Steambending (updated Form)

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Project by kiefer posted 06-17-2014 10:49 PM 3493 views 15 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am making more back scratchers and had to bend a hook on the end of the cherry blank so I tried this .

This is a little experiment that I had to try using fabric softener in the steaming water.
The set up I used is as follows .
Boild the water with the fabric softener and let the wood soak and steam for about half an hour .
I added a good shot from the bottle of fabric softener and made about a 20to1 mix .
The jig is pretty simple and made from items I had around the shop .
I am amazed how much better this worked with the fabric softener added to the water ,all four pieces of cherry measuring 2 1/4”x 3/16 ” bent without a problem around the 1 1/8” radius .

-- Kiefer

24 comments so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 4161 days

#1 posted 06-17-2014 10:53 PM

I suspect the fabric softener increased the specific heat of the water, hotter water means the lignin will be more pliable making tge wood more supple.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View JL7's profile


8747 posts in 3414 days

#2 posted 06-18-2014 12:53 AM

That’s a nice discovery for sure…looking forward to seeing the finished product.

-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View Roger's profile


21007 posts in 3253 days

#3 posted 06-18-2014 12:56 AM

Fantastic Kiefer! Looks very simple and very effective. Good stuff.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

6726 posts in 3802 days

#4 posted 06-18-2014 01:16 AM

Great thinking Kiefer! Watched you video and it helps tremendously watching you explain how you do this. I could use a nice back scratcher too!

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2741 days

#5 posted 06-18-2014 01:25 AM

Slick solution! Nice going.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View sras's profile


5135 posts in 3578 days

#6 posted 06-18-2014 01:29 AM

You know – as soon as I saw that piece of belt in the picture, I thought “This looks like a Kiefer project”

It was! And another good one – thanks for the tip.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

22995 posts in 3554 days

#7 posted 06-18-2014 02:32 AM

Very neat idea. Thanks for the tip!!...................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View hoss12992's profile


4149 posts in 2342 days

#8 posted 06-18-2014 03:23 AM

Great job buddy and thanks for sharing. I really need to try that.

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View eddie's profile


8565 posts in 3063 days

#9 posted 06-18-2014 03:44 AM

Kiefer that pretty cleaver ,thanks for the video too have a project in mind thats going to have some steam bending , looking great and thanks for sharing

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View Andre's profile


2693 posts in 2255 days

#10 posted 06-18-2014 05:17 AM

Good Video! So Downy or Bounce? Took a break from the garden shed and made a cutting board, will post after the final finish is complete! I have a feeling my shop will never get finished.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View stefang's profile


16711 posts in 3783 days

#11 posted 06-18-2014 07:40 AM

Thanks for that nice video Klaus, your process looks very simple and straight forward. I’ve never heard of using fabric softener for steam bending before. A great idea. Are you the first to do this? The applications for those belts in your shop seems endless, at least for someone as creative as yourself.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View GerardoArg1's profile


992 posts in 2442 days

#12 posted 06-18-2014 11:43 AM

Excelent. Thank for post!

-- Disfruta tu trabajo (enjoy your work) (Bandera, Argentina)

View kiefer's profile


5658 posts in 3116 days

#13 posted 06-18-2014 12:24 PM

Thanks for the comments .
Like I said it’s an experiment and I like to thank the person that suggested using fabric softener .
I will take this further and take some samples and see how good it will glue in case I need to make an item that uses multiple components .
I think a video is a helpful tool to explain a process and gives a much better insight than text and pictures .
What brand of softener I will use will be decided by what my wife uses and yes those timing belts are so versatile I would not know what to do without them .

Be well Klaus

-- Kiefer

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1326 posts in 2384 days

#14 posted 06-18-2014 01:41 PM

Very cool trick. Never would have thought of that

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View Earlextech's profile


1162 posts in 3139 days

#15 posted 06-18-2014 01:53 PM

Was it kiln dried wood?

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

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