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Side bender?? (Read 11570 times)
pahdawg
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Side bender??
Jul 23rd, 2003 at 11:07pm
 
Hello,
I'm new to this site as well as uke building. I'm currently finishing up my second guitar. I bend my sides using a Fox type bender I made from plans bought at LMI with a heating blanket. I was wondering if anyone here has modified a "full size" Fox bender to accept a uke size bending form, and still be capable of bending guitar sides?

Thanks,
Al
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achock
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Re: Side bender??
Reply #1 - Jul 26th, 2003 at 9:56am
 
Hiya Pahdawg, 
Good question, thanks for posting it.  We do have the same Fox bender here in the Hana Lima 'Ia shop.  And it has been modified to bend regular Uke sides.  I think there was no problem with that, but I'm not sure about still being able to bend guitar sized pieces.

I'll have to defer you to Ukeman.  Have patience, he will check in sometime soon.....

-asa
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Ukeman
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Re: Side bender??
Reply #2 - Jul 31st, 2003 at 5:29pm
 
aloha al...ok...a true universal fox bender eh!...You can down size a fox bender and use 2 light bulb sources at 350 watts per in lieu of the 3 bulbs ala fox...the set-up is the same with the springs, aluminum waist bar and veneer press waist clamping unit....ah  but a universal to bend guitar sides as well would be a bit of a problem in locating the light bulbs as a heating source....we cheated a bit and now use a heat blanket...welcome to the new world of technology...thus with heat blanket you could use the same fox style guitar bender and merely make a few slide in forms for your uke shapes making sure that the waist lines up in the same place as the guitar frames do...you may have to modify the frame of the fox bender so that the smaller uke frames will fit into the  current guitar bending frame ( you might have to install interior ledgers on both sides of the bender frame). Check out the hana lima.com website and make a bending unit like its shown ...just as fast as making a fox frame and now with a space age new heat blanket making various frames is a snap......hope this all makes sense...laters  ukeman
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Hana Lima Ia
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Re: Side bender??
Reply #3 - Aug 3rd, 2003 at 9:06am
 
Thanks for the info Ukeman.  Click this link to view our instructions on how to build a sidebending jig:

http://www.hanalima.com/tooltips_bendingjig.shtml

Please post any questions or comments here!

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Ukeman
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Re: Side bender??
Reply #4 - Aug 27th, 2003 at 6:09pm
 
Aloha bending form guys! Just finished a bending form for a cutaway baritone ukulele. Now I can proceed with this uke and hopefully have it ready for the November Exhibition....working on the soundboard inlay this week!

The side bender is illustrated in the Hanalima.com tool tip section...Simply remember that the bender starts with the uke shape ergo a template of theuke is mandatory. Your sides will simply be the half shape of the uke with an additional 6 or more inches for the side heights....the width is the length of the uke template.

Check out the site and no scared try em out...its a fairly simple bending jig....laters ukeman
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Ukeman
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Re: Side bender??
Reply #5 - Oct 15th, 2003 at 12:04pm
 
aloha people...hey..just am in the throes of side bending for two tenors and 2 baritones..the baritones are cutaways and the sides being selected is deep curly koa kine stuff....so  adventures in tight bending radii huh!

Flash...finally got off my duff and experimented with blanket bending using an outer sheet of thin sheetmetal to :
1. Retain heat from heat blanket below side material
2. Compress grain from expansion and blowing out as she stretches.

Results:   Super nice bends and realitively painless.
Will now make a new bender using these principles and have it ready for the November Convention Seminars....
Come to the Convention and check it out!....ok I will have it ready...no worry!......laters  ukeman
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Ukeman
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Re: Side bender??
Reply #6 - Oct 17th, 2003 at 11:00am
 
Update on Side Bender with Compression sheet:

Overall results: very promising....worth making modifications and using this technique:

comments: Sheet metal outer sheet really holds and retains heat..the balnket does not have to be left on constantly....after bends are made..shut off and it will retain heat forabout 1/2 hour easily. Plenty heat...no burning, very little spring back.

Bends like a son of a bitch and really quickly so one must slow down a bit and take your time on the bend.

Results:  koa   highly curled bent with no problem as long as you resisted the temptation to bend quickly..this method bent 2 baritone cutaways with little damage and less heartache than any other bending method i've tried.

summary.....worth experimenting with and using for you bending needs with heat blanket......laters   ukeman
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hapakid
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Re: Side bender??
Reply #7 - Dec 7th, 2003 at 9:02pm
 
Hi guys,
Some thoughts:
I just bent my first set of sides today, and used the hot pipe method. It's easier to do, and harder to do well, than you think it will be. After reading "Guitarmaking: Tradition and Technology", I went out and bought a piece of 2" iron threaded pipe with an end cap (about $7 at Home Depot) and clamped it in a vise which I set up outdoors for fire safety on some sawhorses. Then I stuck a plumbers torch in the back, with the flame barely inside the pipe, and started bending the mahogany sides.
The wood really moves in your hand! It's fun! You'll need a spray bottle to rewet the wood because every spot that touches the wood is immediately dry and must be wetted before getting it near the pipe.
Next time I do it, I'm going to get a smaller pipe, and possibly a bigger pipe and have them all ready to go. The 2" pipe was too fat for the tight bend at the waist on a tenor uke, and it was almost too small to get the gentle bend of the lower bout.  Finding a 3" iron pipe is hard, though, and I'm still looking.
One tip I learned was that you have to hold the bend to let it cool for a much longer time than it took to make the actual bend. The wood will start to move just 10-30 seconds after it hits the heat, but you'll need to hold it in the bend for up to minute or more while it sets.
I also made the mold that Denis Gilbert recommends, and stuck the bent side into it right after bending it. That forces the still wet/warm wood into the exact shape needed.
Don't be afraid to try. Works great. Jesse Tinsley
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achock
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Re: Side bender??
Reply #8 - Dec 8th, 2003 at 12:52pm
 
Hey Hapakid,
Right on, I think you have the best mind-set... No scared try um!  The pipe bender gives you the most freedom, but you have to be better at controlling the bend.  Hehe but I agree, that is part of the fun. 

