Bending Irons

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Peter Lynch
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Bending Irons

Post by Peter Lynch » Sun May 01, 2022 7:56 pm

Hi
I am a beginner , I have built two instruments so far which I play and enjoy . I currently bend sides using a form and heat blanket , I would like to try a cutaway and feel I should learn to bend using a commercial bending iron (stewmac etc ) or go with a hot pipe ( gas ) . Could anyone offer some advice please . I am only making one instrument a year so money is a consideration .
Thanks everyone any advice appreciated
Peter Lynch

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kiwigeo
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Re: Bending Irons

Post by kiwigeo » Sun May 01, 2022 8:54 pm

I do most of my bending on a couple of electric irons sourced from LMI.....pretty much identical to the units you'll get from Stewmac.

You can save a few pennies and make your own gas fired iron but personally I find electric irons more convenient and the control of temperature easier than with a gas fired iron.

You can find cheap irons on Ebay that are basically the same unit as those sold by LMI/Stewmac.......they'll usually perform just as well as the Stewmac/LMI units.
Martin

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Mark McLean
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Re: Bending Irons

Post by Mark McLean » Sun May 01, 2022 10:33 pm

I agree with Martin that the commercially available electric ones are simple to use and, as far as I can see, all pretty much the same - so if you see a bargain anywhere jump in and grab it. It is very satisfying to bend by hand, and actually not difficult to master the skill.

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Bob_H
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Re: Bending Irons

Post by Bob_H » Mon May 02, 2022 8:53 am

I bought one out of China nearly two years ago - much cheaper than Stew Mac / LMI but seems to be built solidly enough - heats quickly and, in my view, much more convenient than many of the home made solutions seen around.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32867952406.html
Bob Holbert
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ozziebluesman
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Re: Bending Irons

Post by ozziebluesman » Mon May 02, 2022 9:27 am

Hi Peter,

I still do all my wood bending with a Stew Mac electric iron I bought many years ago. As Mark said it is a satisfying job bending by hand. It takes a little practice but it is worth the effort.

A tip for cutaway bending is to immerse the cutaway end of the side into boiling water and leave in soak for 20 minutes. You can then bend the tight shapes of the cutaway with ease. This method is especially good for tight binding bends. It works well for me.

Cheers

Alan
"Play to express, not to impress"

Alan Hamley

http://www.hamleyfineguitars.com/

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nkforster
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Re: Bending Irons

Post by nkforster » Mon May 02, 2022 1:12 pm

The best iron on the market (by far) is this one from the UK

https://luthiers-bench.com/products/ben ... 9642213575

Much more reliable, safe and stable than any other. I've had mine for nearly 20 years without an issue. Personally, I think the Ibex iron is poor. the shape is unpractical and the insulation material collapses making the thing rock.

I've three videos on Youtube to cover the topic. Worth watching a few times.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jf8J6r ... terGuitars

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NMxMO9 ... terGuitars

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nm420mt ... terGuitars

Peter Lynch
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Re: Bending Irons

Post by Peter Lynch » Tue May 03, 2022 7:01 pm

Thank you everyone for your input , I have ordered a bender from the LuthiersBench should be with me in about two weeks .
Once again thank you for your input , very much appreciated

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kiwigeo
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Re: Bending Irons

Post by kiwigeo » Tue May 03, 2022 7:36 pm

LOL......so you went top shelf in the end? :mrgreen:

Actually the more I look at pictures of that bl**dy iron the more I want one :?
Peter Lynch wrote:
Tue May 03, 2022 7:01 pm
Thank you everyone for your input , I have ordered a bender from the LuthiersBench should be with me in about two weeks .
Once again thank you for your input , very much appreciated
Martin

Dave M
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Re: Bending Irons

Post by Dave M » Fri May 06, 2022 7:07 am

Bending non cutaway sides is fairly straightforward on an iron. Doing a cutaway is something else entirely. I know lots of people tell you it's doable, go slow etc but I have found it just really difficult. As a low skilled bender I decided to go with using a heating blanket and a fairly elaborate bending form that keeps tension on both sides of the double bend that constitutes the cutaway. ie keeping pressure on the outside of the bend which reduces splittting out.
This also means that I can bend the bindings at the same time so they come out pretty closely to the side bends.

This photo should give an idea of the jig. I have had no problem with cracking since using this for half a dozen or so sides. and I do do some pretty sharp cutaways I also go down to around 1.8 mm thickness on the cutaway sides.
Attachments
back 3 small.jpg
Bender 5 small.jpg
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Dave

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nkforster
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Re: Bending Irons

Post by nkforster » Fri May 06, 2022 4:24 pm

The answer to bending difficult woods or tight bends is fabric softener.

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nkforster
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Re: Bending Irons

Post by nkforster » Fri May 06, 2022 4:27 pm

I think the most innovative cutaway bending set up I've seen is this one:

https://youtu.be/HQMgt_kkMA0

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lamanoditrento
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Re: Bending Irons

Post by lamanoditrento » Sun May 08, 2022 12:02 pm

nkforster wrote:
Fri May 06, 2022 4:27 pm
I think the most innovative cutaway bending set up I've seen is this one:

https://youtu.be/HQMgt_kkMA0
That is kinda brilliant :lol:
Trent

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