Reply by runswithscissors

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Posted on Straightening a board with a Shower????

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3129 posts in 3082 days

#1 posted 08-31-2015 10:31 PM

One reason the heat gun technique works is that the heat softens the lignin, allowing the wood fibers on the inner face to distort and slide together. In an extreme bend, you can see considerable distortion. When the wood cools, that new orientation of the fibers is locked in place. If you want less bend, you have to reheat the wood so those fibers can move again.

In doing an extreme bend, I always use a steel bending strap on the outside of the bend. Wood fibers will crumple together pretty easily, but won’t spread apart without breaking the wood. The bending strap prevents this. But the slight amount of bending you are trying to do will not require a bending strap. Be sure to let the wood cool before releasing the pressure on it.

Unfortunately, plywood is not always flat, as many of us have found out. I haven’t tried this with thick stuff, but on thinner panels—1/8 to 1/4”—plywood can be bent with heat too. Bending is easiest with the face grain, rather than against it. If you bend 2 pieces to the same curve, you can laminate those (when cooled), and you get a very rigid, curved panel.

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