Bending Wood

Notes and tips on techniques to use when bending wood with a bending iron.

Bending is tricky. With most woods, soak for an hour or so before bendingThin plates of wood (2-3mm) do not usually need soaking, just water applied to the bent area. Let the iron heat up until water dripped on it bounces off away. Replenish a lot whatever wood you are using during bending.

Do not push too hard! Rock the area to be bent back and forth on the iron, whilst applying gentle pressure. Soon it you will feel it ‘go’, you can then take the bend up a bit further into the required shape. With ebony bindings, keep applying water to the areas that are being bent – apply whenever the heat has evaporated the moisture right through the wood. Keep the wood straight or it will twist. Once bent, take off the iron and hold in the shape whilst the wood sets in place.

Always apply heat to more wood than you’re bending, and keep an eye on where your bends are in relation to where they should be. If ebony bindings crack, do not worry – they can often be glued on as is.