desk, my first attempt at bent lamination

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Project by drewnahant posted 03-08-2011 04:38 AM 5185 views 6 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

this is actually an older project, completed feb 2008, but I just realized that I had all these photos and decided to post.
let me just say, the only wood I bought for this project was one sheet of 5/8 birch for the top, the rest is scraps, which is why there are a couple extra seems covered with edge banding.
so, I started with sketchup.

I decided that I wanted more desk space, but I didnt want to take up all of the floor space, so I designed it with a rolling cabinet and drop leaf section of the desk.

I wanted to try bending and laminating 1/4” birch plywood, I thought it would be fun. so I just kindof tried it without any real research. I steamed the plywood with a wet towel and an iron. It was a lot more effort than a steam box, but since i didnt have any real plans of doing this again, I didnt want to build a steam box just for this. Here I am pre-bending the panels.

once the panels were roughly bent, I covered them in glue, bent them around the interior frame, and since I dont have a vacuum press, I clamped them with a bunch of ratchet straps. I cut the drawer fronts, and the shelf openings out of the solid curve after lamination. this way the drawer fronts actually fit the curve of the face, and the grain fits in. It was a little tricky laying out the cuts, and then actually cutting it with a fine handsaw.

the top is pretty simple, just some 5/8 birch plywood, with a maple band bent around the edge. the final step was to accent edges, drawers, etc. with walnut edge banding, sand and finish with gloss clear polyurethane.

24 comments so far

View AugieCoe's profile


44 posts in 4185 days

#1 posted 03-08-2011 05:03 AM

That’s pretty cool!

-- There is a lesson in every project. Play safe!

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 4149 days

#2 posted 03-08-2011 05:15 AM

Very nice job. Bent form lamination and freeform opens up the world of possibilities in woodworking.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


24942 posts in 5170 days

#3 posted 03-08-2011 06:12 AM

Nice job. It really takes another WW to appreciate that.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2659 posts in 5021 days

#4 posted 03-08-2011 06:18 AM

The outcome of your first attempt appears as though you have been doing it for decades! Great job and the design is really awesome!

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Karson's profile


35300 posts in 5895 days

#5 posted 03-08-2011 06:20 AM

A great job. making your own bending ply.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Ryan Bruzan's profile

Ryan Bruzan

153 posts in 4390 days

#6 posted 03-08-2011 07:03 AM

That is AWESOME! Now I’m gonna have to try it.

-- Built with FOREVER in mind.

View steliart's profile


2895 posts in 4183 days

#7 posted 03-08-2011 07:14 AM

excellent project

-- Stelios L.A. Stavrinides: - I am not so rich to buy cheap tools, but... necessity is the mother of inventions !!!

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 5207 days

#8 posted 03-08-2011 07:22 AM

AN inspiring project! Thanks for the post and the great idea.

-- "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 David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2080 posts in 4134 days

#9 posted 03-08-2011 07:35 AM

Very nice. Looks professional. Hell, I’d have it. I like projects that don’t look home made, but are. Impressive.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View RPKnikker's profile


64 posts in 4138 days

#10 posted 03-08-2011 02:56 PM

Very nice!!! I like the 2e 3D picture! Works well!!!
Good luck to make your next project!

-- Register at my website if you're interested in my projects... It's FREE!

View 489tad's profile


4159 posts in 4506 days

#11 posted 03-08-2011 04:17 PM

An iron and a towel. Thats cool.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View 4thumbs's profile


153 posts in 4641 days

#12 posted 03-08-2011 04:23 PM

Great job! Bent laminations are tedious, but sure do open up design options like this. Well done!

-- 4thumbs in MO

View Doug's profile


1305 posts in 4256 days

#13 posted 03-08-2011 04:38 PM

Okay, first let me say, WOW! That is a really nice desk. You have inspired me to take a second look at material that would normally be pitched in the trash. Absolutely amazing.

-- Doug

View Ken90712's profile


18123 posts in 4683 days

#14 posted 03-08-2011 04:58 PM

Great work, looks great all the way around.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Jason's profile


660 posts in 5003 days

#15 posted 03-08-2011 06:59 PM

Turned out well.

-- Jason - Colorado Springs

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