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Thread: Bending Sides - Steam Box or Bending Iron

  1. #1
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    Default Bending Sides - Steam Box or Bending Iron

    My only experience bending sides for a uke is with making a uke based on a tennis racket, and that was one smooth curve. A regular uke is more complex. For the tennis uke, I used a pipe heated by a torch - not very elegant.

    I saw the Earlex steamer online, and that looks good. The traditional bending iron, at about $250, isn't worth it for making one or two ukes, so it would be back to the torch and the pipe.

    I also bought an electric charcoal charger, based on recommendations here, but I'd have to find a larger pipe. I realize that I'll have to build a form, too.

    Speaking of the Earlex, prices range from $40 on eBay to $80 elsewhere. I'm leery of the one on eBay for $40.

    So, if you have any ideas, I'd be glad to hear them.

    EDIT: I just checked, and that eBay seller has only three Feedbacks, all negative.
    Last edited by Jerryc41; 05-26-2021 at 12:41 AM.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

  2. #2
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    I don’t use a steam box, but you can get an Earlex at Lee Valley tools.
    https://www.leevalley.com

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by AstroEd42 View Post
    I don’t use a steam box, but you can get an Earlex at Lee Valley tools.
    https://www.leevalley.com
    Thanks for that.

    EDIT: Their steamer is $95, but they offer free plans for a steam box. However, I have to give them CC info to get the free plans. I don't think I will.
    Last edited by Jerryc41; 05-26-2021 at 01:53 AM.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

  4. #4
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    Making steam is not Rocket science...I use a foxy bender but I wet the wood first so I make steam ,if I wrap the wet wood in foil first then I am making pressurised steam.
    Most wood contains moisture anyway.
    http://ukulele-innovation.tripod.com ebay i/d squarepeg_3000 Email timmsken@hotmail.com

    If you can believe that moving images and sound, can fly through empty space across the universe and be seen and heard on a box in your living room ?.. then you can believe in anything.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timbuck View Post
    Making steam is not Rocket science...I use a foxy bender but I wet the wood first so I make steam ,if I wrap the wet wood in foil first then I am making pressurised steam.
    Most wood contains moisture anyway.
    Thanks. Didn't early rockets use steam?
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerryc41 View Post
    Thanks. Didn't early rockets use steam?
    Yes! That’s right.
    3DC85F68-578B-4F10-98A9-95AEA177EAA5.jpg
    http://ukulele-innovation.tripod.com ebay i/d squarepeg_3000 Email timmsken@hotmail.com

    If you can believe that moving images and sound, can fly through empty space across the universe and be seen and heard on a box in your living room ?.. then you can believe in anything.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timbuck View Post
    I thought so.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

  8. #8
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    I'm still thinking. I can use a torch with my 2" pipe, or I can use the Earlex steamer for $70. I looked at heating strips, and they begin at about $100. Compare that with a full-size heating blanket for a bed at $40. The pipe I have has too small a diameter for the charcoal starter.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerryc41 View Post
    I'm still thinking. I can use a torch with my 2" pipe, or I can use the Earlex steamer for $70. I looked at heating strips, and they begin at about $100. Compare that with a full-size heating blanket for a bed at $40. The pipe I have has too small a diameter for the charcoal starter.
    A lot of us start out on a pipe with a light bulb stuck inside to heat it. I put a 75 watt halogen in mine and it almost gets too hot. The halogen is smaller than a traditional incandescent, so you can get a hot bulb in a small tube. My pipe is aluminum and I got someone to weld the end shut and put a mounting flange on it that I can clamp it to the work bench without fear of setting it on fire. And you can bend the charcoal starter, but only so much.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Clara View Post
    A lot of us start out on a pipe with a light bulb stuck inside to heat it. I put a 75 watt halogen in mine and it almost gets too hot. The halogen is smaller than a traditional incandescent, so you can get a hot bulb in a small tube. My pipe is aluminum and I got someone to weld the end shut and put a mounting flange on it that I can clamp it to the work bench without fear of setting it on fire. And you can bend the charcoal starter, but only so much.
    Thanks. If I had a pipe with a larger diameter, I could bend the charcoal lighter, but I don't feel like going into town and looking for a 3" pipe. I like the idea of the Earlex steamer, but $70? I might use it for two ukes.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

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