Get Bent!

With the bracing on the top and bottom completed, its now time to move to the bending iron and shape the sides. After soaking them for an hour or so, I let the iron (which is a electric BBQ starter connected to a switch inside a 2″ galvanized pipe) heat up. When bending, the key is to always keep the wood moving to avoid scorching. Don’t try to force it too quickly, that will result in a sickening *CRACK*. Gentle, but firm, is the key. As the heat dries out the wood, frequent spritzes will keep the steam coming, and it is steam, even more so than heat, that is the key. I am using an oven safe glove on one hand, but that is almost not needed. You just have to be aware of the hot pipe.

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The bent side are checked against the mold, and then clamped with an iside mold and left to dry for a few days.

After they are dry, the ends are trimmed to fit, and the mahogany heelblock is shaped to conform to the mold’s curve and glued to the sides. The headblock is taken to the tablesaw to form the tenon and then curved and glued.

Once the glue has cured, the kerfing can be glued to the top side, with the inner molds keep the sides to shape. Clothspins and the occasional spring clamp do a good job of clamping the kerfing.

A couple of hours later, after the glue has dried, we can see the kerfing.

Once the glue has cure, the next day, we can take the sides out of the mold. The kerfing, even with only one side completed, gives it a lot of rigidity.

Next up, the sound board will be fitted and glued. No more topless bass!

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