folks, tried with little success to get a 1.5mm thick flame maple headsock piece to bend to the required radius [ 3 inch for jazz bass]. had it held over a vegetable steamer [ yep, i do things the HARD way ].

maybe i did'nt do it for long enough ??.   had to force it with clamps and when i glued it on, i had to cover the thing with clamps again and just HOPED it wouldn't split !.

the problem is i just don't get it to bend very easily.  should i first soak it ?.. maybe hot air dry it ?

i need to nail a basic method as i will soon be bending a 3mm thick bookmatched maple top on a jazz bass body  [ elbow profile section ].   nick

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I use a bending iron, and no problem with 1mm to 3mm maple (well 3 tends to be hard...). I never tried without a bending iron. You can make one with some light bulbs and a metalic piece of pipe, or a propane torch and a piece of metalic pipe... or buy one (lmii or stewmac). Search for "bending iron" on the internet (just made a test... and got a LOT of answers).

What he said. I knew a guy who used to bend banjo bodies using a pan of hot water on the kitchen stove, but I've never had any luck with anything other than a bending iron

when you use a bending iron do you have to soak the wood in hot water first ?

Not necessary to soak it, but keep it moist during the bending, spritz it with a spray bottle filled with De-ionized water.

And take your time :-) Gently, gently....:-) 


you must go thru the learning process so get some scrap material ,keep it moving and moist.Long soaks don't help as I ruined some Ovangkol(difficult for a 1st timer)thinking as you might.I use my furnace pipe in the winter.It's not good for tight bends but do have the propane & nice 2 1/2" piece of metal conduit from HomeDepot. The feel when the wood gives is like soft butter.Good advice above too.....I keep a wet cloth at hand too.

all your answers have helped me a great deal.. i will now make my own heated pipe bender. thanks to all of you....  nick

I use a piece of  steel 3" bacement jack post to bend the radius for the F model mandolin and a propane torch don't soak it just spray it each time it gets dry .Like Grahame said take your time . Bill............


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