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 Post subject: Sometimes…
PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 1:04 am 
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Things don’t go exactly as planned. In fact, when bending wood, it happens more often than with most other operations. I’ve come to take a fatalistic approach to bending projects, failures are to be expected, and allowed for.

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The photo above shows the aftermath of a minor explosion. When I inserted the tapered core into the band of my largest attempted bentwood box, the stressed wood split and sprung apart with a small bang.

I’ve been learning a lot about these little boxes. Each one requires its own variation of technique to bend, secure and fasten it into the proper shape. Small ones require a nimble dexterity to get the tiny tacks in place, while the larger take a firm hand and all the digits that you can muster to keep them together without splitting out between wooden fingers.

I spent most of my shop time last week roughing out stock for dozens of these boxes. My work is cut out for me, and my education continues apace.

Cheers,
Tom

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 Post subject: Re: Sometimes…
PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 5:10 pm 
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Location: Skagit Co WA
Every project, even those we've been through a number of times, they're each and every one a learning experience.

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 Post subject: Re: Sometimes…
PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 6:06 pm 
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Location: Cypress, TX
Tom,
Would staples and glue help before you made the final fastening?
Zulu

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 Post subject: Re: Sometimes…
PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:16 pm 
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Hey Zulu,

Part of the appeal is that these boxes are, for the most part, made the same way the Shakers built them, that being without glue. They are held together with tacks and wooden pegs.

A wide clamp is occasionally employed, by some, during the fastening, but I'm doing my best to learn how to do it manually. I've successfully produced one #5 (the largest size that I have a form and cores for), and had one failure. So my success rate is only 50% for that size, but I have six more #5 bands roughed out so I hope to become more proficient by the time I've run out of materials. Then there's #4, #3. #2. #1, and size #0. I have forms, and even more stock for each of the smaller sizes, so I'll be busy for some time. I'm hoping to become proficient enough to teach a class in the technique.

Cheers,
Tom

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 Post subject: Re: Sometimes…
PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:39 pm 
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TMS: In the bending process I have some questions. Are the work pieces wet/dampened before they go in the steam box? Are the work pieces bent around the forms and held with tension bands before they are permanently fastened? Are the work pieces kiln or air dried and down to what content? The boxes are absolutely fascinating in their simplicity and beauty.
Good luck, even though working diligently make its own luck, you have started on a satisfying journey.

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 Post subject: Re: Sometimes…
PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:55 pm 
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Location: ridley park, PA
Sometimes.........................the trees fight back! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Sometimes…
PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 10:22 pm 
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Hey newtooth,

I usually soak the bands before steaming them, although it's not really necessary. Done authentically, the bands are softened in boiling water. That takes a large boiling tray, which I don't have. I do have a large steam box, so I use that.

The hot band is wrapped around the form, and I hold it there for about a minute while it cools. A witness mark is made to ensure re alignment, and the band is removed from the form, re aligned according to the mark and fastened with the tacks.

Tapered "cores" are inserted into each end of the band to ensure the proper shape as it dries for 24hrs.

I use air dried maple, it's the easiest stuff. If you can get good cherry, it works well too. Diffuse porous wood works best for the small boxes, ring porous would work okay for the larger sizes.

Around here, most air dried lumber at equilibrium is about 12%, maybe a little more in the Winter.

Cheers,
Tom

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 Post subject: Re: Sometimes…
PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:17 am 
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Tom,

I know what ya mean, and feel yer pain.
In my case I was building a simple project for my daughter. Something Ive built many many times before. This time it got the idea of fighting me every step of the way, dumb mistakes not thinking when I make a cut etc.

Well I finished it. Im not exactly proud of it but its done. I put it in my daughters room then went out and bought more material to build another one.

I figure it goes like that sometimes


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