View Full Version : Poplar side bending

10-30-2011, 05:35 AM
We're in the process of making a soprano out of beautiful greenpoplar set that Vic sent us - thanks Vic.


So today I was going to bend the sides. They were a bit wider than we need so I took a 12 mm strip off of each side to practice with, since we've never worked with poplar at all before and.... well you never know. The pieces are 1.75 mm thick.

I wasn't sure what method would work best, whether to

bend them dry
wipe them with a damp cloth
lay a soaked cloth on the pipe
spritz them before and while bending
(soak them in warm water beforehand)

I tried in the order above but wasn't really satisfied with the results. One piece snapped while bending dry and one while bending with a damp cloth on the pipe. When they got wetter from spritzing the grain seemed to want to pull apart, so I didn't go so far as to soak them.

So can anyone recommend a method for hand bending poplar (on a hot pipe) that they got good results with?

Vic D
10-30-2011, 06:15 AM
I should have cut the width down on those, I use poplar solid linings on my poplar ukes, sorry 'bout that. Poplar likes to spring back, kinda takes getting used to. I soak them... then bend on a really hot pipe and clamp into the mold immediately to cool. You do need to move the wood around and feel, concentrate on the way it's giving to the heat. It goes rather quickly and after they've sat in the mold a while they hold their shape, by the time I've bent another set they're ready to remove and set aside. I take my time and bend a bunch in an evening doing it just that way, it's about time to do another batch.

Message me if you need another set.