02:44 PM

For one-time use, I would just use thin cardboard from cereal boxes or similar. Laminate several layers with white glue around a form. Trim it to shape. Paint it. And you are good to go.

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bondogaposis

5057 posts in 2529 days


#4 posted 10-04-2018 03:09 PM

That is quite a radical bend. You will need a form. The problems that you could encounter are that the wood will want to break rather than bend, make sure the grain in the wood you are using is very straight grain and the grain is parallel to the sides of the strips. This is not the place for figured, swirly grained woods. One eighth inch strips may not be thin enough, you may want bend one strip first to find the optimal thickness. Make extra strips. Boiling the wood may not get it hot enough, water boils at 212°F, steam can get a lot hotter.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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John Smith

1453 posts in 341 days


#5 posted 10-04-2018 03:29 PM

as said, for the guard, several layers of cardboard,
or – if you have some thick plastic, like PVC, plexiglass, etc
you could it cut it to shape, heat it, and bend it to the shape you need.
a paper prototype of the design you want will help before you get into it.

.

-- I started out with nothing in life ~ and still have most of it left.

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DS

3025 posts in 2598 days


#6 posted 10-04-2018 03:57 PM

Luthiers use a bending iron to bend wood similar to your guard. (Think violin bouts)

A quick search found this image here. There are many inexpensive bending iron solutions including a steel pipe and a blow torch.

As has already been stated, it is the heat, not the moisture that helps bend wood.

Also, wood can compress more than it can stretch, so, a metal strap clamped to the outside radius during bending will help prevent breaking from over-stretching the piece.

A relatively thin piece like that guard will become fairly plyable under good heat and should bend easily. IMHO

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

7275 posts in 3546 days


#7 posted 10-04-2018 04:32 PM

This is a hot topic!
A long time ago I bent wood a 1/4” thick, 24” long piece of walnut into a near semicircle of 18”, but I don’t remember the project or why I did it, way too long ago.
I used a heat gun …. don’t forget to wear gloves like I did!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

2875 posts in 2203 days


#8 posted 10-04-2018 07:47 PM

Steam is hotter than boiling water only if it is under pressure—and the last thing I want is a steam box under pressure.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

2561 posts in 1565 days


#9 posted 10-04-2018 10:26 PM



Steam is hotter than boiling water only if it is under pressure—and the last thing I want is a steam box under pressure.

- runswithscissors

Not true. if the water was as hot as the steam it would be steam. As soon as the water reaches the boiling point it turns into a gas so any water still in a liquid state is not as hot as the steam. A pressurized vessel simply increases the temperature required for the water to turn into a gas but the water will still be cooler than the steam inside the vessel.

Another quick and dirty method for bending thin strips to “borrow” your daughter’s curling iron. You put the thin strips against the curling iron at the point you want it to bend and put light pressure on it until it bends moving it slowly along the length to get a nice even curver. Take it slowly so you don’t break it. ... and don’t tell your daughter you borrowed her curling iron.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Pabs's profile

Pabs

246 posts in 3632 days


#10 posted 10-05-2018 03:36 AM

hey guys… yeah, I know I could do with plastic or cardboard but I’ve always wanted a project where I get to bend wood. this is a perfect project to test it on. in the event I fail I’ll go with the cardboard or plastic option. but tonight I tried with boiling water and the thinner strip (about 1/16th) bent nicely. I’ll cut a few more strips tomorrow and this time leave in the boiler for longer and try one more time. Well, I’ll try the steam or the heat gun technique.
I’ll post the results later

-- Pabs

View fuigb's profile

fuigb

516 posts in 3136 days


#11 posted 10-05-2018 10:37 AM

Check out Woodgears. That industrious little guy made a pirate sword and he shows you how to do it. Lots of fan boys on LJ so I’m surprised that it hasn’t yet been mentioned.

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2684 posts in 3100 days


#12 posted 10-05-2018 09:33 PM

For only 1/8” wood I would just soak oak in water for three days. Glue together and bend to shape (while still wet) allow to dry a few days . Good to go.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Website> craftingcouple.com

View DS's profile

DS

3025 posts in 2598 days


#13 posted 10-08-2018 01:34 PM

For only 1/8” wood I would soak it in warm water for about 5 minutes, clamp a metal strap to the outside face and bend it on my iron for about 10 minutes and call it a day. I also keep a spray bottle of water handy to cool the piece off if it begins to dry out and scorch any.

When properly bent on an iron, clamps and forms are not really needed.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View Pabs's profile

Pabs

246 posts in 3632 days


#14 posted 10-31-2018 04:38 PM

ok, so I finally got it to work. I put three pieces of maple (about 1/8 inch thick) in a 6 inch pvc pipe that was capped off at one end. dropped the wood in and filled with boiling water until wood was fully submerged (attached weights to it so that they would not float up) . once the boiling water was in I sealed the top . I used a screw on cap but duck tape would have worked as well.
left in for only 2 hours, took it out and was able to bend into the form and let dry for a few days, I then glued the laminates and let dry for a day. worked like magic, I was surprised. here’s some pics of the final result

-- Pabs

View DS's profile

DS

3025 posts in 2598 days


#15 posted 10-31-2018 04:42 PM

That looks awesome! Great job!

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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