Glue Laminate bending

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Forum topic by pontic posted 10-27-2017 01:08 PM 838 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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797 posts in 1389 days

10-27-2017 01:08 PM

How thick can I get away with in cutting strips of box elder for doing bent laminations.
Would it be better to steam bend the wider parts?

-- Illigitimii non carburundum sum

6 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4428 days

#1 posted 10-27-2017 04:36 PM

It depends on how extreme the bend is.

I prefer steam bending to laminate bending
because it is quick to do once set up for it
and it is not messy. Laminate bending though
is more predictable. There is very little
spring back. It is also feasible to get away
with using thicker laminate layers on more
pronounced curves by bending laminates on
a hot pipe. Up to about 1/10” is about as
thick as I would go on laminate layers unless
the curve was very gentle in which case up
to a 1/4” or more can be used as a layer.

I did a laminated chair back with curved legs
that went from 1/2” thick at the floor end to
3/16” at the top. The leg tapered and curved
from 2” thick to 3/4” thick. One side came
out a little twisted though. I used pine from a
2×4 as it was just a mockup of a chair from a
book. It was probably the unstable pine that
was the problem.

View DrDirt's profile


4614 posts in 4523 days

#2 posted 10-27-2017 04:49 PM

Loren covered it well – - depends on the bend.

What we did was if you couldn’t pull it into the form with hand pressure… you were going to be asking too much of the glue line to have it hold that shape.

That is with roughly 1-1.5 inch total thickness, like chair rockers, or the backs of the bar chairs I made with Junior.
In that there were just 4 – 1/4 inch plies of mahogany for the back legs. (or table legs)

When I made the rockers for my Maloof rocker – - there were 8 plies, that were more like 3/16 walnut – thicker would work for the main part of the curve, but the re curve of the tails of the rocker needed a little thinner..

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View DocSavage45's profile


8982 posts in 3623 days

#3 posted 10-27-2017 06:15 PM

Seth Stem does wonderful bending projects as well as glue ups. Went to a seminar the MN Woodworkers Guild did a few years ago. It really depends on the wood fibers. I’m not sure about box elder’s abilities,

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View DocSavage45's profile


8982 posts in 3623 days

#4 posted 10-27-2017 06:17 PM

Seth recommended this book:

The Wood Bending Handbook.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Carloz's profile


1147 posts in 1372 days

#5 posted 10-27-2017 07:52 PM

... box elder for doing bent…

- pontic

I read and article by someone very proficient in wood bending and his very valid point was that any wood species bend well as long as it is oak.

View pontic's profile


797 posts in 1389 days

#6 posted 10-27-2017 10:42 PM

Loren is right again. Thanks for the book recommend DocSavage. I bought it. Yes oak ash and hickory bend well. As for my boxelder experiments?? Grain too wild for laminate bending unless you cut it to 1/32” thick or thinner.
If you don’t it twists and cracks. Steam gives better results. Got to leave it in there for a while but I am getting some good results. Will give you pictures sometime.

-- Illigitimii non carburundum sum

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