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Advice on bending veneer for rings

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Forum topic by coffeeslug posted 10-29-2014 03:41 PM 1386 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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coffeeslug

4 posts in 784 days


10-29-2014 03:41 PM

Hi everyone,

I’m having some issues with my veneer and was hoping for some advice. I’ve been following some tutorials about wooden ring making and have had pretty good success with shaping and finishing solid rings, but I’m really having some troubles with veneer. I’ve started with some highly figured Red Eucalyptus and Curly English Sycamore (1/42” thick) and cannot get them to bend correctly without it snapping/splitting/cracking…etc. I’ve tried many different solutions: boiled both species for a variety of times (10m-2hours), soaked in water overnight, steamed them, boiled and then formed around a large circumference/boiled again and formed around a smaller circumference, and then finally just begged and prayed for them to not break. Some of you make it look like you can tie shoelaces with the stuff and I’m wondering what I’m doing wrong.

Is it the species I’m working with? Is highly figured veneer too difficult to work with? It’s really pretty veneer and would make beautiful rings.

I have some Super-Soft 2 on the way and I’m hoping it is the solution to my problems. Can anyone offer me some advice on how I can bend these two species without them breaking?

Thanks,
Matt


9 replies so far

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mahdee

3555 posts in 1235 days


#1 posted 10-29-2014 03:53 PM

Hey Matt,
Have you tried using wet cloth or leather to serve as both maintaining moisture and “strap” while bending them? Also, if what you wrap the veneer on is a heated metal rod might help as well.

-- earthartandfoods.com

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a1Jim

115207 posts in 3045 days


#2 posted 10-29-2014 04:25 PM

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coffeeslug

4 posts in 784 days


#3 posted 10-29-2014 04:41 PM



Hey Matt,
Have you tried using wet cloth or leather to serve as both maintaining moisture and “strap” while bending them? Also, if what you wrap the veneer on is a heated metal rod might help as well.

- mrjinx007

Hi mrjinx,

I thought about using some sort of backing for the outer side, I’ll give it a go.


This might help.

http://lumberjocks.com/rance/blog/25059

- a1Jim

Hey Jim,

Thanks, but as in the description in my post, I’ve tried many different ways of soaking/heating to soften the veneer.

My guess is that it’s the species of wood or the fact that it is really curly/figured.

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MikeUT

123 posts in 827 days


#4 posted 10-29-2014 05:13 PM

I’ve been playing with rings the past week or so and I’ve had similar problems. I have a couple of pieces of exotic hardwoods (bloodwood and cocobolo) that have ZERO flex and are very brittle. It doesn’t help with your veneers but the solution I have found is to use plane shavings. I take a consistent shaving from the thin edge of a board and use CA glue to form it around a dowel with tape on it. You have to wrap it several times since the shavings are only a few thousands thick but once it hardens it is nice and strong. I’ve made one from maple and one from bloodwood and both have turned out very well. I tried walnut as well but didn’t have very good results. I’m not sure if it was a characteristic of walnut or just the grain pattern of the scrap piece I used but the shavings fell apart if they were thin and tore out if I tried to take a thicker shaving.

Like I said, it doesn’t help with the veneer you already have but it is a method that worked for me. Try it on a scrap and see if you get the same results.

View Gshepherd's profile

Gshepherd

1727 posts in 1669 days


#5 posted 10-29-2014 05:22 PM

Try Misting the wood on both sdes, then send the wife on a shopping spree and grab her steam iron, run that through those strips a few times,,,,

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

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EPJartisan

1116 posts in 2593 days


#6 posted 10-29-2014 05:37 PM

I have had great results with a veneer plasticizer for bloodwood and zebrawood… both I used blue painters tape and a bending strap. I have not tried to make a tight radius though.

I do know bending really relies on two things… wood fibers and wood lignin. If your wood is too old or too dry it won’t steam correct because the lignin is already cured.. and also high figured and curly grained veneers often have short terminated fibers with no bending strength.. I have never tried to bend sycamore, but I wonder if the excessive parenchyma cell structure would make it brittle to bend. But maybe the plasticizer would help.

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

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runswithscissors

2192 posts in 1492 days


#7 posted 10-30-2014 07:52 PM

In my experience (which does not include either of your wood choices, nor ring making), it’s heat, not moisture, that enables bending. The trouble with boiling, steaming, etc. your veneers is that being so thin, they lose their heat almost immediately. I found this out when trying to bend thin white ash strips for frames in a model boat. After I realized the problem with the instantaneous cooling, I tried slapping them on the hot stove pipe in my living room, and they bent easily.

I think mrjinx’s suggestion about the hot rod is the key to your problem. Could be a hot tube, also—whichever you find easiest to heat and keep heated. I wouldn’t bother to soak them at all, as the moisture will limit how hot you can get them. Bending straps are very useful, but I don’t see how you could use one on such a small item. If you are able to bend them, you’ll find they’ll hold almost all of the bend as soon as they cool—except for a little spring back. Glue at your leisure, after they are cooled.

Don’t burn yourself.

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

View coffeeslug's profile

coffeeslug

4 posts in 784 days


#8 posted 11-02-2014 04:56 AM

Thanks for the advice everyone. Below is the first real success I’ve had with the bending of the sycamore. It’s ugly and the curly figure was lost by the shaping, also the glue is highly visible. I think with some more experimentation it could turn out ok. I wound up having the most success with sanding the 1/42” down to about half that, soaking/boiling, wrapping with a painters tape for a backing and letting it dry. Then the glue up and finishing.

Please be kind, I’m a noob!

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runswithscissors

2192 posts in 1492 days


#9 posted 11-02-2014 07:11 AM

Wow. Looks good. I wonder if filament tape (non-stretchy, with fiberglass filaments) would work as a bending strap for such thin material? Maybe worth a try.

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

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