Even if you have a bending form, the pipe bender is still very handy for touch-ups.
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Re: Side bender??
Reply #9 - Dec 9th, 2003 at 8:09am
 
Yeah, hand bending on a hot pipe is good for those of us who are impatient and don't want to wait days for the other benders to work.  And my first uke is kind of asymmetrical, but you can fix some of that with touchups and lots of clamps during glue-up.
I've heard different things about how long to soak wood before bending. I've heard to do it overnight, two hours, and 15 minutes in hot water. What's recommended for mahogany?
Mahalo for hosting this forum!
Jesse Tinsley
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Jon Y
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Re: Side bender??
Reply #10 - Dec 9th, 2003 at 4:13pm
 
Hey Jess
I have read the same, overnight, 15 min., all kinds of stuff.. sounds like you are as impatient as I am Smiley.  I have bent  a few sides with the hot pipe method and really like it (cause I am super cheap and I had a pipe and a torch already). I find that I am able to bend mahogany almost immediately after soaking with a spray bottle ... well maybe not immediately but within a few minutes after wetting( I wet the wood fire up the torch and as soon as the pipe is hot enough bend away). The trick I find is the amount of heat  you use... too hot and the water just evaporates and you burn your wood  too cold and hum de dum dum takes forever. The right amount of heat will cause the water to sizzle and transmitt the steam through the wood causing it to bend and you may need to spritz the wood while bending also... it's the steaming action you want. When you get the right heat the wood will set really fast and there will be no need for the mold to hold it in shape. I have done this with a few other types of wood and it seems to work well. Hope This helps.
Jon Y
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Dave
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Re: Side bender??
Reply #11 - Dec 28th, 2003 at 6:30pm
 
Undecided  I just finished my first Uke.  I used Gilberts book as a guide and used the hot pipe method for the sides.  I am a woodworker from the furniture world and was wondering why not just steam the wood?  Does it affect the accoustic properties of the wood?  Cheers
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hapakid
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Re: Side bender??
Reply #12 - Dec 28th, 2003 at 6:56pm
 
I just finished my first uke and I agree that steaming is the easiest way to bend the sides.  I even used the plug/mold form that Denis Gilbert suggests to hold the sides after bending on the hot pipe. But even after using the form, the side were not symmetrical, and I could see the practicality of the Fox bender, where every piece of wood bent is identical to the last one.
On the other hand, I like the asymmetrical look and I'm going to use it on my next uke!
Jesse Tinsley
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Jon Y
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Re: Side bender??
Reply #13 - Jan 29th, 2004 at 7:54pm
 
here is the Stew Mac info sheet on bending sides it is too large to post.. I tried so you gotta go to the page here's the url   http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Special_tools_for:_Bending_sides/1/Bending_Iro...

It's quite informative and has all the plugs for their product but still very good! Roll Eyes
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Ukeman
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Re: Side bender??
Reply #14 - Feb 12th, 2004 at 1:40pm
 
Aloha all!

Hana Lima 'Ia just finished two  classes of first time side bending. The sets we are using are some unreal partially guilted honduran mahogany and some wild dense figured mahongany as well. Not the easiest woods to bend for anyone not to mention your first bending attempt.

Hana Lima 'Ia uses a half shaped form bender that Asa posted on the Tool Tip section of our website.We use our heat blanket that puts out 4 watts a square inch, some blankets put out 2 watts a square inch so on a blanket about 5" x 30" you'll get 600 watts of heat or 300 watts dependent on the blanket specs.
The blanket is placed on the form and heated.
The piece to be bent is sprayed with water on both side surfaces, and its edges.We place the side piece on the blanket indexing the waist with the waist of the bending form, and align for straightness.
Hana Lima, for the first time, used an aluminum perforated sheetmetal 5" x 32" long that has a piece of 1" net x 2" x 5" block of wood fastened to both ends of the aluminum strap.
Start your waist bend and bend until waist caul is seated with actual waist area of the bender. Now we have cinched the waist area of the side between the blanket and the aluminum strap piece.
We now bend the lower bout area by pulling on the handle of the aluminum strap, which compresses the side piece being bent right nicely against the heated blanket. We use a scrap flat hardwood piece to work our bend from waist to end of lower bout all the while applying downward and rearward pressure on the side by pulling on the strap handle and compressing the bejesus on the sides...bends so easily you have to concentrate not to bend it too fast. A minute to bend the lower bout seems like an eternity cuz it wants to bend so quickly with the compression strap.
Repeat the same on the upper bout...really concentrating on moving slowly and use at least a minute of actual bending time.Watch the clock or you will bend too fast!
Leave the blanket on for 2 or 3 minutes, then spray the sides through the perforations on the aluminum strap and let heat for a few more minutes.You could turn the blanket off and walk away since the aluminum strap really reatains the heat.The 13 people in the classes were all successful in bending their sides without any problems, breakage or heartache...yup still stress and trauma thickened the air, but all were smiling in the end.
I got the aluminum piece via Tom Becraft, a wood teacher out of Hawaii Mission Academy and a furniture maker as well, the piece was purchased as a screen panel replacement for an aluminum screen door, so Tom brought this leftover piece which I cut with a pair of tin snips...so thin and flexible that think i could cut it with a pair of scissors.Mahalo Tom...yup, adding the wooden end handles is the key!
Good bending     ukeman

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