John Kobzina's Projects





Wood Steam Bending

At your last Shop Tips meeting, when I posed some questions about my continuing wood steam bending issues, you made two suggestions that (a) I find a young muscular assistant and (b) have all clamps at the ready to shorten the clamping time. I thought that you might be interested to see how this program is coming along.

Rather than a young, muscular assistant, I decided on making the lever-arms much longer to give me much greater leverage when bending the wood. You can see the new jig in the photo entitled bending form.jpg. One key thing about the increased leverage is that it allowed me to slowly and very smoothly bend both sides simultaneously, rather than abruptly making the bend. The last time I did this, I used just about every clamp known to man and it took almost 7 min. to get everything clamped together (with the wood cooling all of the time). This time I used two bench dogs to anchor the wood to a portable workbench and only another two adjustable clamps to bend the wood to its final shape - total time from the steam oven until everything was completely clamped was only 1 min. 40 sec. My clamped wood.jpg picture shows this dramatically simplified form. My final picture (final bend results.jpg) shows the bottom of the wood with no tearing at all. Throughout all of this, I have stuck with wood that is about 1/4" in thickness.

While I didn't exactly implement your suggestions, they were a super useful basis for my thinking in terms of how to overcome some of the problems that I have been encountering. Now it is on to the next form in which I will have wood with thick ends at both ends so that the final bent shape will have something substantive for handles at both ends. The pizza oven continues to devour all of my discards........

John Kobzina on Feb. 2008

Click to enlarge images
Bending Form
Bending Form
Clamped Wood
Clamped Wood
Final Bend Results
Final Bend Results



A folding shop table that will fit in the garage with a car or can be used as a dining room table. It was too nice for a shop table.
A folding shop table that will fit in the garage with a car or can be used as a dining room table. It was too nice for a shop table. May 2005.


A marble top coffee table. Dec. 2002.



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