January 21, 2009

Here’s the charred walnut side which put me into a funk.


I was convinced that I was unable to discern the subtle difference between bending a side flawlessly and turning it into expensive firewood.  I thought it all through carefully and tackled a successful creation of two walnut sides bent properly and ready for putting in the mold.

I thickness sanded the remaining two (good) sides with a hand held belt sander from 4+mm down to 3mm.  Even with some difficulty keeping the belt on the sander, I was able to get those suckers down to the thickness I believed would be easily bent.  Also, I believed the order of the bender sandwich components would make a difference.

Disaster averted!  I have two perfectly bent walnut sides.

The sandwich order:  Mold/stainless/silicone blanket/parchment/walnut/stainless.


Also, preheating the wood before bending was acheived by clamping down the ends of the sandwich to keep the wood next to the blanket.


And finally, the right temperature:  not too hot (charcoal), not too cool (wood cracks).  I set the temp gauge to MED and let the wood sit in the clamped sandwich for about 2 – 3 minutes.  A meat thermometer stuck into the sandwich at the lower bout area showed the temp to be 290 degrees.  I don’t have any idea if the temp is accurate, but I now have a benchmark.  In that the bending was successful (no burns, no cracks), I have the sandwich configuration figured, a temperature benchmark, and I’m sure future bends will be mostly successful.