How to bend wood?
Jan 1, 2011 at 1:54 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 25

TheDreamthinker

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Hi,
 
I am a noob in DIY.
 
I had the idea of building a own headphone stand.
I already have a few design ideas.
 
But they more or less all involve bending wood to a very high degree.
Similar to the Omega Headstandes, which IMO cost extremly much for just a piece of bended wood.
 
I read something about the Thonet-Method of bending wood, but didn't find any instructions on the internet.
 
Thanks
 
-TheDreamthinker
 
Jan 1, 2011 at 2:25 PM Post #2 of 25

nikongod

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Quote:
Similar to the Omega Headstandes, which IMO cost extremly much for just a piece of bended wood.
 


You might sing a different song when you find out how much labor and specialized tools are required to bend wood. 
 
The retail price of an item is not purely its raw materials cost (which I agree would be fairly low in the omega headphone stand) but also the labor necessary to make one. In the case of actually bending wood, the cost of steam to soften the wood must also be considered.
 
Raw materials for all parts, a couple hours spent making a jig to bend the wood, a couple hours spent making a steamer, and another half an hour actually bending the wood and once you add a 50% markup to your parts & labor cost you just earned yourself minimum wage to do the work of a skilled craftsman.
 
If your in it for personal reward DO IT! It seems like an interesting challenge and a great place to learn new stuff. If your in it to save money someone mislead you that this is the way to do that. Spend the time doing something you enjoy and the money on the stand - its a better investment.
 
Jan 1, 2011 at 2:33 PM Post #3 of 25

Avro_Arrow

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The "old school" method of bending wood involves steaming it.
Get a PVC pipe with enough diameter for the wood you want to
steam. Place the pipe with the wood inside over a kettle and let
it boil away. Both ends of the pipe should be open and the kettle
end should be sealed to the kettle as best you can. How long
you have to steam it depends on how thick it is and how much
steam you can generate. Maybe five minutes, maybe half an hour.
You will have to experiment a little. Steaming makes the wood
soft and easier to bend without breaking.
If you are going to laminated it you will have to cut out your molds.
You will have to test a few pieces with your mold to see how thin
and how well steamed the have to be to conform to your shape.
 
Hope that helps...
 
Jan 1, 2011 at 2:43 PM Post #4 of 25

plinden

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The steam pipe method works well - allow approximately 1 hour for every 25 mm of timber thickness.
For thinner wood you might also try an ordinary steam iron or even hot water, but only bend the wood a liitle each time.
 
Jan 1, 2011 at 2:45 PM Post #5 of 25

buffalowings

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thin strips, stacked next to each other (not touching) in a steamer box, steam until pliable, then stack over each other, bend to shape, hold until dry and then glue together
 
Jan 1, 2011 at 3:20 PM Post #6 of 25

TheDreamthinker

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Do all methods to bend wood, involve steam?
 
Is there any way to do it without some pro equipment?
I read that many people actually do this sort of thing as weekend project.
 
And what about that Thonet method?
.
 
@nikongod
 
Sorry i didn't know that.
 
I just thought, if a Louis Vuitton Bag, costs 10 Dollars to make, why would u pay so much more for a piece of wood.
Aren't there machines to do that automatically, made in china, that would cost ca. 20 Dollars.
 
Just some noob-logic.
 
Jan 1, 2011 at 3:31 PM Post #8 of 25

buffalowings

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Quote:
Do all methods to bend wood, involve steam?
 
Is there any way to do it without some pro equipment?
I read that many people actually do this sort of thing as weekend project.
 
And what about that Thonet method?
.
 
@nikongod
 
Sorry i didn't know that.
 
I just thought, if a Louis Vuitton Bag, costs 10 Dollars to make, why would u pay so much more for a piece of wood.
Aren't there machines to do that automatically, made in china, that would cost ca. 20 Dollars.
 
Just some noob-logic.


you could soak the wood...essentially a very very heavy steam bath
 
Jan 1, 2011 at 4:14 PM Post #10 of 25

nikongod

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Quote:
@nikongod
 
Sorry i didn't know that.
 
I just thought, if a Louis Vuitton Bag, costs 10 Dollars to make, why would u pay so much more for a piece of wood.
Aren't there machines to do that automatically, made in china, that would cost ca. 20 Dollars.
 
Just some noob-logic.


I did a quick google search, and found that LV bags cost from about $500 (USED no less) or more. The Omega headphone stand costs $180 new. Thats roughly 2.5 times as much! 
 
If you want to do this for your own personal reward, Id say go for it. If you think this is a way to save money (eevn compared to the full retail price of $180) you could not be more wrong.
 
Jan 1, 2011 at 5:48 PM Post #11 of 25

TheDreamthinker

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From where i my parents come from, u can get handmade would wood for 10 Bucks, that's why.
 
The video looks interesting......
 
 
Jan 1, 2011 at 6:28 PM Post #12 of 25

nikongod

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Quote:
From where i my parents come from, u can get handmade would wood for 10 Bucks, that's why.
 
 

 
Can you get 2 identical ones? 10? enough to stock a shop somewhere?
 
Would you be better off paying a woodworker to make a piece of wood, or taking the time and effort to do it yourself? if its just a matter of saving money, the answer is that the guy who does this for a living will probably be able to do a better job than you for LESS money once you figure in what your time is worth.
 
If you are doing this because you think you will enjoy it, by all means. 
 
Thats all.
 
Jan 1, 2011 at 6:41 PM Post #14 of 25

TheDreamthinker

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I thought off it, because of a thread here on Head-Fi.
 
And i love designing or thinking of designs.
It's not just about money (but yeah it's a minor objective).
Now i'm just stuck with making it....
confused.gif
.
 
 
P.S.: I only go there in summer.....still a long time to go...
cool.gif

        (Where i live are no audiophile shops and summer is the only time i can test gear or do anything else, audiophileish).
 
Jan 11, 2011 at 12:39 AM Post #15 of 25

dogwan

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As a professional woodworker I can tell you that no matter what equipment you have it would be extremely difficult to make a knock off of the Omega stand with steam bending wood. The radii are just too tight. When you steam bend wood that is not anchored to something to hold the curve as part of the design you need to calculate and accommodate springback, which is the tendency of the wood to bounce back. The formula must take into account the type of wood, thickness, radius, etc. Based on the looks of that stand the small radii needed to have it "springback" to the Omega shape would be so small that even steamed wood would most surely crack eventually. Not to mention the fact that the axis of the radii are across the width of the lumber to achieve this shape. This is not bending a stick, it is bending a wide plank.
 
The Omega stand is, by my educated eye, a "bent lamination". Essentially built up like plywood over a form and the best way to do this is with a vacuum press.
 
Hopefully I haven't "rained on any parades". That was not my intention and I whole-heartedly encourage DIY. I would just never attempt to manufacture this item with team bending. And I have done some really intricate curved work with wood in the past.
 
On the other hand I would not hesitate to carve this shape out a solid block of wood. Ask around at your local woodworking shops and see if anyone has a "drop" of  16/4 or even 12/4 lumber about 8-12" long. Get yourself a carving attachment for a right-angle grinder (Excalibur and Arbor-tech are two brands) and go to town. READ UP ON SAFETY 1ST!!!!
 
-Dogwan
 

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