Complete Manual of Wood Bending: Milled, Laminated, and Steambent Work

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by: Lon Schleining

Topics include: lamination bending, coopered panel, grain runout, clamp pockets, new baseplate, less springback, piece being bent, bent lamination, bending blanks, small shaper, vertical construction line, compression strap, horizontal construction line, steam box, hook scraper, flush cutting, plastic resin glue, backer blocks, drying form, power feeder, crest rail, shaper cutter, surface planer, cutting jig, holding jigs

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First Sentence: SOME WOODWORKERS are perfectly capable of dreaming up a project, making a sketch on the back of an envelope, and, in what seems like just a few short days of sawing and hammering, producing a wondrous piece of original furniture exactly as initially envisioned.

Book Description Using the three basic approaches to producing curved parts-laminate bending, steam bending, and milling by machine-this book provides step-by-step instructions on each method, the pros and cons of each project, and how to troubleshoot problems. Also included are discussions and advice as to what methods will work and what methods will not in various applications.

About the Author Lon Schleining teaches woodworking at Cerritos College and has been a professional stair builder for 20 years. He lives in Long Beach, California.


I bought three books on wood bending; this is the best: After getting in over my head, I bought three wood bending books: this one (Schleining), Zachary Taylor's "Wood Bender's Handbook" and "Fine Woodworking on Bending Wood." Taylor is slightly more recent, but it omits many pertinent aspects. For example, he doesn't cover milling (cutting) or coopering (low-angle joints) wood as a way to obtain curves, and he gives little attention to some practical aspects, such as drawing plans. Taylor is relatively superficial and focused on making musical instruments. The Fine Woodworking book is spotty (magazine articles from 1975-1984) and covers many advanced topics (e.g. Lapstrake boatbuilding, tapered laminations, violin making). Schleining is by far the best choice for the intermediate-level amateur that needs advice from someone with a lot of practical experience. His sidebars and outlines really help a woodworker make good decisions. He gives extremely helpful details on glueing, jigs, and routing. He shies away from steam-bending, because it gives such variable results, but he finds that it can often be combined profitably with follow-up milling or laminating. He gives superb practical advice on which machine to use in what combination, he has excellent jig plans, and many hard-won safety recommendations. He does not provide project plans (Taylor does for oval boxes, walking sticks, boat ribs, and chair backs). Luthiers will enjoy this book, but also find more detail in the other two.

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