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Thread: Bending iron temperature?

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sawdust View Post
    Isn't that a little thin for a tenor ukulele? The sides on the Stewmac site are 2.38mm ( 3/32" )
    I could not find that spec on the Stewmac site. Please send a link... I've built a couple of Stewmac kits and my notes show the sides were around 0.065 (3/32 is almost a tenth of an inch or 0.1"). That is just too thick in my opinion. Plus who really cares how thick the sides are? They are the sides and not really acoustically active. I'm not saying you can't bend 0.1 thick wood, but why make it tougher on yourself than you have too?

  2. #12

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    I do most of my bending with a blanket and slats. I run my iron for touchup and bending headstock binding etc at around 400 F. Yes thats pretty hot and will scorch if you leave it one place too long but I find at that higher temp I can get my work done more quickly and don't scorch as long as I keep the wood moving.
    Michael Smith
    Goat Rock Ukulele
    www.goatrockukulele.com

  3. #13
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Cairns, Australia
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    No wonder you are scorching timber. Way too thick for sides on a uke. Mine are never more than 1.8mm.
    Last edited by Allen; 12-22-2019 at 07:21 PM.

  4. #14
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    May 2010
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    London, UK
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    Mine's about 200-300C, but it has no temperature gauge on it so difficult to know for sure. The way to test if it's up to temperature is to drop little drops of water (from the water you're soaking the wood to be bent in) and see what happens. When the drops dance and don't settle before evaporating, you're there and ready to bend.

    Also, as others have said above, 2.5mm is too thick. My ribs are 1.5 - 2mm depending on the instrument.
    Last edited by Dusepo; 12-23-2019 at 12:57 AM.
    I am a luthier specialising in historical and world stringed instruments. You can see more info at my website.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Location
    Southern Ohio
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    91

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    Quote Originally Posted by sequoia View Post
    I could not find that spec on the Stewmac site. Please send a link... I've built a couple of Stewmac kits and my notes show the sides were around 0.065 (3/32 is almost a tenth of an inch or 0.1"). That is just too thick in my opinion. Plus who really cares how thick the sides are? They are the sides and not really acoustically active. I'm not saying you can't bend 0.1 thick wood, but why make it tougher on yourself than you have too?
    https://www.stewmac.com/Materials_an...r_Ukulele.html

    https://www.stewmac.com/Materials_an.../Ukulele_Wood/
    Last edited by Sawdust; 12-23-2019 at 03:58 AM.

  6. #16
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    Oct 2014
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    Thanks for the links... Mystery solved. Backs, sides and top plates always come too thick and have to be sanded down to final thickness prior to use. It says, "thickness sanded" but that does not mean "final thickness" sanded. I have never purchased sides and top or back plates that were "final" thickness sanded to proper thickness. That part is up to the builder and thus the brisk trade in drum sanders and such. I once got some koa that was close to a 1/4 inch. Plates usually come in around 0.140 or more. Top plates of spruce can be purchased thickness sanded to about 0.125 which allows the builder to rout in a rosette before taking it down to final thickness.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Big Island, Hawaii
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    If you are using a horizontal pipe, try laying a wet rag over it while you’re bending. Of course it’s imperative that you you keep spraying the rag to keep it from drying out. I do 95% of my bending with blankets but for the occasional stubborn spot that’s what I do. I’m also a believer in making my sides as stiff as I can without using splints so I bend at 0.090” for most woods which seems to be a comfortable maximum thickness for me.
    Last edited by Moore Bettah Ukuleles; 12-23-2019 at 04:30 PM.
    Chuck Moore
    Moore Bettah Ukuleles
    http://www.moorebettahukes.com

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Australia.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moore Bettah Ukuleles View Post
    …. so I bend at 0.90” for most woods which seems to be a comfortable maximum thickness for me.
    Chuck,
    I'm always in awe of your beautiful work …. but for this I want to see photos :-)

  9. #19
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    Feb 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by bazuku View Post
    Chuck,
    I'm always in awe of your beautiful work …. but for this I want to see photos :-)
    Oh man, you’re right! 0.090”. What a difference a decimal point makes!
    Chuck Moore
    Moore Bettah Ukuleles
    http://www.moorebettahukes.com

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Bellingham, Washington
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    108

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    I have quit using my bending machine and heat blanket and find better success with a iron pipe with a commercial soldering iron inside. it gets to 260 max. I wet wood and bend under a stainless sheet. I find I have better control when feeling the bend, used to break sides fairly often with the machine. Hot pipe bending solved that problem. I sand the wood to .o80

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