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Proulx side bender?

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Proulx side bender?

Postby Matthew Lau » Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:26 am

I tried being cheap and bending by hand.
I tried mold-free building, and ended up with a lopsided ukulele.

Any tips on building a Mario Proulx side bender?

I'd thought of doing a Fox style bender, but Mario makes a ton more sense.
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Re: Proulx side bender?

Postby Mario Proulx » Sun Aug 13, 2017 11:59 am

All "my bender" is, is a solid buck of the side's profile. On this I place the silicone blanket(same one purchased from LMI some 17 years ago..!). A long clamp of some sort to hold the ends of the ribs, and one F clamp for the waist. A .022" stainless steel slat goes over the rib. Preheat the slat by tightly clamping to the blanket for a few minutes. Bend is done by hand, wearing heavy gloves....

Simple as can be. No springs, no gadgets....
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Re: Proulx side bender?

Postby Matthew Lau » Mon Aug 14, 2017 2:24 am

I like your thinking.

Anything special I should do?

From photos, it looks like:
1. cut two mdf/ply side profiles.
2. bolt to a box/frame that can have clamp on. also glue in bars for support on bending surfaces.
3. spring steel/blanket/spray bottle/ oven gloves
4. heat
5. verticle clamp on main bend, with properly fitted caul (you use thin layers of plywood bolted together and glued)
6. manually bend wood
7. use side clamps. cool.

That it?
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Re: Proulx side bender?

Postby Craig Bumgarner » Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:53 pm

Looking at the picture of Mario's bender, it "looks" like there were bars going across from side to side of the bender, now replaced with blocks of wood. Yes?
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Re: Proulx side bender?

Postby Mario Proulx » Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:21 pm

My original bender used light bulbs for heat, and yes, it had steel bars. Newer ones use wood blocks or 3/4" dowels, and the newest one is a solid sandwich of plywood...

The waist cauls also vary, from plywood pieces, shaped solid wood, and even a couple make use of PVC and/or ABS pipe sections that were close enough in radius.

K.I.S.S.
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Re: Proulx side bender?

Postby Barry Daniels » Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:43 pm

The solid form is much better at keeping curves smooth. It also stands up to clamping pressure better.
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Re: Proulx side bender?

Postby Craig Bumgarner » Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:04 pm

Thanks Mario, that makes sense.

Barry Daniels wrote:The solid form is much better at keeping curves smooth. It also stands up to clamping pressure better.


Okay, yeah, I never really got the bars idea in a bender, solid form and a heat blanket sounds like the way.

At the risk of hi jacking the thread, any comments on hand bending vs. bending over a form? I hand bend, am reasonably good at it, but I do get the occasional bump or flat spot. Hand bending does not take that long really and I like the freedom of being moldless. Does the bending machine yield significantly better or faster results. I would think the sides would come out more uniform and accurate. Speed is not that important to me, I can bend a set of sides in 30-40 minutes, so even if the bender took zero time, it is not much in the overall time to build. That said, I'm considering a bender for accuracy.
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Re: Proulx side bender?

Postby Barry Daniels » Mon Aug 14, 2017 8:06 pm

Yep, the sides come out smoother than hand bending. But it sounds like you've got hand bending down pretty good and the bender will not be all that much quicker.
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Re: Proulx side bender?

Postby Mario Proulx » Tue Aug 15, 2017 11:27 am

Bends with the bender take under 3 minutes....

And yes, way smoother and very consistent...
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Re: Proulx side bender?

Postby Waddy Thomson » Tue Aug 15, 2017 11:55 am

My less sophisticated version. 3 pieces of 2x4, one rounded to fit the waist, 6 quick grip clamps, stainless slats, blanket, mdf solid form, vise, router speed controller, gloves. Done in minutes, except for the baking & cooling part.

0062 (Medium).JPG
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Re: Proulx side bender?

Postby Mario Proulx » Tue Aug 15, 2017 11:27 pm

Love it..!
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Re: Proulx side bender?

Postby Waddy Thomson » Thu Aug 17, 2017 10:51 pm

It was your video that made me realize I didn't need a bunch of stuff. Bent my first 13 with a pipe. Loved it. Then I had a piece of Brazilian that would not cooperate. Kept twisting. Flattened it out and got out the stuff I already had, and set it up. I'll never go back.

Thank you!
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Re: Proulx side bender?

Postby Craig Bumgarner » Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:23 am

Waddy, got a link to that video?
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Re: Proulx side bender?

Postby Mario Proulx » Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:03 pm

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Re: Proulx side bender?

Postby Matthew Lau » Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:03 pm

Hey Mario,

In case I forgot to say it....thank you for sharing your knowledge and techniques!
I use your binding tape technique sometimes on straightforward jointing of backs/tops.
On not-straightforward cases, I use Randy Angella's wedging and nail technique...both work much better than the LMII jig that I'd bought years ago.
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Re: Proulx side bender?

Postby Mario Proulx » Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:52 pm

You're welcome! I've learned an awful lot from everyone around here, too.
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Re: Proulx side bender?

Postby Brian Evans » Sun Dec 10, 2017 8:01 am

What about the order to bend cutaways? That tight inside radius coming back to the neck block scares the heck out of me!

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Re: Proulx side bender?

Postby Pat Foster » Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:42 pm

I started with Cumpiano's approach from the C & N book and stuck with it. Why complicate something so simple?

DSCN6789.jpg
I like to start slow, then taper off.
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Re: Proulx side bender?

Postby Barry Daniels » Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:19 pm

I think cutaways are best done using the original Fox bender design with the extra press screw, and of course an electric blanket and spring steel slats.
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Re: Proulx side bender?

Postby Brian Evans » Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:10 pm

Is LMII the only supplier of the blankets, or are their any competitors?

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