I have been making wood rings for a while now using the block (and layered block) method and have tried a few times to do bent wood rings but never had much luck and never put much effort in it. Recently I have actually made effort to figure it out and have come a good ways along. I was wondering how others who make bent wood rings actually bend their wood – what tools or methods that they use.
I made a simple little jig with a copper pipe to wrap the wood around to get it into the rough shape I want. The pipe has a slot cut in it (using a cutting wheel from a dremel) and I bent one edge of the slot down so that the wood can be slid into the slot and as the wood is bent and comes back around it will lay over the start point without a kink or raised spot. I usually sand down one end after i bend it but before before I actually make the ring but you can sand one end down before you wrap it but there is a higher chance that the end will break when you are bending.
For the softer easy to bend woods, just soaking the wood a few hours is all it needs to be able to bend it. For the harder to bend woods, I use a heat gun and will heat the wood up within a few inches of where the wood is being bent around. I apply a little bit of bending pressure on the wood as it is heating up and it is easy to tell when it hits the right temprature because the wood will suddenly start to easily bend around. By hitting the wood at the point that it is being bent as I bend it, I don’t have to worry about the wood cooling before I can get it bent. It does take a little longer since I am heating it up a few inches at a time.
Once it is bent around I use a clamp or a piece of velcro to hold it in position as it dries and use the heat gun to help it dry or just let it dry over night. Once it is taken off the pipe, it does spring back a little but will hold the form and once the wood is dried completely I can then bend it around the final form I will use.
So how do you do it?
-- Turning good wood into even better wood jewelry. DWWoodCreations.com