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Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Muzikp, Apr 15, 2015.
Gotta go find a chunk of quarter sawn maple that's big enough for sides now. That sounds cheap.
Oh, and rubber bands. I think the bend will go quicker with those than my awkward arrangement of clamps, pipes, press etc. etc.
What about having two pieces that join at the apex of the curve?
You could cut a wedge for the inside of the curve for the two pieces to adhere to and strengthen the joint. I've seen it done on the larger bodied Gibson's.
No way would I be able to bend that walnut on my bender set at 212F. It's set at about twice that.
Steam will bend wood, but it will do it slowly - you need to either steam it for hours while providing pressure on the bend ... or double the heat. It's not about the moisture content, as much as it's about getting the things inside the wood to actually "melt" so they can be soft enough to deform, and then harden with their new shape. The water is really only there to stop the wood catching fire.
Thin wood (eg veneer) will bend easily with steam because the middle of the wood will reach adequate bending temperature before the cows come home.
I admire your perseverance and ingenuity, but I'd suggest doing it on a hot pipe, at 400F, and thinning the low radius area way down (and then reinforcing it later from the inside).
As I said earlier, the guy that bent my sides really thinned out the wood at the bend. Bending usually requires stainless steel supports to keep the fibers from blowing out. You might try bending the cutaway by hand on a pipe first before doing the rest of it. You will notice that on the fox bender, some have a second cutaway bending section. Maybe you'll have to do that side of your form in two pieces.
Muz - check out woodshed44 on fleeBay they have had some really good thick hard maple slabs. I was actually able to get one that I was able to re-saw into QS I got 6 neck blanks from it.
I am actually asking myself what is to say against laminated sides... Get thinner wood for them sides, cover in glue, stack'em and clamp'em tight. They should be good the next day...
Anybody to enlighten me?
Nice project!….. Just curious, how long did you soak the walnut before
trying to steam bend it? I have a small left over strip of walnut… I'm gonna give it a try with my carpet iron and see what it does.
I could but I'm hoping to avoid the pointed horn look. It looks cheap to me but we will see.
Nick that's great info, I'll give it all some thought and see what I come up with.
Yep the pipe may be in order, going to be hard since it's not a consistent radius curve.
I think that is my only option, and nothing wrong with it at all.
It's quite difficult to achieve a constant radius curve - and quite easy to achieve a shifting radius curve with a bending iron!
For something as tight as an LP, you're gonna need a tiny radius iron though - I certainly couldn't do it on mine, and is has the tight radius extension. If you have a variable-control soldering iron, that could work... :idea:
As Marty said, if you want to get that radius, you'll need to thin that part of the side down to veneer (<1mm, ideally <0.5mm)) thickness and then brace it internally with a matching-radius block.
The people who've suggested a Florentine cutaway are offering the most sensible option I fear. Unless you have loads of patience and stacks of wood!
Here's Alan Carruth's interesting info and great analogy of what you're doing when you bend heated wood:
Think of the wood as being made up of a bundle of microscopic paper straws, glued together with a mixture of equal parts of roofing tar and sawdust. The 'straws' are cellulose, the 'sawdust' filler in this case is hemicellulose, and the 'tar' is lignin. You bend the wood by softening the lignin so that the 'straws' can slide past each other, and then holding it in place while things harden up again.
Water effects the lignin some; it seems to lower the softening temperature, and also weakens it. The more water you add the weaker the bond is, and the more likely you are to have delaminations and crush failures. If you heat it too much for too long you drive the water off; the softening temperature of the lignin rises until it gets to the scorching temperature for the cellulose. Not good. There's enough water in the wood to bend the side if you do it properly, but that entails heating it up fairly quickly.
Boat builders and furniture makers do use steam to bend wood. They are not usually working with the thin sections we are so they can't heat them right through fast and need to use other means. The steamed ribs in a Friendship sloop are 2" square oak, for example. Adding all that moisture will probably cause rippling and cupping problems, as has been said. I boiled my first set of sides, too: that's what Irving Sloan said to do, and he was IT back then. I had lots of problems with them.
Actually, there was one other book out on guitar making then, the one by Arthur Overholtzer. He liked to bend wood with liquified ammonia gas (this is NOT household ammonia, which is a water solution of a small amount of ammonia; this was the pure stuff) . The wood was put in a pressure vessel, the liquid ammonia was admitted, and when the wood had soaked long enough the gas was removed, the wood was taken out, and put on a form to hold it until all the gas was gone. DON'T try this at home! I'm pretty sure you'd run into all sorts of legal issues if you did, and you could well end up dead.
So we're left with heat bending. A lot of us use a heat blanket, which are available from the usual guitar suppliers. You can make the bending form to incorportate the cutaway, and, if you're lucky, it will work out pretty well. Springback is always an issue, of course.
There are lots of ways to rig a bending iron. Iron pipe is pretty easy to come by. Some folks have used sections of aluminum mast, which are egg shaped. Heat can be provided by a propane torch, or electric heat element. In the old days they used charcoal: the bending pipe was the chimney for the burner. Watch out for carbon monoxide with that! Another method was to have a piece of iron of the right shape, with a square end. You'd toss the thing into the fire, and, when it was hot enough, fish it out, clamp the square end in the vice, and have at it.
I have tool envy.
And tool cabinet envy as well, without even watching the video. Just seeing the still from it.
And workbench envy.
I might need therapy.
I have skill envy.
I am also sleepy from staying up too late trying to run down a source of cheap bending (heat) blankets and researching walnut bending.
1. Save yourself the time. There are no cheap bending blankets. If you need to bend on a budget, the heat pipe is your solution.
2. Unless you have a way of generating superheated steam, steam bending walnut around tight curves won't work, because as Nick points out, 212F is not quite hot enough. From what I found, walnut is among woods requiring the highest temps--starting at 300 F.
3 I used to have a fantasy of building a 335 out of Purpleheart. I think your experience here, James, has just about cured me of that.
But I'm pullin for you. I know you'll find a way to get it done, and hopefully, with walnut.
Oh I have that as well. I always have that!
You guys are hilarious, there is nothing here to be envious about. Rick thanks for the efforts, I think I'm just going to have one of these show up at my door.
That looks like it has a steep learning curve. I need to go take a picture of my pile of failed bent sides. Nick and Marty have been proven correct, just can't bend that horn at 212 degrees. If you could I would have done it because I gave it my all.
I tried pre-soaking maple sides hoping it would help. These are really thin, pieces.
It didn't really help to pre-soak. Just need more heat is what it comes down to. There was no lack of effort though .
The silicone blankets look a bit simpler, but they're very spendy. I bet you'll pick up heat pipe technique pretty quick--in the making lemonade out of lemons department, you have quite a few "scraps" to practice with your heat pipe. Being a DIYer, I'd be prone to putting one together with a propane torch, like Nosmo did, but with as much combustible junk that's in my shop, the electric one's certainly safer.
Hmmmm--speaking of DIY . .. http://http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?78833-Homemade-bending-iron-for-40-at-the-big-home-store
Looks pretty easy---and no flame.
This is what happened when I tried to bend walnut.