Steam Bending

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Steam Bending

Postby Stanford Peverill » Thu May 05, 2016 11:08 pm

I have some square section stock of green ash 1.5 inches x 1.5 inches x 6 feet that was felled a few weeks ago. I suspect it is beginning to dry out now and its moisture content is on the decline. I understand the more sap/moisture that is in the fibers the more success. Is it wise, desirable or indeed possible to soak the lengths for some time to put moisture back into the fibers with a view to a successful steam bending session without the material splitting on the former. Any thoughts. Thanks.
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Re: Steam Bending

Postby monkeeboy » Fri May 06, 2016 9:43 pm

Yes.
Give it a go.
You'll learn loads if nothing else.
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Re: Steam Bending

Postby Stanford Peverill » Sun May 08, 2016 8:08 pm

Thank you for the reply would you like to speculate how long I would 'soak those dimensions for MB - is there a formular or do I just give it a go?
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Re: Steam Bending

Postby SeanHellman » Tue May 10, 2016 7:49 pm

Many people bend dry or seasoned wood with no issues. Water can take weeks to soak into the wood, just bend as is, it will still have moisture in it and not be properly dry even after a few weeks.
"Scarcely anything is original- it`s very hard to be totally inventive, so I am not terribly interested in originality. Vitality is all I care about" Clive James
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Re: Steam Bending

Postby Stanford Peverill » Wed May 11, 2016 7:37 pm

Thank you Sean for that reply I will give it a go and keep everything crossed
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Re: Steam Bending

Postby emjay » Wed May 11, 2016 8:59 pm

I'd give it a good hour in the steamer, then it should bend ok. I've bent ash that's over a year old with no problem as long as the grain is straight.
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Re: Steam Bending

Postby SeanHellman » Wed May 11, 2016 10:11 pm

I forgot to say, bend slowly, do not wrench the wood around the form, take it easy and slow, you will have a far higher success rate this way. Easy does it.
"Scarcely anything is original- it`s very hard to be totally inventive, so I am not terribly interested in originality. Vitality is all I care about" Clive James
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Re: Steam Bending

Postby Stanford Peverill » Tue May 17, 2016 8:50 pm

emjay thanks for the advice regarding the 'shelf life' of ash, your experience in this area is valuable. I have been hung up on this issue, making the assumption that as soon as square section blanks are sourced then they must be steamed, bent and stored for a later use.

Sean a useful contribution and thank you again for your supplementary advice. I have had a go recently with some reasonable success. Yes you are right keeping the excitement and stress levels down and taking things slowing and deliberately is the key. I sourced some 35mm x 2mm aluminium strip some time ago to use as a backing support. A reasonably level of successful was achieved in keeping the fibers intact but some de-lamination on the radius was apparent. The aluminium strip experienced a 'wavey' lateral distortion and now only suitable for the recycle bin now. I understand 1mm stainless strip is the best material consequently I am trying to track this down as we speak - watch this space. Cheers!!
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