Jump to content

Bending Iron Necessary

Recommended Posts

Hi, I was just wondering if anybody knew wheter a bending iron was absoultely necessary for making a small uke.....Ive never done any bending whatsoever but I was thinking if I soaked the sides in water, then heated it witha normal clothes iron, then while its still warm clamped it to the inside of the jig.....

Would this be an option?



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't really think a clothes iron would work that well because of the shape. You can't just heat it and stick it in the form because you would just dry out the wood. The action of the water turning into steam is what allows wood to bend, so you'd need to be drying out the wood over the round shape of a bending iron to do that.

You can make a bending iron with one of the large 80watt soldering irons with an aluminum tube fitted over it. Or an aluminum tube and propane torch, but this takes more practice to get set right to not burn the wood.

There is a method called 'cold bending' used in violin making where the wood is wetted and put in a form, but violin sides are only 1mm thick and are maple.

There is also a 'steam box', where the wood is saturated with hot steam to make it plyable. Here is a link to one:


I would think the steam box method may warp the thin wood in musical instrument sides, though.

I have a comercially bought bending iron, it's great. Before I used a soldering iron/pipe to bend my uke sides.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

A clothes iron will work (but I wouldn't do it again.) Easiest approach would be with an additional convex form for the waist. Best results by clamping in place once bent over the form, allowing to set and then spritzing and slowly ironing again while in place, then again, leave plenty of time to set. It is far from ideal, and her indoors won't thank you - worth making or buying a bending iron, fox system or heating blankets.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...