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Thread: Bending wood

  1. #1
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    Bending wood

    I want to make a walking cane with a crook handle. I don't have a clue how to make the crook, help! I have access to green and growing oak, hickory, persimmon.

  2. #2
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    RE: Bending wood

    Welcome to the Forum.

    Traditionally, I believe that walking canes of the sort you want to make had the crook bent into the wood while green. Steaming would probably also have been part of the process. For your purposes a simple aparatus made of large diameter (4-6inches) PVC pipe, could be used for the steam box. Lots of stuff on the net about steaming wood. Once the wood has been heated sufficiently, the piece would be bent around a form and clamped in place for cooling. The form would probably have a smaller radius arc than the finished project to allow for spring-back when the clamp is removed. Probably have to experiment a bit with that for the particular wood you'll be using. If I remember correctly, hickory has good bending strength and possibly the oak, also. Don't know about the other stuff.

  3. #3
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    RE: Bending wood

    Heya Sport, welcome to the Forum!!!!

    Steam bending green wood is a lot quicker than steam bending dry...

    With that said, generally speaking, open grain woods bend easier than closed grain woods. Oak, Ash, Hickory are good woods for steam bending. Persimmon isn't and is best used for golf club heads...

    It does require lots of heat and lots of steam, PVC won't cut it at the right temps; you end up with a tubular rubber band....Radiator hose or galvanized pipe is the preferred conduit.

    Making a steam box is very easy, I used Cyprus for mine. Just make sure that the joints are strong and you don't want to make it air tight but, you do want to make sure that the conduit into the box has an air tight seal and the box should be at an incline away from the conduit, so that the piece gets steamed thoroughly. Rule of thumb for steam time is 45-60 minutes per inch of thickness. You'll have only a few minutes to get the piece out of the box and into the clamps, so you do have to work fast..."Raped Ape" would be the best description that I can come up with for the speed required...

    Clamping, you will need to make your form in a slightly smaller radius than the desired curve to allow for spring back. There is no steadfast rule or formula for this because even two different pieces from the same tree will behave differently, I do have some "rough" numbers lying around somewhere if you're interested. The other thing that you'll need is a compression strap that goes on the outside of your form. Because of the small radius of this curve, the wood fibers need to be under compression on the outside edge otherwise you'll get a lot of splitting. You start at one end, then bend and clamp as you go.

    It's really not as complicated as it sounds but, it is great fun....

    Dano



  4. #4
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    RE: Bending wood

    I checked around and found this article on Lee Valley's website. Lots of good info.

    http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.a...26&cat=1,42172



  5. #5
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    RE: Bending wood

    Here is another article on steam bending wood. I did it once this way and it worked good. http://www.megspace.com/lifestyles/njmarine/Steam.html Hope it helps :P

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