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Old 26th February 2007, 01:01 AM   #1
Ang is offline Ang  United States
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Default easiest wood to steam bend for horn?

I'm trying to make a smooth spiral that @ some point may be fairly tight (min 8" diameter). I haven't been able to find flexible plywood locally in Pittsburgh, so I'm thinking about using some 1/8 hardboard and laminating it.

Has anyone tried steaming and bending the stuff?

Is there a better similarly price alternative? Thanks.
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Old 26th February 2007, 01:50 AM   #2
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hardboard will fall apart if you try to steam bend it.

See if you can find some 1/8 solid birch, or maybe 1/8 marine grade baltic birch ply. "Marine grade" means that the glues used are waterproof and there are no voids.
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Old 26th February 2007, 02:40 AM   #3
owdi is offline owdi  United States
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I believe Ash is pretty easy to steam bend, although I don't know if there are better choices.

Dan
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Old 26th February 2007, 03:02 AM   #4
Aengus is offline Aengus  Canada
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Steam bending can be done to a number of species, including ash and white oak. However, it doesn't work very well on kiln-dried wood - you want "green" (unseasoned) wood with a reasonably high moisture content. Here's a link to some steam-bending information.

Alternatively, if you have the tools or can find someone to rip it into thin strips for you, you can stack-laminate many species - ash works well for this too. Basically you epoxy together a lot of thin (1/16"-1/8", depending on radius) strips and clamp them to a form while the glue sets. If you do this, you can make forms out of MDF; wax them so the epoxy doesn't stick to them.

Regards.

Aengus
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Old 26th February 2007, 03:24 AM   #5
Ang is offline Ang  United States
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Thanks for your suggestions guys - this is very helpful.

Seems like I'll need to find a place locally to get some thin green cuts as well as the void-free baltic I'll need for the rest of the project. When I checked a few days ago Lowes wasn't exactly loaded with solid woods at the thickness I need.
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Old 26th February 2007, 03:59 AM   #6
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1/8" bending poplar. You might have to special order it. It is comprised of layers like plywood but the grain runs the same direction.
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Old 26th February 2007, 04:22 AM   #7
Ang is offline Ang  United States
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the poplar sounds interesting will check into it. Had read that bendable plywood works on a similar design. Asking for around here though I just get crazy looks like bendable and plywood don't belong in the same sentence.
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Old 26th February 2007, 05:23 AM   #8
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I have bent all sorts of woods as a musical instrument maker over the years. By far the easiest wood to bend I have found is walnut.
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Old 27th February 2007, 02:47 AM   #9
Tuukka is offline Tuukka  Finland
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Check hobby shops, airplane section.
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