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View Full Version : What are the best tips for bending mahogany sides?



UkAlele
05-26-2015, 06:46 AM
Hi UU,

I've been bending mahogany sides on heating bar and am trying to avoid splitting the wood as it bends. The wood is 2.5mm thick and soaked; the homemade bending bar comprises of a stainless steel hoover pipe held by Stanley vices into which a heat gun blows hot air (see pic). What advice might someone have for this scenario. All advice welcomed, thanks. UkAlele.

If you don't like hovering, the hoover pipes make great bending bars. They get hot enough so that water bounces off the pipe surface. Only trouble is when the wife wants to hoover she's got no hoover. Solution? easy buy her the dream hoover of her choice, get yourself a uke of your dreams for the same cost and finally take her out for dinner.

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Timbuck
05-26-2015, 06:56 AM
Hi UU,

I've been bending mahogany sides on heating bar and am trying to avoid splitting the wood as it bends. The wood is 2.5mm thick. What advice might someone have for this scenario. All advice welcomed, thanks. UkAlele. I make that at .098" Inch thick..I bend mahogany at .075" .. so you want it about 1.9mm ..Others may disagree but I don't care.:D

UkAlele
05-26-2015, 07:02 AM
SUPER FAST response, thanks. I'll reduce thickness and feedback the results. UkAlele

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
05-26-2015, 07:31 AM
I make that at .098" Inch thick..I bend mahogany at .075" .. so you want it about 1.9mm ..Others may disagree but I don't care.:D

I care. And I agree.

ksquine
05-26-2015, 08:01 AM
2.5mm is pretty thick to get ukulele radius bends out of mahogany....I'm with Ken in the 1.75 - 1.9mm range

I like the idea of using vacuum as a bending iron. I tried bending on my vacuum cleaner but its an upright model...all ended in tears :smileybounce:

dofthesea
05-26-2015, 09:31 AM
Its also a good idea when bending on a metal pipe to use a metal backing strip to reduce the chance of breakage. It's all about taking you time. You can actually feel the wood bending. Typicaly Uke sides are .085 to .070 thick.

Allen
05-27-2015, 11:36 AM
Yes....make them much thinner and you'll be amazed at the results. Mine are 1.7mm thick.

Use a metal backing strip such as thin spring steel or aluminium flashing.

printer2
05-27-2015, 05:29 PM
I used a piece of muffler pipe heated with a hot air gun.

http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/pp142/printer2_photo/Guitar%20builds/Guitar%20Build%20No%205/19InchCherry000_zps0e39843c.jpg

I have not done any mahogany yet but if I have any doubts of bending a wood I will soak it over night in a solution of water and fabric softener. Let it dry before bending. Shipping Super Soft II is expensive across the border, don't know where you are but it would be worth looking into. I agree on the thinner sides. I am not sure but from the second picture I am wondering on the cut of the wood. On the end it looks like you may have some short grain to contend with. Might be wrong though, pretty new to wood.

Pete Howlett
05-28-2015, 01:38 AM
High heat required as well.

orangeena
05-28-2015, 04:59 AM
I soak the sides in boiling water and then wrap them tightly in silver foil before quickly moving to the heated bending form. It keeps the moisture in for longer making thinks more flexible.
Works for me.
Max

UkAlele
05-28-2015, 11:38 AM
Hi Pete,

How high should the temp be approx. Regards Uk-Al-lele