Bending wood can serve to enhance interior design and furnishings for modern houses. Giving wooden furniture a more natural look that allows the homeowners to feel much more comfortable in their own space.
However, one can ask, how can you bend wood to get the perfect balance between asymmetry and beauty all at the same time? This article will try to answer these questions and more. All you have to do is to continue reading to find out.
Before we go any further, let us first discuss some of the major designs you can achieve from curved wood. These are as follows:
- Curved railings
- Curved panels for cabinets and storage units
- Custom-made backpacking boards and other exercise equipment
The curved wood gives interior design furniture much-needed uniqueness when it comes to its appearance. It will make your furniture will even more exciting and beautiful down the road.
Steps on How to Bend Wood Effectively
Most of the time, construction companies can help you bend wood professionally. However, if you want to save some cash, you would have to learn to do it yourself. A professional’s help can be costly, especially when it comes to construction work for interior design, so if you can afford to do it all by herself, this would be the best option.
In this regard, there are a few simple steps you can take for this DIY project. Here are some of those steps as follows:
Step One: Boiling the Wood
- First, you have to steam or soak the wood in boiling water. This process will soften hardwood.
- After this, you can have the wood undergo a process called saw-kerfing. Also known as grooving, the process itself can soften the back of the wood so that it can easily be banned without breaking, splitting in two, or having cracks.
- Next, you can also create a trough of some kind. Make sure that it is as long as a rain gutter. After this, you can place boiling water into the channel. Put your wooden implement inside to “cook it.” Note that you can also put heavy strips of wood underneath the main wooden implement to hold it in place.
- You should keep pouring boiling water onto the trough to ensure that it remains hot.
- Keep this process going for about 2 to 3 hours. Depending on the size and thickness of the wood that you are trying to soften, you can extend the boiling time.
Step Two: Steaming
- After the boiling process, you can place the trust containing the wood and the boiling water on top of a charcoal grill to let the water evaporate and turn into steam.
- If you are going to steam one whole log, all you have to do is tilt the implement to steam to the very edge of the wood. The water will boil and create steam that will creep up to the rest of the wood sooner than you think. This will soften the entire log without difficulty.
When steaming wood, you must leave a tiny hole on the far end of the implement so that the steam can come out. Be sure to keep it warm as much as possible. Refer to the steps involved in steaming to learn how to maintain the warmth of the boiling solution.
It is also important to set up a jig or a pattern to help end the war tinted a shame that you would want the implement to have. This will help shape the wooden implement into the design that you would want to use for final construction.
Creating the Jig
It is pretty easy to create and construct your very own homemade jig. You can do this by using blocks of extra scrap wood and nailing it on a backboard. Make sure that you will mail it in two of the pattern that you would want your other would implement to follow as soon as it increases in pliability.
This will make it easier for you to have an asymmetrical design in the house using wooden materials.
It should also be arranged in such a way that the wooden clamps will be able to hold the wooden implement in place after steaming. In addition to this, you have to wear proper protective gear when handling the clamping blocks along with the steamed plywood.
In the next section, we will attempt to explain the process of clamping and much more detail. Please do not hesitate to continue reading if you would like to learn more about it.
The Clamping Process
Are you curious about clamping and how it works? Here are a few pointers for you to keep in mind as you bend your wood.
Initially, you can clamp the steamed wood on to the first block. After this, you can’t slowly bend it around the next block using its outline. Be careful not to crack it as you bend it.
Apply the clamps on to each block of wood after bending. This will help the implement maintain its uneven shape. It will also keep the wood and implement it from moving around. Keep the clamps on for least 24 hours.
After 24 hours, the implement should keep it’s bent shape permanently. Keep in mind that it might spring forward after being compressed for too long. However, it will return to its bent form in just a few seconds after its release.
Further Reading: Understanding the Process of Saw-Kerfing
This is the process by which you use a small knife to create a series of parallel cuts on the inside of the curved wood to facilitate further bending. The process is usually done with the wide in question placed on top of a supporting structure to keep it in place during the whole procedure.
When doing this process, you have to maintain a certain sense of the measurements within the plywood. Everything has to be equal in length and distance. Otherwise, it will appear distorted and unruly.
