Steam Benders Australia

OUR SERVICES:

Steam Benders provide a number of different timber bending options to suit a range of applications, from furniture and lighting, to much larger architectural requirements.

 

Steam bending 

Often associated with wooden boat building where it is used in the shaping of hull’s ribs and lapboards. Steam bending timber is the process of using steam to heat timber, allowing it to bend it into curved shapes. It is an impressive technique, offering seamless, durable components

The main methods used for producing curves in timber are steam bending, laminating and cutting from solid pieces. Of these methods, steam bending is the
one most often used because it offers simplicity, economy and no reduction in strength due to the absence of joins and or short grain.

Our steam bending services assist in the manufacture of curved or arch shaped structures for window heads, furniture components, architectural fascias, curved handrails, arch shaped doorways and contemporary design pieces.

Key Points: 

  • Steam Bending requires a tool or former to bend around, this will incur an initial one-off expense.
  • Some timber discolouration may occur.
  • Where larger thicknesses or tight radius’s are required, a combination of steam bending and laminating will be necessary.
  • Curves require a spring-back allowance; this should be considered and reflected in the design.
  • The lead-time for steam bending will require time for drying/setting timber parts into shape. Keep in mind when planning your next project.
  • Steam bending is not suitable for all timber types.
 
Please note: Steam bending is a traditional approach to bending timber and it offers simplicity, economy and no reduction in strength due to cross grain. 
While our expertise in the field allows us to bend solid timber to your requirements, it is important to note that the process is an organic one, using highly variable natural materials. The variables in steam bending, i.e. stock dimensions, timber species and curve radius, all contribute to the challenge in achieving millimeter precision in bending. For these reasons tolerances need to be accounted for in your design. Bends supplied will be set in shape and hold their form, however for best results, steam bent timbers should be secured to and braced in place.
 
Tolerances in material thickness +/- 2mm
Tolerances in radius spring back +/- 30mm
 
For a higher precision option we would recommend laminate bending, please see information on laminate bending below.
 
For more information or to plan your next bend, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

 

 

Laminate bending

A laminated wood component is a marvel of lightness and strength and it will conform to the required shape equally well to a similar bend, made in a solid wood piece.

When making tighter curves and or when you require thicker timber sections, it is best to laminate several layers using thin strips of wood to form these curves. Sometimes referred to as cold bending, the curve is achieved by cutting the timber into thin strips and then gluing these thinner, more flexible pieces together around a former to create a strong and permanent shape.

Key Points:

  • Laminate Bending requires a tool or former to bend around, this will incur an initial one-off expense.
  • Glue seams/joins will be visible, especially in lighter colour timbers.
  • It requires more processes than steam bending. There is a lot of machining prior to bending and cleanup following the bend.
  • Curves require a spring-back allowance; this should be considered and reflected in the design.
  • Suites all timber types.

For more information or to plan your next bend, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.