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  #16 (permalink)  
Old 10-05-2002, 08:39 AM
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Listen to BRANDLER. The laminating method using thins strips of wood will give you an extremely stable and strong, perfectly curved piece that will look like the wood grew in that shape. the only plywood you can get anymore that isn't total crap is Baltic burch and that stuff is not easy to bend. In addition it is a most uninteresting grain and color.

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Old 10-22-2005, 08:01 PM
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Old Thread, I know, but...

Something should be mentioned about Bender Board - also sometimes called Wiggle Board or Wiggle Wood. Basically, it's an interior grade of Lauan or Poplar plywood, either in 3/8" or 1/8" thickness, and can be bent as easily as a piece of paper.

Bender board shouldn't be confused with regular Lauan plywood used for interior door skins. Bender board is made differently. On normal plywood, the grain of each ply runs perpendicular to the ply it sits on top of. This, along with the glues, heat, and pressure used in the bonding process give regular plywood it's rigidity - even in a sheet only 1/8" thick. In bender board, the grain of all of the plys run the same direction, and it can be bent along the length of the grain. Bender board is directional, meaning you can order an 8' X4' sheet that bends on the long side, or the short side, but not both directions. One drawback to using bender board is it doesn't hold its shape without fasteners - meaning it must be screwed, glued, nailed, or otherwise fastened to something to hold that shape.

Here are a couple of links for Bender Board.

Scroll to the bottom of this page:


Scroll to the bottom of this page and look at the right hand column:


In the cabinet shop, I've made some Bombe' front cabinets and curved, corner pieces using bender board, then applied Cherry or Maple verneer over it after the piece was completed. Then I finished it just like any other cabinet.

In the truck mentioned at the beginning of this thread, the bender board could be applied to the rear of the truck's cab, then a nice verneer applied over it using a good quality contact cement. A little light finish sanding with 150 - 220 grit sand paper, then adding the stain and topcoat of your choice would complete the project. Upholstering it could also be an option, but I've never upholstered it, so I don't know how that would work out. Wrinkles and such...

Hope this helps somebody out there!
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Old 10-23-2005, 08:06 AM
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Easiset Method

Wow Maverick,

I may be missing the boat here (pun intended), but I think there is a WAAy easier method. I am in the process of redoing my 49 Chev custom for the 3rd time(styles changed again). Anyway, I have owned a 49, 52 & 53 Chevy pick up and I do alot of woodwork. I have also built a few wooden boats and I built a few music instruments, so I know a thing or 2 about bending wood including plywood. These guys are giving you some correct info aboout bending wood, but I think there is an easier method. If you take boiling water and pour over wood, yes you can bend it as you pour the water and ,let it dry for a day or 2 and it will hold shape. What you are doing is breaking down the lingen in the wood. If you buy marine merranti plywood, say in 1/8. it bends very nicely and finishes like mahogany, it is mahogany just Luan is Phillipine mahogany except it can take hot water withoout delam. Anyway, if I wanted the wood look on one of these pick em ups, I would do it an easier way. If I remeber right, they have a back, or 2 piece shell made out of sheet metal. If what you are after is JUST a nice wood look, how about going to a wood worker store, and getting pre split veneer and gluing with contact or urethane adhesive? This stuff is split as thin as 1/32" in failry large sheets and made out of many domestic and exotic species and will form to a curve like linoleum, even compound in some cases. You can even finish it like regular wood because it is real wood.
If you have a few sheckles, coco bolo or rosewood would look awesome. If real wood look is all you are after, I would go this route, otherwise you can bend 1/4 wood strips in about 4" wide sections and then finish level after install. If you can and are willing to successfully do the latter, you can also build wooden boats by hand. Let us know if you need more detailed information.
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