Sliced Wood Bending Technique

  • Advertise with us
Project by Peter Brown posted 07-29-2015 08:40 PM 6817 views 26 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Sliced Wood Bending Technique
Sliced Wood Bending Technique No picture No picture No picture No picture No picture
Zoom Pictures

Would you like to see how easy it is to bend wood like a slinky?

The trick to this technique is all about the setup, and once you’ve got that down the possibilities are near endless! I saw a band saw cut vase on a woodworking forum that I frequent, that lead me back to the work of Seth Rolland. I was amazed that I’d never seen any of his work until now.

I stopped short with the projects I had on the bench, and worked out a method that I could use to make these cuts without involving my evil nemesis, math. I think the process I worked out, makes sense and should be fairly easy to translate it to larger and more intricate cuts. I would love to see you make of it.

Sizing and layout of the wood

I started by cutting down some 3/4” walnut I had in the shop. I ended up with a test board measuring 5” wide and 9” long.

I then marked a 1/2” margin all the way around the outside. It would be both, a guide for where to stop the band saw cuts, as well as edges for the holding on to while bending.

Making the cutting ‘units’ & The setup of the band saw

My first attempt at the idea was simply to print out a cutting template on a sheet of paper and glue it the board. Making straight cuts on the band saw by hand is something best left to more well trained souls. It was a travesty and I needed a better way.

So I cut out 8 thin strips at the table saw. They were suppose to be 1/8 of an inch but were a bit thicker. This is when everything fell into place in my head. “Who cares what thickness they are, as long as they are all uniform!” Which they were.

  1. I stacked them the 8 strips up and placed them next to my table saw blade (while the saw was off!)
  2. I then brought the fence over and that gave me the measurement for an “8 unit” cut, without having to use my tape measure.
  3. I then removed the strips and cut a scrap piece of wood that I labeled “8 units”
  4. Lastly I took both the 8 strips and the “8 unit” block and repeated the process to get another larger block.
  5. It was then labeled “16 units”.

Hopefully that all makes sense.

Next I took a board with a known good 90 degree angle and clamped it to my band saw to make a parallel fence (if your band saw already has a fence you’re a step ahead!) and lined up the 1/2 margin with the blade. We’re now ready for the first cut.

The cutting process.

  1. While keeping the work piece against the fence cut the length of the board
  2. Stopping the cut right at the 1/2” margin you marked earlier.
  3. Then back out the cut and add one “unit” strip up against the fence.
  4. Flip the board over and make another cut, again stopping at the 1/2” margin mark.
  5. Rinse and repeat.

You will begin to see this zig-zag pattern emerge with in a few cuts. It’s just a matter of following the steps. Add a strip, make a stopped cut, flip the board over and begin

Once you’ve gone 7 strips deep, you can replace those with your “8 unit” board. Then you can begin adding the strips again till you get to 15 and replace both with the “16 unit” board.

For me, the process went pretty smooth, but I did get so wrapped up at one point that I forgot the flip the board. You can see the double cut if you look close.

Complete the process till you reach the end of the board.

The end result

The end result is a super bendable plank of wood that defies it’s nature.
It just feels wrong!

So what are you going to use this for?
Vase? Lamp shade? Letter Holder? Wooden Hinge?

I’ve got some ideas, but I bet you all come up with even more…. If you make this, let me know. I’d love to see it!

-- Peter Brown - Collector of WD-40 and wood splinters

9 comments so far

View PAchemist's profile


57 posts in 2357 days

#1 posted 07-29-2015 09:55 PM

That’s a great description of your process! I’ve got to try this, if only to see how cool it is.

View Rockbuster's profile


499 posts in 3891 days

#2 posted 07-29-2015 11:23 PM

Neat idea, not sure what I would use it for, right now, it kinda reminds me of the air filter on my lawn mower.

-- Rockbuster,Ft. Wayne,In It is far better to remain silent, and appear the fool, than it is to open ones mouth, and remove all doubt.

View CFrye's profile


11376 posts in 3123 days

#3 posted 07-30-2015 01:15 AM

That is cool, Peter! Thanks for the link to Seth Rolland’s site. Awesome stuff there. Thanks for sharing.

-- God bless, Candy

View playingwithmywood's profile


444 posts in 2880 days

#4 posted 07-30-2015 06:37 AM

your videos are always good thanks

View michelletwo's profile


2795 posts in 4298 days

#5 posted 07-30-2015 09:32 AM

thanks for the video and bringing SR’s work to our attention

View Eli Adamit's profile

Eli Adamit

744 posts in 4572 days

#6 posted 07-30-2015 01:19 PM

Very nice.

-- Eli Adamit, Israel

View Peter Brown's profile

Peter Brown

196 posts in 2960 days

#7 posted 07-30-2015 05:37 PM

Thank you all for the feedback!

-- Peter Brown - Collector of WD-40 and wood splinters

View playingwithmywood's profile


444 posts in 2880 days

#8 posted 07-31-2015 03:43 AM

Thank you all for the feedback!

- Peter Brown

well their are people that add to youtube and people that take away from it … to many people with no skills are making videos and trying to become a youtube superstars and a lot of them seem to try to launch their celebrity career here and they need to be called out but when people like you push the limits and really make unique projects you should be given extra credit here and on youtube

View Ivan's profile


17046 posts in 4150 days

#9 posted 07-31-2015 05:42 PM

Indeed incredible concept. Sure, I would like to see it in some projects. Wright now I don’t have ideas.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics