First time on forum and first time steam bending. So I am making an outrigger canoe paddle with a double bend on top, I’m using basswood and mahogany. I ripped the basswood to two pieces,3/8″thick by 1-1/4″ wide by 50″ long, I also ripped a piece of teak 1/4″ x 1-1/4″ x 50″. Glued all three pieces together with teak in between. After steaming for 1 hour, I clamped about 1/3 of the paddle on a form to bend about 8 degrees allowing for spring back ( want at least 5 degrees bend). After 24 hours, I removed clamped and achieved the bend but after a week I noticed that the bend has decreased. What happened?
You need to bend the parts before glueup. When you steam wood it allows the fibers to "slide around" inside the board. The gluelines are rigid.
I've never heard of gluing up pieces before steam bending. I'm surprised it stayed together after steaming.
Usually, wood is steam bent as a solid piece. Or, it is laminated from very thin pieces that resemble plywood.
What do you mean by "allows fibers to slide around"?
Think of wood as long fibers held together by a binder. When you steam the wood the binder loosens a bit and lets the fibers move in relation to each other as you bend the board. On the outside of the bend you are stretching the fibers and on the inside of the bend you are compressing them.
After steaming and bending in a form, the parts are left to dry before they are removed from the jig. 24 hours of ambiant air drying is surely not enough, we used to place them in a kiln or use microwaves.
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