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Thread: How to Bend Oak

  1. #1

    How to Bend Oak

    I'd like to build something like this:

    I have some white and red oak, approx 5/8" thick. It's flat sawn... it used to be baseboard at a store so length is "anything under 10.5 feet"

    How would I go about bending it to make that wine glass caddy? Can 5/8" thick oak even be bent that far?

    Any ideas are appreciated, thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Austin, Texas
    I have my doubts about bending any dry 5/8 inch thick oak, but note that those are from a wine barrel, so the bend is from the sides of the barrel, and not from any need for a bend. A straight board would work as well, and be easier to store.

    If you still want a curved piece, try sawing the oak into 1/8" thick strips (which I am confident can be bent) or perhaps 1/4 or 5/16 inch. Then laminate the strips around a form, and when the glue dries there will be very little spring back.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    RETIRED(!) in Austintown, Ohio
    Yeah, what Charlie said.

    The oak you have was probably kiln dried, and kiln dried wood generally doesn't steam bend very well. Air dried - and especially recently cut air dried - wood is best for steam bending.

    As Charlie said, rip it into 1/8" thick strips and bend them around a form to laminate them up to the thickness you want. Titebond, or other white or yellow glues tend to creep after bend laminating, so I'd use either hide glue or a powdered resin glue for the laminating.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Thomasville, GA
    As much as I like doing bentwood lamination, I'd cut something the size of that wineglass holder from a solid piece of whatever wood.

    Now, if I were doing a quantity of them, I'd use a bending form, cut the wood into 1/8" strips, glue it up and vacuum press it.
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  5. #5
    Hmmm.... disappointing advice, but much appreciated. I don't have a band saw, so ripping 4.5" stock isn't an option for me. Also, I'm not sure I'd like the look of a laminated bend. Sounds like I'll have to try to source a barrel if I want to do this.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Thomasville, GA
    A laminated bend, when done right, will hide the seperate pieces quite well.

    Another approach to the project might be this:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Whether one incorporates the different woods for contrast or uses a solid piece, it works.
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
    Bottle and glass holder. That would get a chuckle in some quarters. In Cockney rhyming slang, "Bottle and glass" is a rhyme for the part of the body one puts on a saddle. Or, I suppose, the creature one puts a saddle on.

    The other member of Mensa, but not the NRA

    Everyone is a self-made person.

    "The thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their veracity" -Abraham Lincoln

  8. #8
    Bill - I've already made a number of 2 and 4 glass holders similar to that. A bent one would be the next step up!

    I did find a place where I could buy a very small (approx 10" long) oak barrel for approx $45+shipping, which is about the length I want. But it's a barrel intended for small batch wine making... straps, tap, and stand. I assume the company has waste, so I sent them an email asking if I could buy some of it. Bigger barrels that didn't pass QA or even just longer staves.

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