View Full Version : Bending Blood Wood Binding

07-06-2017, 06:39 PM
I tried to bend some blood wood binding today. I had heard that bending blood wood was tough and research showed it has almost a 3,000 Janka rating so I was prepared, but it was a dismal failure. The stuff bent just fine on the upper and lower bouts but not in the waist where it slightly cracked. The first one I was a bit quick since I have not had a bending failure in a long time. So the next one I was prepared and I gave a lot more heat and it felt like it was gonna give but the same thing happened. Oh well, I'm gonna give up on blood wood for now. Plus I never liked it that much to begin with. Harrumph!

To those of you who can bend blood wood my hat is off to you.

07-06-2017, 06:53 PM
Sorry it turned out that way...........Ive never bent it... The most problems Ive had bending is with Mahogany........... sort of the same deal as you describe..
Got to the waist and it started to splinter..
I like the way bloodwood looks as a fretboard or a bridge... I bet it would look nice in the body too but if its that temperamental I probably wont go there. Maybe as a sound board ????.
Next build for me is a Koa tenor... Good Luck in whatever you choose to go with on your next project..

07-06-2017, 09:21 PM
On all my bending I start at the waist..if it don't bend there there is no point wasting time on the bouts. ;)

07-07-2017, 10:21 AM
I have a stack of it, and I think I'll have to use it for inlay in boxes. There is no way I can get it to bend at all.

07-07-2017, 06:40 PM
On all my bending I start at the waist..if it don't bend there there is no point wasting time on the bouts. ;)

Good advice. The upper and lower bouts bend was a beautiful perfect curve. Waist? Not so much. The heck with blood wood. Never liked the look anyway. Now cocobolo I can bend in my sleep. Looks better too. For awhile anyway...

07-09-2017, 03:15 AM
I've made blood wood bindings from a board and used the StewMac purfled stuff. It looks beautiful to my eye and I can't remember ever breaking any in a modified Fox bender. The StewMac binding is something like .090" thick, and I always thin it to .065-.070".

07-09-2017, 03:51 AM
I've had some that bends easy and some the just splinters and breaks. With the tough ones, I've tried cutting them flat sawn and quartersawn and they always broke. I agree with John that they never break while bending in the Fox bender, but I still will bend six when I only need four. Try using a spring steel backing when you're bending on a pipe. It helps me a lot on the really tight bends like this.

07-09-2017, 10:22 AM
I'm glad to hear that it is not just me. I'll try it on the bender next time.

Michael N.
07-09-2017, 09:57 PM
A few years ago I stole an idea from the bending machine users. That is to wrap difficult binding in foil, you can also back it with spring steel as previously mentioned. The foil helps to retain the heat and prevent the moisture from being driven off. Once the moisture is driven off the wood becomes extremely brittle. Just be careful with hands because the foil gets mighty hot. I don't normally use this technique on sides but I have tried it on maple. It bends so easily that it starts to feel like rubber and you can get some pretty severe bends in relatively thick material. The downside is that the wood doesn't lock into shape as quickly, so you are left holding it in position until it cools.

Kevin Waldron
07-10-2017, 10:24 AM
Veneer Softener...........http://www.veneersupplies.com/products/Super-Soft-2-Veneer-Softener-Conditioner.html............ Got problem woods.......... almost always solves the problem.......you will need to use sides relatively soon after using to maintain bend........ fabric softener will also work but it takes some playing with to determine mixture.....

Aluminum Foil is very effective in bending just make sure you don't have a species that will react with Aluminum......

Double heat will lock the bend..... if you are using a bending machine........ mean by this ..........heat let cool and then reheat for approximately 2/3 the original heat then allow to cool in form ..........bend will stay after this.


07-10-2017, 05:01 PM
Thanks Kevin. Most of those things I use... Never had a problem with aluminum foil reacting to the wood and what does is superficial and sands out... I think the key to success with blood wood is thinning down from the 90+ mil down to a more reasonable 75+ or so. Bloodwood I think is just too brittle to bend at 90+. (That is 2.3 mm for the metrically challenged out there). Anyway, I'm cutting my losses and going back to cocobolo for red.

Michael N.
07-13-2017, 10:20 PM
I bent some Yew that turned out to have some strange dark/light lines that go across the ribs. I didn't really notice them until it came to finishing. I thought that scraping would remove them, it didn't and of course the varnish only highlights them. They aren't due to excessive heat or the crushing of wood fibres. I can only think that it was some kind of reaction with my aluminium bending iron. It's probably not all that surprising. We know woods that are rich in tannin react to iron, oak and walnut can be turned black with the reaction.