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grain orientation for solid maple binding

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grain orientation for solid maple binding

Postby Brian Evans » Mon Feb 08, 2016 12:20 pm

I want to use maple for the body binding, and test pieces have been hard to bend. What is the best grain orientation when I cut the bindings? I am ripping them from a board that is flat sawn, so given that the grain needs to be longitudinal but I can do it quartersawn (short grain perpendicular to the flat side of the binding strip) or flat sawn (long grain parallel to the flat side of the binding strip). I am planning 5/16" wide and .080" thick, is that a good choice? On-line advice seems to be to bend dry, or misted, and cold. Is that correct?

Thanks, Brian
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Re: grain orientation for solid maple binding

Postby David King » Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:26 pm

Brian, is it curly maple? I'd be tempted to do two layers at .030". You'll need some heat and a little moisture won't hurt at all. Maple should bend about as easily as anything, if it doesn't try a different piece of wood.
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Re: grain orientation for solid maple binding

Postby Bob Gramann » Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:50 pm

Generally, you want to orient the grain so that the flame shows best. If you have enough maple, splitting a piece and cutting your strips parallel to the split might make it easier to bend without breaking. I have found that when bent wet, it tends to fold on the curls, so I bend it dry with quite a bit more heat than usual. And, you don't want it to be any thicker than it has to be to fill your binding channel. With maple, any breaks or layers or any other joint will show.
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Re: grain orientation for solid maple binding

Postby Barry Daniels » Mon Feb 08, 2016 11:02 pm

Brian Evans wrote:On-line advice seems to be to bend dry, or misted, and cold. Is that correct?


The source of this information is highly suspect.
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Re: grain orientation for solid maple binding

Postby Mike Conner » Tue Feb 09, 2016 11:08 am

Brian, I have bent a decent amount of plain and curly red maple, but I am not as experienced as others. From my experience, (and not from suspect online sources ;-)

- The grain orientation for maple doesn't seem to matter to much - not much difference in stiffness flat vs quarter sawn.
- The thickness of the binding does matter for curly. 0.080" would be pushing it for me. My binding channels are 0.060" and I scrape the bindings to about 0.065" to 0.070" for bending. I don't panic if the hand scraping goes down to less than 0.060" because there is some glue thickness to account for it.
- I wipe with water about 5 min before bending and keep it slightly damp. Soaking caused the curly figure to break out.
- I have read about using fabric softener but will not try it due to skin allergy to liquid softener.
- I bend at about 350 deg F on my homemade bender - 2" steel pipe with charcoal starter heating element, controlled by a light dimmer.
- All the above also works for walnut binding, except walnut is stiffer in the quartersawn orientation compared to rift or flat sawn.

Good luck, and make more binding than you think you need!
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Re: grain orientation for solid maple binding

Postby Bob Gramann » Tue Feb 09, 2016 11:58 am

One more thing: I often bend maple binding with a sheet metal strap on the outside (I bend on a pipe like Mike does).
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Re: grain orientation for solid maple binding

Postby Alan Carruth » Wed Feb 10, 2016 4:17 pm

Water seems to weaken the bond between cells, particularly in tension, so wetting curly maple makes it more prone to splitting on the outside of the bend. It does help to wet the inside surface. Generally the rule with curly maple is 'more heat, less water', but you do have to watch scorching it. I've had good luck using Super Soft 2 with it. It might bend a little better if it's somewhat skew cut (with reference to the 'show' surface on the side), but then it can twist too. Hard maple seems to bend better than soft for me.
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Re: grain orientation for solid maple binding

Postby Craig Bumgarner » Wed Feb 10, 2016 5:51 pm

+1 on SuperSoft 2, hot pipe and no water for curly maple bindings.
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Re: grain orientation for solid maple binding

Postby Ryan Mazzocco » Wed Feb 10, 2016 7:30 pm

+2 on SS2. I've never bent curly maple without it and I have a 100% success rate. I don't see myself bending any figured wood without it in my future.
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Re: grain orientation for solid maple binding

Postby Todd Stock » Tue Feb 16, 2016 8:23 am

SS2 no less than 12 hours prior and no more than 24 hours. In a Fox bender, slat/foil/wet kraft paper/wood/wet kraft paper/foil slat/blanket/slat uses paper as a moisture reservoir - I can routinely bend highly figured maple with complex attached purfling at .070 with that approach. Ditto on orientation - pick the most attractive face and mill, and you will not likely see much difference. If bending cutaways, think about taping the binding together tightly to minimize any delay or fiber collapse on the purfs. If you do end up with some wiggles in the purfs, heat, clamp, and run a dot of thin CA to glue everything back together...they usually resolve.
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Re: grain orientation for solid maple binding

Postby Doug Shaker » Mon Jul 11, 2016 4:00 pm

Mike Conner wrote: - I have read about using fabric softener but will not try it due to skin allergy to liquid softener.


I have just tried using fabric softener to help bend some cherry wood for a rosette and
1) WOW, it really helps.
and
2) peeeYEW! Man, that stuff stinks. I got something labeled "Fresh April Scent" and man, if April smells like that, I need to go straight from March to May. GET THE UNSCENTED STUFF! Or wait until you can find it. Golly!
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