When we fully enter the world of carpentry and DIY, one of the tasks that at some point must be faced is to bend or bend wood. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a particularly complex process although it is not fast, one must be patient and wait until the piece is curved and fixed in position, that is, do not return to the starting position.

There are different methods for bending wood, each with its advantages, disadvantages and material needs (none of which has a great need for tools).

In addition to the techniques we will discuss below, there is always the possibility of sculpting or carving wood with the desired shape or curve. However, this task can represent a significant waste of wood, and you should also be aware that you may need experienced hands to obtain a good result, that is, it is inefficient in terms of labor and raw materials.

Using steam to bend wood

Folding a solid wood slat can be a difficult task depending on the thickness of the slat and the type of wood, so much so that for some wood and board thickness we can only do it with industrial machinery and not in a domestic workshop. However, if we talk about soft woods and thicknesses of a few centimeters, it is a task that almost anyone can face.

This method consists of using steam to moisten and weaken the wooden structure long enough to bend it.

Necessary material

  • Desktop.
  • Molds
  • Various advisors or sergeants.
  • Steam box.
  • Vaporizer.

Process

In a box or tube with an opening for the entrance of water vapor, we will introduce the wooden slats that we are going to fold. This box can be a simple wooden box that we manufacture exactly as they do In this video or a simple PVC tube wide and long enough to introduce the slat and through which the steam circulates.

There is no set time leave the piece in contact with the steam, as there are several variables that can change the time required, especially the thickness of the wood, the type of wood and the temperature. Ideally, you should run tests until you find the ideal time. We can start with 30 minutes.

Once we have the wood moistened, we must fix it in the mold, which can be made of pieces with the desired curvature or a board with metal pieces fixed in the positions where we want the wood to bend. To force the curve and maintain the position we will use the presses.

After the wood dried, we can remove it from the mold and it will maintain its curvature. This usually takes one to two days.

recommendations

  • Before starting to work, the wood must be very dry, because if there is moisture inside, the board may deform over time. Remember that what we will do with the steam is to apply the surface moisture, which will disappear in a few hours.
  • Ideally, you should place the presses in succession and progressively follow the curve and not define the last press until you reach the end.
  • Has spare parts, since if we want to bend the wood a lot or if we don’t moisten the wood, it is not enough, the piece will break.
  • It can also be used to fold plywood.
  • Avoid boards with knots.

Using varnish or foil to bend wood

And if I can’t do it the previous way, how do I bend wood? Well, the answer is not complex, using boards.

Necessary material

  • Desktop.
  • Molds
  • Various advisors or sergeants.
  • White carpenter’s glue or some similar adhesive.

Process

fold wood veneers

At wood veneers, 1 or 2 millimeters thick, they are very flexible and do not break unless you force them excessively, so they are an ideal option for obtaining curved wood. The process is very simple.

  1. We apply glue to the plates, on all the faces that will be inside the piece and we do not guarantee that the surface will be well impregnated.
  2. We join until we reach the desired thickness, being careful not to overdo it, because with each sheet the resistance increases.
  3. We fix the union of the plates to the mold using the presses.
  4. We wait to dry. With this method it will not be necessary to wait more than 2 or 3 hours, although depending on the queue used it may take a little longer.

recommendations

  • Do not use too fast-drying glue, as it may take several minutes to finish applying it and at least a few more minutes to firm the presses.

Wood bending notch technique

folding wooden grooves

This way of folding wood is especially recommended in plywood and MDF (measured density board), although it can also be used in solid wood, as long as they are flexible. It consists of weakening an area of ​​the wooden strip that we are going to bend by making parallel cuts that reduce its thickness.

Necessary material

  • Desktop.
  • Mold.
  • Various advisors or sergeants.
  • Circular saw.
  • White carpenter’s glue some other similar adhesive.
  • Fine sawdust.
  • Spatula.

Wood bending process

  1. We will use a saw to make cuts with a “saw width” of 3 or 4 millimeters and a depth such that there is a final thickness of at least 3 millimeters. We will also leave at least 3 millimeters between cuts and make as many cuts as necessary to cover the entire curve.
  2. We will present the wooden strip in the mold to see if it makes the curve without problems.
  3. We will mix the sawdust with the glue to create a paste.
  4. We are going to introduce the dough with the help of our hands and the spatula into the grooves.
  5. We fix the part to the mold with the presses so that it does not move and wait for it to dry.

recommendations

  • As in the previous case, do not use quick-drying glue to bend wood.
  • Wait at least a day before removing the part from the mold.
  • If the required curve is very pronounced, smaller separations between cuts and / or wider cuts can be interesting.