Bending WOod

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Portland Guitar
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Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2020 6:38 pm

Bending WOod

Post by Portland Guitar »


I wrote an informational article about how wood is bent for acoustic guitar sides and other parts. It's pretty long so I'm not going to post it in it's entirety here. The short version is that steam is really cool. We can bend wood by using only a soaked piece of wood and clamps but it has to be a thin piece. A guitar side is bent using a heating pad and water to create steam at close contact then apply pressure at the middle,upper and lower bout the conform the side to a jig. My theory is that steam lubricates the fibers of the wood to make them slip next to each other.I don't cover using a steam box or a bending iron in this write-up. Check it out at bending wood
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Location: Hegins, Pa

Re: Bending WOod

Post by tippie53 »

actually wood is thermoplastic the heat allows the wood cells to collapse that is what allows wood to bend. What happens with heat and water is that waters is more an anti scotch ingredient . I have been bending for over 20 years. I studied this process in depth and this is what I can tell you.
A heat source be it blanket or what ever , heats your water and that is more conductive to allow heat penetration than dry heat alone. The wood will be cooler than the heat source as long at there is moisture. Once the moisture is gone you will see the heat start to spike as evaporation acts like a refrigerant and will show lower than the heat source.
also ammonia was used as a cell softener back in the days when it was used to help bend hikory and oak for farm implements.
John Hall
Blues Creek Guitars Inc
Authorized CF Martin Repair Center
president of Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans
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