How Did They Bend That Wood...???? - Router Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-10-2013, 04:16 PM Thread Starter
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Default How Did They Bend That Wood...????

A few months ago I bought a large stand alone jewelry cabinet for my daughter. i would have.liked to have been able to build it myself, but so far I don't have that level of of skill. Anyway, my question has to do with knowing how the front of the drawers were bent into the curved shapes that they were. I suspect that the material was of MDF that was veneered either before or after the workpieces were bent into the curves.

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-10-2013, 06:51 PM
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From what I know about bending it was likely something like poplar or pine for the base material which was then veneered, although it's not impossible that it might be a plastic or a composite that is mostly plastic. MDF can't be steamed as it will turn back into a sawdust mush. I don't know if just heating it would leave it in a stable state.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-10-2013, 10:24 PM
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The drawer fronts on boxes and some of the tables I have built were cut on a band saw. The laminates I use for steam bending, are of teh softer variety, pine, poplar etc. Make a jig to mold them while they are still wet, and once dry they maintain the shape. Apply the veneer after they have dried.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-10-2013, 11:35 PM
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If it was mdf it was probably formed in that shape when made, not bent.
I have done thin strip lamination for curves, with some success

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-10-2013, 11:58 PM
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Jerry
If it was mdf it was probably bandsaw from thicker stock to shape then veneered not bent at all
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-11-2013, 12:00 AM
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Also, you can make curved pieces by bending and laminating your own very thin layers. In essense, you would be making your own plywood in the desired shape.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-11-2013, 09:14 AM
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Everyone has a piece of the answer since without a picture it is difficult to determine the methods used.

High Production Wood furniture with curved fronts are machine glued into a continuous sheet, overcut to compensate for the curve and run through a liner steamer at 0 psi and come out with the flexibility of overcooked spaghetti. Then they run through a series of rollers and heaters that curve and dry them at the same time, linear slicing then follows with a water jet and then veneering. Total time for the fronts of a cabinet you describe from rough lumber to finished front is about 1 every 90 seconds, once the line is up to speed. 2 men can control this line. Lower production rates use steam and forms and one of a kind usually uses the bandsaw, stationary belt sander and a lot of TLC.

MDF is either molded or extruded (regular plastics extruder) for a curve depending upon the production quantity desired.

This is the reason that after 40+ years of designing, selling and setting up these plants, I now make my projects one at a time. There are very few heirloom quality manufactures left and a computer, a machine and a company logo can never provide the TLC and richness of history to our future generations; this is why I work with wood , one item at a time.

Hope this helps and thanks to everyone in this forum for keeping a tradition from dying.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-11-2013, 12:35 PM
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Richard
Enjoyed your answer( like the one at a time ideal )
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-12-2013, 09:30 AM
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Study the edge of the wood and it will tell you whether or not it was laminated. It is very easy to bend wood, it's the form that takes time to make. Another very easy option for bending is kerfing the wood first.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-12-2013, 10:50 AM
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Howdy once again Jerry....

A while back I was asked to build a chess table for a friend. He wanted a "round table".
Once we agreed to a particular look, I began doing my homework on doing round or bent furniture. For me, I concluded that there were a few options. Most of which have been mentioned earlier. One would be a solid piece of wood, bandsawn and worked from there. Second would be lamination. Third would be steam bending and finally fourth would be heat bending. OR any combination of the above. I was darn near ready to pull the trigged on steam bending when I changed my mind after seeing the heat gun setup (see pictures). There is alot that goes into bending wood. A great deal depends on the wood that you are using. Some woods just take to bending much, much better than others. (I'm using cherry on this project). Depending on the final thickness desired one usually ends up doing some kind of lamination, which I did on this project. 6 thin pieces of oak were heated up and bent to what i would guess was 90% to final shape, then a top lamination of cherry was applied. I used an Urea glue which in the end, turned out to be just fantastic. When I pulled the sides off of the form, I got less than 1/8" return. and after several weeks of sitting, that fit the form like a glove yet....I found the whole process to be quite enjoyable and look forward to the next one..
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