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Old 09-23-2010, 12:05 PM   #1
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Steam bending 3/4" pine??


Does anyone have much experience with this? I understand the concept of how to bend the wood and build a steam box. I'll likely be using some 4" PVC tubing scrap that I have laying around.

My main question on this is do I need a jig or not?

I am building a bar in my basement. Right now I have 3/4" birch plywood installed creating the base for my countertop. On top of that I will be installing 3/4" thick x 3/4" wide x various lengths of old yellow pine. The pine came from the stair treads of my 1915 house when I recently replaced them with new treads. The edge of the countertop will be the same wood but ripped to 1-1/2" thick so that it covers up not only the edges of the 3/4" strips, but the plywood as well. This edge is what I'm needing to bend as I radiused 3 corners of the countertop. I will be glueing and pin nailing the strips together as I go directly and laying everything directly on top of the birch ply.

I am curious, can I pull the wood out of the steam box and proceed to nail and clamp it directly in place or will that likely pop loose at some point down the road? The problem I see with this is that unless I can find a wood glue or epoxy that can be applied to wet wood, the pin nails would be my only permanent form of fastening the bent wood to the top. I have also thought about using a plug cutter and attaching it with some 1-1/4" deck screws, but again not sure if that's recommended.

Having never done this, I realize I'm cutting a step out by trying to bypass clamping into a jig as I understand the wood has a bit of spring left in it, which will want to snap back a little once the clamps are removed. It just seems if I can indeed get it into the final position and attach it well, I should be ok. Right or wrong??

Open to other ideas than the bending, but I don't want it to look "hacked" together. Have thought about kerf cutting the wood, but I wouldn't think that would look great. Have also thought about ripping the edge pieces down to 1/8"-1/4" stripps and laminating one on top of the other to get the desired width, but again, I think that might look funky when it buts up to the strait sections of edging....

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Old 09-23-2010, 12:12 PM   #2
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Steam bending 3/4" pine??


your counter is your jig.


gorilla glue specifically requires moisture to activate


veneer to cover whatever substrate you use for the curved edge. Even then, depending on how tight the radius is, you still might have to steam bend it.

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Old 09-23-2010, 02:37 PM   #3
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Steam bending 3/4" pine??


I have never had much luck bending any type of wood 3/4 inch thick at least in a tight radius. Just a suggestion as an alternate, you could cut the corners from a piece of glued up 1x12 to the thickness of 1 1/2 inches to make the corners using a band saw or a jig on a router.
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Old 09-23-2010, 07:54 PM   #4
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Steam bending 3/4" pine??


You would most likely be happier doing a multi-ply bent lamination. If you choose to steam bend use a metal backing strap of avoid splitting.
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Old 09-23-2010, 08:21 PM   #5
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Steam bending 3/4" pine??


I'm starting to think about gluing up 1-1/2" strips to make a piece that will fit the radious. I'm just trying to stay away from end grain on the edges....
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Old 09-23-2010, 08:44 PM   #6
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Steam bending 3/4" pine??


One of the reasons for doing a bent lamination is to avoid endgrain. Here is a pic of a round window I did using that method.
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Old 09-23-2010, 11:15 PM   #7
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Steam bending 3/4" pine??


My problem with the lamination is that I'd have to do that with the entire edge, most of which is straight, oherwise I think it'd look out of place. Hmmm...

You guys are definately giving me things to think about, which is what I need. I'm ready to get this top progressing!
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Old 10-01-2010, 02:33 PM   #8
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Steam bending 3/4" pine??


Ok, well, I decided to do the edges in strips ripped to 1/4" wide. I'm doing 3 rows of strips to get my 3/4" edge. So far I have one rounded edge pretty much finished, if this last strip holds. I stappled and glued the first two rows in place to aid in holding them in place, but trying to keep the last one on with glue only. When I pulled the clamps off after about 12 hrs it popped loose, so I am trying again, this time leaving it in place well over 24hrs. I've been using tightbond 3 glue, but probably going to try some gorrila glue if this pops again. If that doesn't work, I'll find an epoxy.

All in all, I think it will look great. Thanks!
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Old 10-01-2010, 08:49 PM   #9
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Steam bending 3/4" pine??


I wish I had given more info before you started, it would have saved you some effort.

It is easier to do all the laminations at one time. For tight radius thinner plys are better than thick ones. Springback it directly related to ply thickness. Most of the time I use 1/8" plys.

I've never had a problem with Titebond after 12 hours, how warm is the room?

If I were doing this I would make a template of the curve and drill holes in it following the curve to allow for F-clamps. Put clear tape on the form to prevent glue from sticking. Use a backer ply so as not to have clamp marks and distribute the pressure. After glue sets joint one edge and run through a planer.
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Old 10-01-2010, 10:16 PM   #10
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Steam bending 3/4" pine??


This is in my basement, so I'm guessing 65-70 degrees. It stays pretty constant down there.

I think the problem was that the wood probably hadn't dried enough, as I soaked it in water. I thought it had, but I'm guessing not. I probably hurried a little and should have taken longer, just curious how it would work!

As for a template, I really can't do that easily and laminate everything together prior to attaching to the countertop. What I've been doing instead is just staggering the seems and so far so good. I just need to rip the rest of the pieces and start soaking a few more.
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Old 10-02-2010, 06:02 PM   #11
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Steam bending 3/4" pine??


Brian,

I hope all goes well, but I suspect that the nails are doing most of the work. I do a lot of bent lamination work and avoid adding moisture to the wood if at all possible. If your last ply doesn't hold you may want to go with thinner plys.

The staircase shown is all bent lamination.
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Old 11-02-2010, 01:10 PM   #12
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Steam bending 3/4" pine??


Just wanted to say thanks for all the feedback. I ended up cutting my edge strips into 1/4" thick pieces, soaked them in water for about a day, then glued them in place with gorilla glue and it worked great.

Here are the finished pictures! ....now if I can get the rest of the basement finished!!!
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Steam bending 3/4" pine??-sale-037.jpg   Steam bending 3/4" pine??-sale-038.jpg   Steam bending 3/4" pine??-sale-039.jpg  
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Old 11-02-2010, 03:53 PM   #13
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Steam bending 3/4" pine??


Quote:
Originally Posted by Master Brian View Post
Just wanted to say thanks for all the feedback. I ended up cutting my edge strips into 1/4" thick pieces, soaked them in water for about a day, then glued them in place with gorilla glue and it worked great.

Here are the finished pictures! ....now if I can get the rest of the basement finished!!!
Buddy, you did a fantastic job, it really does look great.

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