How to Bend Wood at Home

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Today we are going to share with you:

Explore The Best Tips for Bending Wood (DIY)

  • Working Time: 1 - 2 hrs
  • Total Time: 1 - 3 days
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated cost: $20 to $50

Bending the wood transforms solid, straight wood into graceful curves. It is usually a complement to another project, such as construction furniture, baskets, musical instruments, toys, or crafts. It is also fun to play alone.

Wood bending is a two-step process: first, it softens the wood and then shapes it. Steam is a good agent for softening wood. Wood can also be softened by creating multiple cuts in the back of the wood. This method is called a shear cut.

Bending wood with steam

Wood can be soaked in water to soften it. Heating the water above 212 F (boiling) to create steam softens the wood faster. The softened wood is fixed in a frame and allowed to dry.

You will need to build a steamer box to hold the wood during cooking. A steamer box can be made from almost any heat-resistant and waterproof item of sufficient size.

A steam source, such as a steam cleaner, is connected by a hose to the steam box. The steam box should be vented at the top to allow steam to escape and relieve pressure. It should also have a drain hole (or drain hole) at the bottom to drain the condensate.

After steaming, the wood is placed in a frame that bends it to the correct size. Once the wood dries, it can be removed.

The best types of wood for steam bending

The thinner and smaller the wood, the better it will work for steam bending. Sheet materials are difficult to steam bend due to their size.

White oak, hackberry, and red oak all double well. Soft maple, yellow poplar, and hard maple are poor wood species for steam bending.

Wood is generally bent perpendicular to the direction of the wood fibers. Bending the wood parallel to the grain can break the wood.


  • Green; without chemicals
  • Smooths all of the wood, not just one side
  • The curves are permanent


  • excess moisture
  • Potential for burns
  • The steam box must be built
  • Must be formed in a frame
  • significant waiting time

Wood bending by slot cutting

Notching does not require immersion or steam, so there is no waiting time. Several incisions are made in the back of the wood with a chainsaw. This makes the wood flexible enough to bend. Even thick wood and large laminate products can be bent using a notch cut.

Almost any type of wood can be used for notching, even composites such as chipboard or Masonite.

Try to bend the cut lumber perpendicular to the cuts, if possible. But you can also bend the wood parallel to the grooves. Just be careful to bend the wood slowly and carefully to avoid cracking.


  • No immersion or steam
  • Cleansed
  • more control
  • no waiting time
  • Thicker materials can be bent


  • Requires a miter saw or radial saw
  • Only one side of the wood can be seen
  • Creating multiple cuts can be tedious

Safety precautions

  • Steam curve: steam can cause injury. Be careful when opening the steam box. Handle only with thick gloves and wear safety glasses.
  • Notch Cut: Observe all safety requirements for working with power saws.
    what are you going to need


Steam bending:

  • steam source
  • Screwdriver
  • cordless drill
  • Switchblade
  • spring clips
  • heavy gloves
  • eye protection

Slit cut:

  • Miter saw, table saw, or radial saw
  • Cutting saw blade
  • Pencil
  • Eye and hearing protection


Steam bending:

  • wood
  • Scrap wood blocks
  • 4 Inch PVC Drain Pipe
  • Solid 4 Inch PVC Sewer Pipe Cover
  • 4 inch rubber gasket
  • 2 inch hose

Slit cut:

  • wood
  • wood glue

We hope you enjoy watching this video about 3 Ways to Bend Wood

Source: Fine Woodworking with Jesse

To See The Second Part Please Click Here!

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