Fox Bender - Fixing a Crease in Bent Side

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Steve Gonwa
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Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:00 pm

Fox Bender - Fixing a Crease in Bent Side

Post by Steve Gonwa »

I bent an Indian Rosewood OM side very successfully using my fox style bender ( using light bulbs ). Really worked well.
Unfortunately on the second side, the center of the waist caul apparently sunk slightly too far down into the mold, probably because I screwed the caul down too hard and overtightened it or perhaps the other cauls weren't tightened down enough and slipped. Either way, lesson learned the hard way !

The result was a waist bend that went a bit too deep in the center, creating a slight 'V" shape instead of a nice smooth curve. It left a slight crease in the waist where it probably collapsed the wood fibers. I went through the fox bending process again and it seemed to smooth the waist curve out a bit, not perfect but better.

Is there any way to "repair" the creased area ? I don't have a bending pipe.

My only thoughts were to:
a. start over with a new set because I blew it
b. try moistening the creased area and steam it out with an iron ( like you would to repair a small dent )
c. carefully sand down either side of the crease to blend it in

Michael Lewis
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Re: Fox Bender - Fixing a Crease in Bent Side

Post by Michael Lewis »

DO NOT SAND IT DOWN! Try to fix the bend first. Do you have a body form you are going to glue up the sides and blocks in? Do you have a band saw?

I use outside forms (the form is on the outside of the guitar body) and sheet metal and C clamps to correct irregularities in the bends. If you don't have such a form you can make a section of the correct curve with your band saw and some scrap wood. I favor using sheet metal on both sides of the piece to be bent so both surfaces are forced to be smooth. You need a heat source, could be a light bulb (spot light), heat gun, but a clothes iron might be better. I use a heat blanket for these things. Obviously you need to get the wood hot enough to take a bend and set the "new" curve. Once it is hot it needs to be clamped into submission and let to cool. Stout flat sticks across the sheet metal should be used as cauls for the C clamps so you don't dent the metal or the side being bent.

Arnt Rian
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Re: Fox Bender - Fixing a Crease in Bent Side

Post by Arnt Rian »

I have used a product called "Super Soft II", along with a process similar to the one outlined by Michael, to fix stubbornly uneven or rippled sides. It is a veneer softener that can be sprayed onto the wood, and it works by "temporarily plasticizing wood cells", according to their product description. It might be helpful in your situation.

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Eddie McRae
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Re: Fox Bender - Fixing a Crease in Bent Side

Post by Eddie McRae »

Wood tends to want to return to it's original shape and form. This is why it's so easy to remove a dent in wood by steaming. The process softens and loosens the wood fibers so that they may return to original shape. In your case, my first course of action would be to try and steam the bend to straighten itself back out, removing the crease in the process. I'd probably use a damp cloth and a clothes iron for this situation. Also, I wouldn't try to do it all at once. I'd steam a little and then let cool....and then repeat the process until I'd worked out the problem. You shouldn't have to straighten the side with any bending. The steaming process should promote the side to straighten itself. Then I would re-bend the side......making sure to use good solid slats of some sort (spring steel, etc) on both sides of the side to provide support and keep it from trying to collapse.

Steve Gonwa
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Re: Fox Bender - Fixing a Crease in Bent Side

Post by Steve Gonwa »

Thanks for the advice everyone. I was able to steam out a good portion of the crease. Now I'll follow the suggestions to reform it in the form.

Gerry Gruber
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Re: Fox Bender - Fixing a Crease in Bent Side

Post by Gerry Gruber »

Hi Steve. I've found that spring steel can stain the wood. I like to put a layer of craft (brown bag) paper between the wood and the steel slat. (Incidentally, I bend on a pipe, and steel slats are just as applicable with that setup.)

Keep in mind too that your linings will reinforce the side, and if you are concerned about where the crease is (was), you could add a slightly wider side brace there. I've installed a 3/4" wide (1/4" thick quarter-cut spruce) side brace on occasion - the extra weight is next to nothing. I add a similar brace on the other side - remember the golden rule: If you make a mistake and want to cover it up, always do it symetrically. : )

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