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First post... Fox Bender ? (Read 3039 times)
redyak
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First post... Fox Bender ?
Apr 2nd, 2006 at 1:08pm
 
Aloha,
I just bought the quilted mahog set from here to build my first uke for my wife. I have a fox type bender/heating blanket setup for guitar work and was wondering if anyone uses that setup? Probably have to modify the bender to accept the smaller form (tenor uke). Thanks for any suggestions and insight.

redyak
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Hana Lima Ia
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Re: First post... Fox Bender ?
Reply #1 - Apr 3rd, 2006 at 9:05am
 
Hi Redyak,
Glad you made it to the forum.  No reason not to use the Fox bender.  The uke form will be quite a bit smaller. If the rest of the Fox bender doesn't get in the way, go for it!
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Ukeman
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Re: First post... Fox Bender ?
Reply #2 - May 16th, 2006 at 3:12pm
 
Hello All: A comment on the fortunate folks with the Fox Bender....Hey no problem bending with the Fox bender any kine ukulele sizes...and even better with a heat blanket in lieu of light bulbs as a heat source. My first attempt at bending in our 'ukulele making classes in the mid nineties was done by 4 minature Fox Benders. I downsized the Fox Bender so that seperate baritone, tenor and concert molds would fit right nice under the waist bar of the Mini Fox Benders...so just like its Daddy the mini benders worked the same way. My sandwich sheets were thin guage aluminum and easily bent the required uke side sizes. The Fox Bender is such an ingenious device no need to fix what aint broke and merely modified it to my needs. So for those of you who have one...you are already well on your way...ya just need new frame  moulds sized to the 'ukulele....laters ukeman
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Bob Uke-er
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Re: First post... Fox Bender ?
Reply #3 - Jun 1st, 2006 at 3:12am
 
Hi all,
Just a few thoughts on variations of the Fox bender. I had no luck finding one so I built a baby version. Just a simple open-top box of 3/4 plywood, lined with aluminum foil tape with two 200 watt bulbs wired in parallel. Over this box sits a second box made of 3/4 plywood, also lined with foil tape. The bottom of this box is open and the sides are cut to match the uke sides. The top has a 4 1/2 inch wide strip of copper that I cut from a 12" X 16" sheet I bought at a hobby store for ten bucks (enough copper for two benders). I read somewhere that copper is an excellent conductor of heat. I used copper nails to fasten the strip down (to minimize dissimilar metal corrosion). The top box fits real neat into the bottom onto a 1/4 inch shelf inside the lower box. I made several tops, one for each size and style uke I'm making. Each fits into the base for a mix & match kinda set-up.

This thing gets HOT! Water sprayed onto the copper dances and sizzles after only maybe 5 minutes of heating. I place my sides over the bender, put a second copper strip over the wood and use a threaded eye-bolt/wing nut/wood caul set-up similar to the Fox to slowly bend the wood to shape. The heat from the bulbs, liberal sprays of distilled water, a bit of time and the wood just kinda slowly melts to the shape. Done several ukes now and never cracked, split or burned one yet. All for maybe 25 bucks total expense.

A few safety items:
- Make sure the thing is plugged into a GFCI outlet. I'm no electrician but I don't think that water, electricity and humans are a good mix
- Wear gloves. Like I said, this thing gets HOT! Hard to strum with burned fingers...
- Line all exposed wood on the inside of the thing with foil. It'll focus the heat up to the copper and keep the wood from charring
- Clamp the thing down to your bench securely

Oh yeah, there's nothing like the smell of koa slowly cookin' on hot copper....

                                Later,
                                        Uker   8)
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Hana Lima Ia
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Re: First post... Fox Bender ?
Reply #4 - Jun 5th, 2006 at 8:05am
 
Sounds like a winner to me Bob!  The use of copper and foil is a very good point (also have to agree with not mixing water and electricity).  Something that doesn't conduct heat as well might leave you with hot spots directly over the bulbs and cool areas in other places.  If it's hot enough to steam, then it's good to go.  Keep on bendin'!
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Murray
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Re: First post... Fox Bender ?
Reply #5 - Jun 17th, 2006 at 6:25pm
 
???    I'm having problems and could use some help.  I'm working on my second Kasha Concert Uke.  I'm making this one out of curley koa and can't manage to bend the sides without them splitting.  I've had this happen with two sets of sides.  I'm using a heat blanket and got the temp up over 200 degrees.  I'm not using strips of aluminum or copper to sandwich the sides.  Would this help?  I'd like to salvage one of these sets of sides if possible.  If I use parts from one set to brace the splits in the other set, will this change the sound?
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Ukeman
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Re: First post... Fox Bender ?
Reply #6 - Jun 18th, 2006 at 4:46pm
 
aloha murray,

maybe this will help you get those cincert sides bent without incident.

foremost: check to see if your sides are too thick! stay within the .065 range and you should be ok.

yes, if you are bending sides over heat blanket then an additional thin aluminum compression sheet will help keep the elongating fibers from splitting..the inside fibers will compress.

start with waist then either head or tail bouts.

spray water on sides to get your steam generated ala the heat blanket.

go slow but not super slow each bending point, waist, head and tail bout will only take a few minutes to  bend.

after you are bent...spray water and let the whole side cook for a bit.....pill plug and let cool...spray once more, insert plug cook a few minutes and unplug and let cool..

side now is ready to insert into your form mold..place in cut to fit and bend other side....same process....leave in mould overnight       laters ukeman
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Murray
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Re: First post... Fox Bender ?
Reply #7 - Jun 18th, 2006 at 5:43pm
 
Mahalo Ukeman!

I had these sides at .080, a little too thick.  An expensive lesson!  I'll get aluminum strips for bending sides on the next uke.  I'm going to epoxy pieces from one set behind the splits in the other, to try to salvage them.  I'm going to try my hand at putting binding on this one also.  If I screw that up as well, I won't feel as bad.
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Ukeman
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Re: First post... Fox Bender ?
Reply #8 - Jun 20th, 2006 at 8:06am
 
aloha Murray...good idea to try and salvage your first set of curly koa gold!!!   Nothing but a shot at saving a precious commodity and learning something in the process...mayhaps after clamping and epoxying the fractured sides (don't forget the use of wax paper between cauls) you can thickness sand and give the rebending another shot!!

You can flatten out the sides by spraying water, heat blanket over and a 1x 6 as a caul and slowly clamp flat...once flat unplug blanket but leave under flat caul overnight....anyhow  good luck   laters ukeman
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