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PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:49 pm 
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I am a fairly accomplished woodworker. I’m currently building my own custom home. After 2 years I’m finally at the point of doing the interior trim. So I have 2 vaulted ceilings of which I want to install false beams made from the rough sawn oak that I milled from the property. My problem is that the beam structure I want to produce has curved or arched members. Please see the attached photo. I know I can ultimately create these curves and arches , but I first wanted to ask all of you how you would do it. I have learned so much from this forum so maybe one of you have done this before and your experience will save me steps. If these hollow false beams end up looking like the real solid beams-that would be a real home run! Thanks. Jim in Nashville, TN


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 1:14 pm 
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I would rip the timber to be curved into bendable thickness then laminate the strips into the arch form. If the rips are all from the same timber I doubt anyone would be able to detect the lams from ground level.

Just my take ...

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 9:26 pm 
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Thanks Dennis. I think that is the most viable option. Maybe slot the curved pieces on the inner side of the box so they bend easily. We were thinking alike.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:32 am 
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Jmongene wrote:
Thanks Dennis. I think that is the most viable option. Maybe slot the curved pieces on the inner side of the box so they bend easily. We were thinking alike.


Thought about steam bending the pieces on a form?

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:46 pm 
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At what appears to be a pretty large radius, I don't think it would be necessary to kerf the inside of the radius. I should have mentioned either steaming or soaking as Gene did, at which point I think you should be able to bend 1-1/2" or perhaps even 2" thick rips over a form. I'd build the form with a bit smaller radius than the final result, steam and bend the members leaving them to dry in the mold, then when dry glue and laminate them to a form of the proper radius. There is usually some bit of springback when steam bending, at least that's been my experience.

I suspect if you didn't steam bend them you could laminate them as well but depending on the glue you use, the tension in the wood might cause some creep in the joints which wouldn't be desirable ... (grin)

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 12:12 pm 
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DennisS wrote:
At what appears to be a pretty large radius, I don't think it would be necessary to kerf the inside of the radius. I should have mentioned either steaming or soaking as Gene did, at which point I think you should be able to bend 1-1/2" or perhaps even 2" thick rips over a form. I'd build the form with a bit smaller radius than the final result, steam and bend the members leaving them to dry in the mold, then when dry glue and laminate them to a form of the proper radius. There is usually some bit of springback when steam bending, at least that's been my experience.

I suspect if you didn't steam bend them you could laminate them as well but depending on the glue you use, the tension in the wood might cause some creep in the joints which wouldn't be desirable ... (grin)


Steam bending is somewhat of an art. For thick wood I'd leave it in the form for several days to cool and dry completely. Check it with a meter until it's stable. I'd also suggest a 2 man team to get it clamped down on the form as fast as possible. :)

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