If you are fond of experimenting and trying out new things, this is the best project to do so. The only way for you to figure out the right measurements needed for saw-kerfing would be experimenting on different scraps of wood and applying them to your project.
Ideally, the kerfs should be placed so that the wood can easily follow the shape of the curved lines. Try to make sure that you are able to use scraps on the same wooden material as the original so that it would have the same texture and feel down the line.
Getting the Proper Measurements
As a basic rule, the kerfs should reach into the board about half to 3/4 of the entire length of the wood. Also, it should be spaced at least half an inch to a full inch apart. It all depends on the thickness and the radius or length of the curve. If you want a tight curve, you should create a narrow kerf as well.
Practice Makes Perfect
This saying comes to mind when trying to measure the kerfs and curves of the wood. The basic goal is to create evenly measured spaces between the kerfs so that the wood could bend smoothly along with the proper curves.
They should only be deep enough and wide enough to appear closer to the wooden surface, especially when the plywood or log takes its final form.
On the other hand, this is much easier to do with thick pieces of wood. However, what if you do not have thick wooden pieces? How will you apply the process of Saw-Kerfing to plywood?
You can do so by following these steps. Please continue reading to learn more.
To create a bent plywood piece without using any kind of metal plate for support, you can use super glue to stack several plywood layers together. Be sure to bend the plywood into your desired shape as you go on setting it on top of one another.
You can do this by using a temporary bending form first. After that, you can now use this pattern to reshape the plywood without difficulty. Just do the same to the second layer and the third as well as any succeeding ones.
Make sure to clamp the first thin sheet of plywood on top of your bending form. Put as much glue as possible on to the first layer. Then put the second layer on top and so on.
Make sure to glue each plywood sheet together to keep it secure and safe from damage. You can also use the clamps to keep it steady.
As soon as the glue dries, you can remove the initial wooden form panel and apply it with layers that will keep its curved shape for sure.
Learning How to Bend Wood: Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you understand the process of bending wood much more deeply, we can now proceed to some of the most pertinent questions that other people can ask about the process. Here they are as follows:
Can Bent Wood Ever Get Back Into Its Original Shape?
Yes. If you can apply the right amount of heat, you will be able to unwarp and put it back into its original shape. You can also soak the wood in water. After this, you have to seal the grain against future water damage.
This will freeze the glue in place permanently, and it will never bend again. However, the end product will not be completely straight. It is almost impossible to straighten out bent wood completely.
How Long Should The Soaking Take For it to Have Visible Effects On The Wood?
It usually takes half an hour to an hour for the procedure to take effect. Of course, this depends on the thickness of the wood itself. The thicker it is, the longer the soaking process will take. The rule is for every ½ inch of wood, it needs about an hour of soaking and heating up to bend.
Based on this measuring unit, a large log can take up to 24 hours overnight for the best results.
Are All Types Of Wood Bendable?
Yes. It’s just a matter of degree. Some types of wood are more pliable than others. In this case, you wouldn’t have to soak it up or heated for too long to get results.
What Types of Wood Are Easier to Bend?
It depends on how open the grain is. The more open it is, the better the conditions will be for wooden pliability. Some pliable wooden implements include the following:
- White Oak
- Red Oak
You can also bend other types of wood, but the process will take longer with the others.
Can You Bend Wood Without Steam?
Yes. You can use heat directly. However, for larger pieces of wood, it would be best to soak it in water and steam it to get the best results. There are also various tools that you can use to keep the bent shape once you achieve your desired goal.
You can use clamps or flat boards to support the steamed wood. This will help it keep its new shape without having to pound it continuously.
The Final Words
These are just some of the many hacks you can use if you want to bend wood without too much of a hassle. The key here is to keep the implement steady. You would have to fasten it to something much stronger, for the wooden material to keep to its bent shape.
That being said, if you still find yourself not able to understand how to bend wood effectively, you should not hesitate to contact professionals to help you out. They can easily guide you through the process without delay.
In addition, you have to do your homework when it comes to maintenance and support of curved wood. Otherwise, it may get back to its original form without you knowing. Follow the instructions mentioned above, and you will not go wrong.