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Project by kiefer posted 09-25-2013 05:50 PM 9405 views 20 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This a steamed wood bending jig that I am currently using to make some bent wood hinges for a box that I am building .
I used the micro wave stem bending process and this form with a discarded timing belt which has Kevlar imbedded into it and does not stretch as opposed to steel strap and a stop block made from plywood .
The process I used is soak the wood blank which in this case is 1”x11”x1/8” walnut for about an hour in warm water . Steam the blank in the MV for about a minute wrapped in a wet towel and let rest for about four minutes then reheat for another minute and let rest again and then a final reheat for another minute.
Run to the shop leaving the wood rapped in the hot wet towel and wearing gloves ,this thing is steaming hot !
Insert the blank into the ready jig and lock on the stop block ,keeping tension on the piece as I bend it around the 7/8” radius form and helping form by pushing with my left hand against the belt in the sharp bend area.
When the main bend is formed I clamp a pressure block to the belt and form to create the reverse bend .
After the part has cooled for several hours I remove it from the form and insert a wood plug and clamp it ( see pic 2 ) .
The biggest issue I have is finding straight grain wood and I also have only kiln dried lumber available .
The process seems to work but it took several attempts and failures to figure out the timing of the steaming process but I have made several parts now and it seems to work fairly consistently .
I will post the box with the hinges soon for you to look at .

-- Kiefer

19 comments so far

View Earlextech's profile


1164 posts in 4142 days

#1 posted 09-25-2013 06:03 PM

I’ve never used the microwave system but with standard steaming I’ve found that doubling the steam time for kiln dried wood usually does the trick.

Can’t wait to see the project!

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

View michelletwo's profile


2795 posts in 4467 days

#2 posted 09-25-2013 06:04 PM

I use an old metal gutter on my cookstove and fill with water & the wood. Put a top on it. Keep it just under boiling/simmering..I have bent kiln dried oak& ash pretty well this way. I also try hard to find rift or quartersawn wood

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

27684 posts in 4557 days

#3 posted 09-25-2013 06:08 PM

Very cool Idea!!!!!!!!!!..............Jim

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

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4786 days

#4 posted 09-25-2013 06:15 PM

Good way to heat the wood, and I like the timing belt idea too.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View hoss12992's profile


4181 posts in 3344 days

#5 posted 09-25-2013 06:30 PM

This is really cool. I have not tried steaming wood yet, but have some projects coming up that I will be trying it on. Very interesting on your setup. Great job and thanks for posting. I look forward to seeing your finished project.

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View TurnTurnTurn's profile


614 posts in 4561 days

#6 posted 09-25-2013 07:13 PM

Great idea, can’t wait to see the finished product.

-- TurnTurnTurn

View kiefer's profile


5852 posts in 4118 days

#7 posted 09-25-2013 07:38 PM

What attracted me to micro wave heating is the time it takes and the convenience but is limited by the size of the MV .
In my neck of the woods walnut oak ash are only available from the lumber yard as does not grow here ,so I am stuck with whatever I can get .
The box should be ready in a couple of days and I will post it then .
Just thought this would be of interest to some and would get lost in the box post .

-- Kiefer

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3744 days

#8 posted 09-25-2013 08:09 PM

Interesting process—look forward to seeing your project using this hinge part.

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

View jbschutz's profile


622 posts in 4143 days

#9 posted 09-25-2013 10:21 PM

Kiefer, I am amazed at the tight radius you are able to achieve. I gotta try this! Thanks for the info.

-- jbschutz

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 3859 days

#10 posted 09-25-2013 10:26 PM

Good job and your work/set-up is, yet again, brilliant!

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

8637 posts in 4804 days

#11 posted 09-25-2013 11:02 PM

Your system works well Kiefer. You have produced some really nice and unique work using your method.
Your work is always interesting. Thanks for sharing.

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

View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4255 days

#12 posted 09-25-2013 11:41 PM

I knew I should have kept my old rear belt when I replaced it on my Heritage.. LOL

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

View michelletwo's profile


2795 posts in 4467 days

#13 posted 09-26-2013 08:47 AM

ah, alberta. I have had success with maple too…maybe you have that? the microwave method will only do short pieces,,the advantage of the stove method is one can make very long pieces, if one needs to. thought I would share it with you. thanks for sharing your pieces & your methods

View Ken90712's profile


18113 posts in 4640 days

#14 posted 09-26-2013 09:58 AM

Very cool idea, nice!

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

View shipwright's profile


8816 posts in 4249 days

#15 posted 09-26-2013 05:03 PM

Fun to watch kiefer. My steam bending experience is so different.
I see a very interesting hinge coming here.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

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