Round Wood Table. Steambending the Edge. Part 5

Early on in the table process, we set up and steam bent all the inner and outer edge bands. This was done to give the pieces an adequate time to dry after the bending process. Some years ago, I did much reading and study on the process of steam bending and built a setup as outlined by Michael C. Fortune in Issue # 30 of Fine Woodworking Magazine, “Fixtures for Steambending”.   He recommends a turkey boiler for generating steam but I did not want to have a gas flame going inside my wood building.  I found a used 220V commercial hotplate on EBay which works great.

The bending table and fixtures are close at hand to the steam box. With this table and fixture setup it is easy to move the bending forms around and securely fasten them to the table.  I made a guess on the amount of spring back to allow for when I laid out the radius for the bending form. After a trial bend, I decreased the radius to minimize the amount of tension when gluing the piece to the table edge.

After steaming for approximately an hour, a piece was bent and clamped around the form and allowed to cool for about 15 minutes. It was then removed from the form and held to the measured length with a bar clamp.  All the pieces  were bent and then set aside for a couple of weeks to dry thoroughly while we worked on other parts of the table. We made a few extra pieces as I had picked an interesting board of walnut for the edge band and we had some minor kinking problems in the bend.  Some of this can be dealt with in the fitting, which I will discuss in a further post.

From my experience on the outer edge, I laid out and cut the form for the inner edge band.  In the end though, these pieces continued to bend as they dried and were over bent. This turned out to not be a problem as it was very easy to clamp them in place.  The outer edge band was ¾” thick and the inner was ½” thick.

The next post will cover doing the inlays dividing the sections prior to cutting and fitting the edge banding.


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