bending wood - help

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by oddboatout, Sep 20, 2014.

  1. oddboatout
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Nor Cal

    oddboatout Junior Member

    I am building a pointy skiff - instant boats - and am trying to bend a piece of wood approximately 1 by 2 around to make the gunwale. I have cut my own from a larger piece of wood, I have tried both ways for the grain, I even just bought firing strips. I can bend them around the hull. and within five minutes it will crack. I have tried soaking the wood and bend it around. once it dries SNAP. can anyone help me out. PS I tried ripping the strips in 1/2 so they were not as think and then they still snapped when I was trying to bend them.

    Any help would be great.

    Thank you.

    P.S. it is an 11.5 foot plywood skiff.

    thank you
     
  2. upchurchmr
    Joined: Feb 2011
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    Location: Ft. Worth, Tx, USA

    upchurchmr Senior Member

    A picture would help.
    What kind of wood.
    I assume the 2 inch measurement is vertical.
    Is the wood straight grained or does the grain run at an angle to the board - or are there knots?
     
  3. oddboatout
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    oddboatout Junior Member

    Yes the 2 inch is the vertical. fir.

    I can't find any wood around me that is perfectly straight grained. I have used both pieced that have the grain vertical and horizontal.

    One did have a knot. and it snapped right on the knot even with wood blocks and two clamps on either side of the knot.
     
  4. upchurchmr
    Joined: Feb 2011
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    Normally I'd suggest the straightest grain you can find. Cut it into 2 pieces 1/2" thick each and glue in place with epoxy.
    If you have too much curve you might need to cut it into 3 equal thicknesses.

    Or investigate steaming. Many others on the forum will have suggestions on steaming.

    Or get a piece of cedar - it should bend dry a lot more than fir. 1/2" thick , Cedar, and laminate the second board should work.

    A picture would still help.

    Knots will kill you sometimes even if it is in a small curvature area, like back towards the stern. Assuming this is a typical shape.
     
  5. lewisboats
    Joined: Oct 2002
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    lewisboats Obsessed Member

    I've been building a SOF 10 ft skiff and have had a real bear of a time with my gunnel. The first one was prebent and glued but I over bent it and couldn't fit it. The second attempt was with 3/4" horizontal width by 1/2" and 1" height strips... those were cracking on me. The third attempt was with those same strips but soaked for a couple of days, then fitted and let dry, then laminated in place. This is all in WRC. One of the stringers is in DF which I got from T&G flooring. This was soaked and bent into place, screwed into the frames and let dry. This was 1" tall by 3/4" width. I expect if you use 2 pieces of 1"x1" with a couple of days soaking and then let dry clamped in place and then glued together it should be ok.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    That stringer below the gunnel is the Fir one... It bent in without having to have the growth rings the right way even.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Use a heat gun after you've soaked the crap (technical term) out of the piece to bend. Since it's Douglas fir, before soaking it (water, preferably quite hot), wipe it down with an acetone soaked rag, scrubbing as you go. This will let the water get into the fir better. Keep the heat gun moving or it'll scorch.
     
  7. AndySGray
    Joined: Jun 2014
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    Location: Cayman

    AndySGray Senior Member

    Is anyone else looking at Mr Lewis's setup and left feeling kind of stupid and betrayed by society?

    Have we all become so conditioned to believe that boats must be built in cold draughty outhouses that without question we perpetuate the lie?

    It takes a special kind of genius to realise that it is only a living-room because it doesn't have a boat in it.

    Well done Sir, Well done.

    :)
     
  8. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder


    Yeah, we all were single once too . . . :)
     
  9. SamSam
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    Location: Coastal Georgia

    SamSam Senior Member

    I had a friend who couldn't get rid of a couple that were "temporarily" sleeping in his living room, they left soon after he moved in a boat and started refinishing it.
     
  10. lewisboats
    Joined: Oct 2002
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    Location: Iowa

    lewisboats Obsessed Member

    Second time around here... it has it's benefits.... and drawbacks.
     
  11. oddboatout
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    oddboatout Junior Member

    I broke down (my building partner, my seven year old son convinced me) and built a steam box, we started over with new wood ripped to 1/2 inch thick and steamed it. It has worked beautifully. I don't know why I was so against steaming other than I have to wait to let it dry before gluing.

    Thanks to everyone.
     

  12. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    You can glue steamed wood fairly quickly after it's steam bent. 24 hours is more then enough, assuming it looks and feels dry. A moisture meter is handy, though not absolutely necessary.
     
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