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Forum topic by Lucio posted 07-18-2013 05:07 PM 3310 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Lucio

37 posts in 2075 days


07-18-2013 05:07 PM

I am trying to make high stools for our kitchen. and would like to know if anyone can please advise on the best way to bend plywood or thin strips wood into “u” shape for bar stools, and also what is the smallest radius that the 2 corner’s of ‘U” could be safely bent. I Am thinking down the line of steam bending, unless there may be a better way. Looking forward to your ideas and comments,

-- Next to hunting I love woodwork best,,,,,or is that the other way around????


18 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

16241 posts in 3679 days


#1 posted 07-18-2013 05:28 PM

I’ve used the kerf bending method with good success.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Loren's profile

Loren

8295 posts in 3108 days


#2 posted 07-18-2013 05:29 PM

Plywood doesn’t bend well due to the hardness
of the glue layers. You can get special bendable
ply, but the edges look bad so it’s best for
making jigs and veneering.

You can bend thin layers of solid wood on a
pipe heated with a propane torch without too
much trouble. Then laminate the layers to
get the thickness you want.

Bending over about 1/8” you can only do mild
curves without using a steel backing strap.

You’ll get better advice on how to do the bend
you want if you specify the cross section,
species and sharpness of bend you want to get.

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2430 days


#3 posted 07-18-2013 05:32 PM

You might be better off using structural veneers and doing a bent lamination.

View Lucio's profile

Lucio

37 posts in 2075 days


#4 posted 07-18-2013 05:45 PM

Thank you Charlie, was always under the impression that kerf bending method would not be strong enough, will take another look and do more reading on the method.

Thank you Loren for the detailed explanation, My idea was to use bendable ply and then veneer the exposed edges, Unfortunately we dont get the steel backing strapping, but if that will do the trick I could make up the strapping. It seems the steaming goes a long way to help with bending tighter radii, although I do not know how small I can go.

Thanks Renners, will shop around and see what I can come up with in the structural veneer line.

-- Next to hunting I love woodwork best,,,,,or is that the other way around????

View crank49's profile

crank49

3980 posts in 2431 days


#5 posted 07-18-2013 06:42 PM

How did Eames do it?

or onefortythree

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

View Lucio's profile

Lucio

37 posts in 2075 days


#6 posted 07-18-2013 06:49 PM

Quite some achievement Crank, But I want to do legs in U shape as one piece

-- Next to hunting I love woodwork best,,,,,or is that the other way around????

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

16241 posts in 3679 days


#7 posted 07-18-2013 06:58 PM

Lucio, kerf cutting might or might not be strong enough. I did not have a clear picture in my mind of exactly what you wanted to do. If you are really trying to make a U-shaped seat, then probably not.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Loren's profile

Loren

8295 posts in 3108 days


#8 posted 07-18-2013 07:28 PM

Bending ply isn’t that structurally strong. Just so you
know… generally it’s bent around a form to make
a round cabinet or whatever, not used in thin
cross sections to make legs.

This book covers all the major bending techniques:

http://www.amazon.com/Fine-Woodworking-Bending-Wood-Articles/dp/0918804299

There’s good information in the book on gluing bent
laminations with 1/16” plies, how to do it so there
aren’t voids.

Bending structural parts is a commitment of
significant time to set up to do it with any method.
Hot pipe bending is the easiest to set up for and
requires the least equipment.

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8523 posts in 3109 days


#9 posted 07-18-2013 07:38 PM

kerf-cutting plywood to bend to shape is not structurally strong enough to support constant use as weight carrying platform.

the best way that I can think to do it is to “make your own plywood” = bending plies in a form setting press/pattern as James illustrated above.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Lucio's profile

Lucio

37 posts in 2075 days


#10 posted 07-18-2013 07:41 PM

Hi Charles, yes I am looking to do the two legs, one on either side bent in the shape of a U, with the two ends of the U facing or touching the ground and the rounded part of the U been the part under the seat.

James thank you for your input, you seem to have the idea of what I am looking to do, except I am trying to find out the smallest I can make the radius of each bend in your sketch.

Thanks again Loren,, I will check out the book,

-- Next to hunting I love woodwork best,,,,,or is that the other way around????

View Lucio's profile

Lucio

37 posts in 2075 days


#11 posted 07-18-2013 07:44 PM

Thanks for your input PurpLev. any idea on the smallest radius wood strips can be bent without cracking?

-- Next to hunting I love woodwork best,,,,,or is that the other way around????

View Loren's profile

Loren

8295 posts in 3108 days


#12 posted 07-18-2013 07:50 PM

Bending of thin strip varies with species. If you have something
like oak on hand, rip a 2mm strip and see if you can bend
it to the radius you want dry. If not, spritz it with water
and it probably will.

View mbolo20's profile

mbolo20

3 posts in 1289 days


#13 posted 07-18-2013 07:53 PM

bend them our own way

View Lucio's profile

Lucio

37 posts in 2075 days


#14 posted 07-18-2013 07:54 PM

Great thanks Loren,, will try on the weekend an see what happens,,

-- Next to hunting I love woodwork best,,,,,or is that the other way around????

View crank49's profile

crank49

3980 posts in 2431 days


#15 posted 07-18-2013 07:58 PM

Here is a link to a story and video about the production of the Eames Lounge Chair.
http://eamesdesigns.com/eames-spotting-article/the-handmade-process-video/

If you Google bent plywood chair there are many more designs and ideas out there.
The Eames is just arguably the most famous.

The ones that intrigue me the most are the compound bent/molded forms where the wood appears to be bent in two or three different directions at the same time. Like here:

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

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