Good resource on timber bending


I’m working on a side project and have been looking at bent laminated veneer AKA the Eames Lounge as my process.

I have a fair amount of experience with working with laminated veneer but it was in a large scale environment and we had heat presses, compressed air clamps, panel saws and all sorts of tools which I don’t have at home. Not to mention the toxic glue which was used.

I’m looking at making the moulds myself out of MDF and clamping cold with threaded rod clamps. I have some decent tools and would probably buy a decent band saw for the project.

Has anyone done this before?.. or does anyone have some advice on good websites or books on the topic?

Emanuel Carillo’s chair project from earlier this year might be helpful… UC Chair Quarter - DONE!.

Another term for the process, as used in boat building, is “cold molding” (you may want to google it). But if your project does not have to endure the weather, you can use non-toxic white, or yellow aliphatic glues (the clamp times are just longer…).

For large surface areas (like seat panels) you may want to investigate a “vacuum bag” set up; great not only for laminating FRP /polyester/epoxy parts but for applying uniform pressure on laminated wood as well.

Epoxyworks is an interesting “how to” blog run by West Systems; it offers a lot of information on materials and processes.

I would also second the vac bag setup. It only requires one side of the mold, so you wont have to deal with getting the tolerances of male/female molds. Also, they are very compact systems that are relatively inexpensive. I know you can get a continuous run system with bag for around $350 or so. There are some instructions on making one with a bike pump, but I dont know how well it would work.

If you are simply veneering small parts, I used a product made for laying up skateboards. Roarockit makes the small kit for around $60, and it looks like some guys are douing faily large bends with it. However, the max bag size is going to be the limiting factor with it. For more info: Woodworking Tools, Hardware, DIY Project Supplies & Plans - Rockler


Thanks both of you.

That vac bag looks interesting. I was thinking of doing a 2 part mould with threaded rod, but this might be better for the size I’m working with.