What Types Of Wood Are Best For Bending?

Have you ever walked past a furniture display in a woodwork shop and seen beautifully carved wood furniture? Have you ever wondered how it gets that smooth appearance?

Usually, craftsmen rely on the wood bending technique. With the help of wood bending, artisans can create just about any style of wooden structure they need, for whatever purpose needed.

There are different wood bending techniques, and a specific type of wood suits each one best. You can use a suitable bending method for just about any type of wood, such as oak, ash, or yew. But, depending on the technique you use, you may want to choose the best type of wood to create exactly what you want. If you want to learn more about wood bending, then you must read further below.

How Do You Bend Wood?

Bending wood requires that you use a suitable technique. The technique changes what the finished product looks like. You can bend wood using a water bending or steam bending technique.

The water bending technique involves submerging the wood into a tank of hot water. You have to make sure that you get a tank of the appropriate size so that the wood submerges properly. The purpose of hot water is to heat up the tank, making the bending process easier. After you’ve fully submerged the wood into the tank, start shaping the wood with a knife, according to the shape you want. When you notice the wood starting to dry, put it back in the tank as you need it to soak thoroughly. Lastly, you have to apply an adhesive to keep the wood stable in its desired shape. Then, allow the wood to dry properly.

If you’re using steam bending, repeat the same process. Of course, the only difference is that you need to expose the wood to steam. Then, bend it using C-clamps.

Different Types of Wood Bending Techniques

As mentioned earlier, there are different types of wood bending techniques, and all of them successfully help you achieve the final result you want. Each technique involves a slightly different method and is fit for specific types of wood. You can use any type of wood you like for each technique. Reading further, you will learn about the best type of wood to use for each wood bending technique as well. Mentioned below are the different types of wood bending techniques:

The Kerf-Cut Bending Technique

The Kerf-cut bending technique involves cutting parallel slots along tiny pieces of wood. The best type of wood for this method is maple, ash, and European beech. You need to use a table saw for this technique and equally separate the slots, so you have enough kerfs. Once you’re done spacing, you can start bending the wood in the design you want by filling the slots with adhesive and allowing it to set.

The Water Bending Technique

The water bending technique involves submerging the wood into a tank of hot water. This technique will take some time as you have to keep submerging the wood into the hot water tank. You must keep the wood dry once you’re through with the bending process. The best type of wood to use here would be oak, beech, maple, ash, and any other wood type with a moisture content of over 25%

The Lamination Technique

The lamination bending technique involves using thin pieces of wood and gluing them together. Once the adhesive has settled in, you can keep the wood in the form you want and secure it tightly with the help of screws and C-clamps.

The Steam bending technique

The steam bending technique is similar to the water technique. All you have to do is keep the wood in an insulated box with the stovepipe open at one side and the other end into the steam source. After exposing the wood to an adequate amount of steam, you can bend it using C-clamps. Use wood like ash, beech, and hickory for this method.

Are There Some Woods That Are Easy To Bend Without Using The Steam Method?

As mentioned earlier, craftsmen can choose between different wood bending techniques, each of which works with a few types of wood. All types of wood can’t undergo the steam method, but the steam technique is suitable for most of them. You can use the maple, Maghony, spruce, and European breach, or Poplar wood to bend without using the steam technique. However, this doesn’t mean you can bend the wood on your own. To bend any type of wood, you have to follow a bending technique that fits the type of wood you’re using.

There is one way you can bend wood without using the steam method- it involves cutting. You can cut the wood using a power saw and curve the design in a U-shape. The wood you’re using should have a thin trim. This way, you won’t need to use the steaming method but rather the DIY cutting method.

Are There Woods You Should NOT Try To Bend?

With the help of the different wood bending techniques available, it’s easy to bend just about every type of wood. Of course, you have to pay attention to the type of wood and technique you’re using, as that plays a major role in successfully getting through the wood bending process. Sometimes, the wood bending technique can be very tricky. Even the most used types of wood in these processes can give you a tough time bending properly. Wondering why? These types of wood have certain features, making them less feasible to bend. If you’re using wood and notice it’s decaying, it means you should throw it away as weak wood can never go through the bending process.

Similarly, you must not use wood that is high in moisture or excessively dry. Instead, use wood that is air-dried so that it easily soaks in water or steam. Brash wood is one type of wood you should keep away from when it comes to wood bending. This type of wood is very low in density compared to other types and usually gives poor results. So why waste your time bending a type of wood that doesn’t even have enough density?

Of course, this doesn’t mean you should look for high-density wood. Even this can lead to failure. High-density wood does not bend well, especially imported types. So when choosing wood, you must always check the type, as all types are not capable of bending. The best species for tree bending are red oak, beech, pecan, magnolia, white oak, hackberry, and black walnut.

The Takeaway

Now that you are aware of all the wood bending techniques and the appropriate types of wood to use for each, you can finally create a suitable design. Wood bending is an interesting technique that provides stunning techniques. You just need to follow certain guidelines