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Wookie
10-10-2018, 09:37 AM
Hello!

So I've dug quite a bit through this forum looking for info on bending sides, and I've done quite a bit of research on it (I've also had my own bending disasters that mirror a few that I've read about today on old posts!)

I'm looking to purchase a heat blanket to bend sides, and I'm curious what experience people have had with the Chinese ones sold on Amazon. They seem to be cheaper, though they also appear to not come with plugs. I'm assuming that's so they can be sold in various countries and you can install your correct plug depending on where you live.

I've also found some on actual American luthier websites that are quite a bit more expensive but look to be better quality. I'm not looking to turn this into a full time job here, I'm building Ukuleles as a side hobby in my shop so I really don't want to break the bank here. I know many people on this forum go for the bending iron, but again, really don't want to drop $200+ here.

Any opinions are appreciated! I've still got a lot to learn and this forum is a gold mine. I've been repairing string instruments for years, but I'm new to building instruments!

Allen
10-10-2018, 10:23 AM
I've used the blankets from Michaels Enterprises (https://www.michaelsenterprises.com/index.html) for 12 years. Custom built to any size and wattage that you like. Very well built and price was very good at the time I purchased them. Don't know how they would compare to the Chinese offerings now.

Jardin
10-11-2018, 05:12 AM
When I switched from my Fox style bender, I bought mine from Bob at Pegasus Guitars (he is Pegasus Guitars on this site)....Great Guy, Great Wood & Great Heating Blankets...I love mine!

Here is the link: http://www.pegasusguitars.com/bending-blankets.html

Highly Recommended!

Wookie
10-11-2018, 05:26 AM
Thanks for the recommendations!

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
10-11-2018, 09:23 AM
I have some Keenvo blankets (from ebay) and they seem to work well. I hand bend all my stuff now so i never use them.

Kekani
10-11-2018, 02:46 PM
I have some Keenvo blankets (from ebay) and they seem to work well. I hand bend all my stuff now so i never use them.

Just got a new iron earlier this past summer, started hand bending bindings, and now sides. Blanket and bender is taking a rest. Strange happenings. . .

saltytri
10-11-2018, 04:50 PM
Just got a new iron earlier this past summer, started hand bending bindings, and now sides. Blanket and bender is taking a rest.

Me too. No, not that kind of #MeToo. I'm enjoying hand bending more than fussing around with the bender.

I have a blanket from McMaster-Carr that has worked fine for about seven years. FWIW, I returned a Keenovo. Its integrated heat control reliably got the measured temperature to within a hundred and twenty degrees or so of the setting. :(

Timbuck
10-11-2018, 08:06 PM
I've never used heating blankets..I use a 500Watt halogen sun flood light.

Wookie
10-12-2018, 03:13 AM
I've never used heating blankets..I use a 500Watt halogen sun flood light.

Really? How does that work? I've read a few things about people using heat lamps or powerful lights to do bending but I don't get how it works. Obviously you can get the temps high enough...do you use a jig or a pipe with the light?

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
10-12-2018, 04:08 AM
In Australia, we used (for guitar sides) 6 flood lights- it took about 40 mins to bend but worked well- i never broke a side. We used to just touch the waist and if it was to hot to touch, then we started slowing bending. We always hand bend bindings, but like Aaron, now i do it all by hand.

Timbuck
10-12-2018, 05:49 AM
Really? How does that work? I've read a few things about people using heat lamps or powerful lights to do bending but I don't get how it works. Obviously you can get the temps high enough...do you use a jig or a pipe with the light?

It's just basic stuff really ..Flood light and cooker regulator and a meat thermometer,112687112688

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
10-12-2018, 06:52 AM
I used to use light bulbs in my form to bend sides but then moved to using heating blankets. The problem I saw with the light bulbs was that I was heating the form and it made more sense to me to heat the wood instead. In fact I use two heat blankets, one on either side of the wood along with the usual spring steel slats. I can also recommend Bob Gleason as a source for heat blankets. he also has an article on how he bends his sides.
http://www.pegasusguitars.com/bending-blankets.html

cathouse willy
10-12-2018, 07:09 AM
Here's a link to a youtube video on making an inexpensive bending iron. I used a small disposable propane cylinder(empty) and a 100 watt light bulb. It works well.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-py9FGKpYW0

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
10-12-2018, 09:36 AM
These bending irons look great.


wwwluthiers-bench.com/products/bending-iron?variant=39642213511

saltytri
10-12-2018, 09:45 AM
These bending irons look great.


wwwluthiers-bench.com/products/bending-iron?variant=39642213511

Here's the correct link:

https://luthiers-bench.com/products/bending-iron?variant=39642213511

That's the one I'm using. It might be a bit of a luxury but it's functionally excellent.