Gazette Archive 6/16/01
A Book Review by David S. Beach
Title: Wood Bender's Handbook
Wood Bender's Handbook is divided into two sections. The first section, Wood-Bending Principals and Techniques, begins with an introduction to bending and a study of various woods and bending techniques. The importance of moisture content and wood selection is discussed early on, since these factors will greatly effect the success of a bending project. The book then delves into various cold bending methods including laminations and kerf bending. Mr. Taylor discusses the selection of material, how to calculate the thickness of the various lamination layers, which glues work best, and how to build forms and jigs.
The next chapter is dedicated to a discussion of various hot bending techniques including: Steaming, Hot Air, and Hot Pipe Bending. Mr. Taylor goes into great detail to explain numerous methods which can be used to hot bend pieces of wood - thus providing the reader with a wide array of options to complete any given job. The discussion on steaming, including the construction of a steam chamber and steam box was well worth the price of the book.
The next several chapters of the book are devoted to various methods used to shape and form the wood as it is being bent. These include the construction of various jigs and clamps, as well as two part molds. A discussion of bending equipment includes many simple, homemade tools and jigs to assist the bending process.
The second half of the book is arranged as a series of projects and demonstrations of the various bending techniques. These projects are not written as a step-by-step guide, but rather to provide the reader with an overview of the actual application of the various techniques discussed earlier in the book. The projects include: Shaker Oval Boxes, Walking Sticks, Boat Ribs and Chair Backs. I found the section on the Shaker Oval Boxes to be the most interesting and feel that more than enough information is provided to complete this project.
Overall, I really liked this book and feel that it will be an excellent addition to my woodworking library.
David S. Beach
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