How to bend wood

November 17, 2020


It is every carpenter’s wish to produce good looking and high-quality furniture. Sometimes you may also wish to be a bit unique and do something that no one has ever done. One of the trickiest arts you can do is bend pieces of wood to get a particular shape. The task is not easy to walk in the park because you need comprehensive knowledge.

Today I thought it is good to come up with a handy guide on how to bend wood. Bending wood is mostly useful when building musical equipment, horseshoe-shaped counter, and many other shapes. Therefore, you can use this guide from our website to guide you on how to bend wood using steam and water.

Step by step guide on how to bend wood using steam and water

  1. Using steam to bend step-by-step wood guide

Let us try to bend wood with steam; the process is not easy. You have to develop a contained unit that is huge enough to accommodate your wood. Now let us follow these steps;

Step one: assemble the steam box

You should know that the bending process is done in a steam box. Therefore, you have to put everything in order. Develop a container that is bigger and longer than the material you want to bend and the stovepipe. Besides, don’t forget to include stops and guides for the stovepipe.

Step two: Insulation

After you are setting up the steam box, the next thing will be to ensure the steam doesn’t escape the atmosphere. The only suitable solution is insulation. Your stovepipe should be entirely encapsulated in the insulation. Besides, the insulation should be heat-proof.

Step three: Capping

After insulating the assembly, the next thing is capping the rear part of the stovepipe. One of the stovepipes should be open while the other side should have a little port. The port is significant, acting as the storage for your steam. The steam will then travel through the stovepipe, exiting via the second open end.

Step four: Steaming the wood

After you have your assembly with appropriate insulation, the next step will start the steaming process. Insert your wood to the chamber through the open side, and connect the steam source. Here, you may use towels or rags to reduce the rate of steam evaporation. But, use an absorbent towel to avoid pressure development.

Steam the wood for not less than 15 means before bending for every ¼-inch diameter.

Step five: Bending the wood

After steaming for 15 minutes, remove your wood from the chamber and attach it to the jig and start bending the material. Your jig should have a bend outline of your desire.

Therefore, you need to push your material against the jig with the help of C-clamps. Sometimes you may use a hold-down screw to ensure that the wood is firmly held. After confirming the wood is firm, leave it overnight. Remove the wood when it is done by unscrewing the hold-downs and removing clamps.

  1. Using water to bend wood

Water is the most available and convenient method for bending wood that I can recommend. However, it would help if you used the correct wood type. More pliable and thinner wood will give better results. The method involves a few steps, i.e.,

Step one: Get a tank

It would help if you had a tank to submerge your wood in for bending. The container or tank should be larger than your workpiece. The wood should perfectly fit in the tank.

Step two: Fill your tank/container with hot water

Filling the container with hot water is necessary for heating the whole box. Doing so will make the bending task possible. Give the hot water enough time to heat the tank.

Step three: Immerse in your wood

Under this step, you have to submerge the piece of wood in the container. Make sure to dip the wood in the box entirely. Leave the wood to sit in the tank, depending on the wood type. Please don’t rush to get it out of the tank.

Step four: scoring the wood

While the wood piece is still submerged, take a knife and start scoring a place you wish to bend. This process is simple, but don’t use a blunt knife.

Step five: Start bending the wood

After a while, empty the container and begin to bend the wood. Scores should be your bending reference. Furthermore, when your piece of wood begins to dry, place it back in the container and give it enough time for soaking before more scores.

After the bend is almost to your expectations, dip it once more in the tank.

Step six: Complete by applying adhesive

After the above steps are a success, apply adhesives to all score areas. Try to twist the wood to get the shape of your desire. After achieving the expected condition, give the wood enough time to dry entirely. The process is over, and you have your bentwood.

Frequently asked questions

  • Why should I insulate my stovepipe before steam bending wood?

Insulation is necessary to ensure the steam doesn’t escape to the atmosphere. Ensure that your stovepipe should be entirely encapsulated in the insulation. More so, the insulation should be heat-proof.

  • For how long can I steam up my wood before bending?

Steaming your wood should not be less than 15 minutes before bending for every ¼-inch diameter. This is an appropriate time to make bending work easier.

  • What is the importance of scoring while bending wood?

Scores should be bending reference. They will guide you where to turn the wood.


From the above discussion, you can realize that all the two methods are quite complicated for bending wood pieces. I know you may don’t have enough time to do your research, and that is why I recommend you use this handy tool on how to bend wood. The report gives you alternative ways that can help you comfortably turn your wood.

It is you to decide which method to use, but the final results may be similar if you carefully follow the steps. More so, you can choose the process which is more convenient for you.

Amas Jukubuvicious

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