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RawrGazzawrs
10-12-2013, 03:05 AM
What is the easiest way to bend the sides for an ukulele?

jcalkin
10-12-2013, 03:31 AM
The easiest way is to have someone bend them for you.

Sorry. The easiest way is to use a bending form and a heat blanket. There's plenty of UU archived material and YouTube stuff about this. You should do some research and come back with more specific questions.

Timbuck
10-12-2013, 04:14 AM
It also depends on the material you want to bend..I've had Maple that bent cold like plastic with no problems ...I made a laminated 8" banjo uke pot with it.

RawrGazzawrs
10-12-2013, 05:23 AM
It also depends on the material you want to bend..I've had Maple that bent cold like plastic with no problems ...I made a laminated 8" banjo uke pot with it.

I'm making my body out of koa. Grade A if that means anything.

Chris_H
10-12-2013, 06:17 AM
might want to have lots of Koa on hand as there might be a steep learning curve.. If it is curly, depending on the curl, there is a high likelihood of breakage unless you know what you are doing. The sound of an expensive piece of Koa breaking is not fun. Practice on some other woods. I broke plenty when I first was learning about bending curly Koa, had to ask for help. I was using a bending machine, one side at a time, consistently breaking them. This was after not having any problems with other woods.

RawrGazzawrs
10-12-2013, 08:23 AM
might want to have lots of Koa on hand as there might be a steep learning curve.. If it is curly, depending on the curl, there is a high likelihood of breakage unless you know what you are doing. The sound of an expensive piece of Koa breaking is not fun. Practice on some other woods. I broke plenty when I first was learning about bending curly Koa, had to ask for help. I was using a bending machine, one side at a time, consistently breaking them. This was after not having any problems with other woods.

What could you suggest would be easier to bend?

Chris_H
10-12-2013, 08:45 AM
In my limited experience, some Koa bends easily. You said Grade A.. that doesn't say much.. is that Grade A out of 5A? The exact 'flavor' of the wood will be the determining factor in how it bends. 2 types of Koa I have made sides from, both being very curly.. one of them bent easily, even with a lack of knowledge on bending. The other broke almost every time until I learned a little more about how to bend. I transformed some gorgeous Koa into firewood, very sad. At this point I consider it part of the price paid to learn.


Plain Koa bends pretty easily

hawaii 50
10-12-2013, 09:36 AM
go to
www.hanalima.com

and order their book on how to build a uke...it has every step you need and maybe get their blueprint too...

RawrGazzawrs
10-12-2013, 01:26 PM
I've read you can also just soak it by submerging it in water overnight and then bend it, is that doable for most woods? I can't really find much on that method so i'm not sure how safe it'd be to try.

vanflynn
10-12-2013, 05:41 PM
RG - I'm not trying to high jack but augment the post.

If you don't want to invest in a heat blanket, is the Fox bender with a bulb heat source http://www.hanalima.com/tooltips_bendingjig.shtml easier than using a bending iron https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=bending%20iron%20ukulele&source=video&cd=1&ved=0CD8QtwIwAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DFWI NwX8_frc&ei=wxdaUsTPHYKRygHCuYGgCw&usg=AFQjCNHoqzgCE2fLCkqUwCbmhbkVeowKxQ&bvm=bv.53899372,d.aWc. ?

dofthesea
10-12-2013, 06:41 PM
I second the Hana Lima IA book. Very informative for a first time builder. http://www.hanalimastore.com/servlet/the-62/Hana-Lima-%27Ia-%27Ukulele/Detail

Not to mention that Mike Chock has contributed quite a bit to the Luthier world over the years.

JelC50
10-24-2013, 02:21 PM
I looked around for all side bending alternatives, and being a hobbyist builder, just wouldn't spring for a Fox bender, heat blanket, etc. Searching around, I found a youtube video of a guy bending with a piece of galvanized pipe (I'm actually using thin walled metal conduit) held in a vise and heating the pipe with a small propane torch. I played around with some scrap maple, walnut and purple heart I had laying around my shop, and I have gotten decent at getting the wood to bend without breaking. I soak my wood about 15 minutes and bend slowly and carefully, never forcing the bend until I feel the wood beginning to give on it's own. I have pipe in several diameters. Only problem is regulating the temperature of the pipe, so I have to be careful about scorching the wood. I sometimes put a wet cloth between the wood and the pipe to prevent the wood from scorching, plus the moisture puts some steam into the wood. Already had the torch and spent about $5 for the various diameters of pipe. Turned out to be a very cheap alternative and it works for me.

Daan Muller
10-25-2013, 01:08 AM
RG - I'm not trying to high jack but augment the post.

If you don't want to invest in a heat blanket, is the Fox bender with a bulb heat source http://www.hanalima.com/tooltips_bendingjig.shtml easier than using a bending iron https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=bending%20iron%20ukulele&source=video&cd=1&ved=0CD8QtwIwAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DFWI NwX8_frc&ei=wxdaUsTPHYKRygHCuYGgCw&usg=AFQjCNHoqzgCE2fLCkqUwCbmhbkVeowKxQ&bvm=bv.53899372,d.aWc. ?

I build a simple bender with 2 100 watt lightbulbs. Works like a treat so far. I was expecting to screw up a lot of sides in the beginning but it worked great the first time round with rosewood sides. Mahogany I screwed up the first set, they need a bit more time than rosewood, second set no problems.

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ksquine
10-25-2013, 07:52 AM
Koa isn't hard to bend....of course you can find examples of any wood that just won't cooperate.
I'd say just get a simple hot pipe. Its much cheaper and flexible for the hobby builder than all the work required to make a bending form. Here's a photo of my set up....cost about $20 with the heat gun and I can make one-off body shapes with no set up. I was amazed how easy it was to learn to use a pipe. Maybe get some maple or walnut scraps to practice with before you try the koa

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afreiki
10-25-2013, 12:49 PM
I use a large barrel curling Iron in my vice. Constant and consistent temp controlled by a dial. I soak first and spray frequently. The biggest thing is patience - wait until the wood bends willingly. Costs $29 or less at any drug store/ -mart/Target, etc. If I was sure I would not use it again for my hair I would just remove the clamp, but for now I just put it clamp down and use the other side.
Anne Flynn.

shaberd
10-26-2013, 10:38 AM
Koa isn't hard to bend....of course you can find examples of any wood that just won't cooperate.
I'd say just get a simple hot pipe. Its much cheaper and flexible for the hobby builder than all the work required to make a bending form. Here's a photo of my set up....cost about $20 with the heat gun and I can make one-off body shapes with no set up. I was amazed how easy it was to learn to use a pipe.

Can you tell more about your setup and how you use it? Temperature and how long, etc. Is heat gun permanently connected or comes out. Is there a whole in end of board holding the pipe? Any suggestions? I happen to have the same heat gun and am looking to try bending sometime but not sure where to start.