I have a friend who owns a cnc machine and has kindly offered to help me make a side bender. It will probably be a simple enough design as he is fairly new to it and I have only a little woodworking experience, although I love guitar building. I see plans on line for the fox style bender but it seems a little difficult to assemble so I'm thinking along the lines of the one in this picture attached.My question is what wood should I be using or has anyone here built a similar jig ? I see where it says in some places to use Birch Ply but just wondering is there an alternative as its difficult to obtain good wood in my town especially birch ply. I;m guessing its because of the wet/dry/heat scenario where you need to dampen the sides to bend them and birch may be more stable  than other woods. I will also need springs and again cant be found around here so I;m brain storming to try come up with using springs from some other contraption but so far there's a light on but nobody home.  Any ideas much appreciated


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Actually I should also have asked if anyone knows if theres cnc plans available anywhere for the side bender ? that would make life easier for my friend as I assuming there's a way to program  in the dimensions to a CNC ?


Hi Kevin,  The side bender that you show looks as though it would be very functional.  The main disadvantage that I see is that you would be locked in to that one pattern for all your sides.  I got a hardware kit and plans from Luthier's Mercantile, years ago.  It allows you to have interchangeable bending forms for different shaped sides.  It also uses two 150 watt light bulbs as a heat source......considerably cheaper than a heating blanket. 

The Baltic Birch is nice, but a good quality plywood should function just fine.  Also, with the style bender you picture, it doesn't look as though you need springs.  The tension is supplied by the threaded bolts.  Good luck.


Many Thanks George, My friend came back to me this evening to say he had seen quite a few of them built with 18mm ply so I may go with that, A sheet of that here in Ireland is 70 bucks so I would hate to imagine what the more expensive Birch would have cost. About the heat source--would I not still need the heating blanket ? I thought I saw one on the site where its advertised-kennethmichaelguitars. Maybe not but I can check again. Also, I thought I could  have interchangeable forms made for this model as well or do you think that would not be possible ? If its not then I may have to change the plan and go for a different design as I would need at least 3 shapes or models of guitar. You got me wondering now George but thanks again 



 I would go to www.lenewee lutherie on page six Hesh has a very good picture of the Guitar bender that is the one i would build if I were you .with this bender you can just change your different forms for each size guitar .You can use the parts out of an old elctric stove for your lite bulbs to sit in. and you just need 3/4'' plywood to make it all from. Bill.........

Thanks Bill, I will check that out.

Kevin,  I agree with Bill.  Hesh's website takes you through the bending process in great detail, and there a good views of his Fox style side bender.  The frame stays the same, but the forms are interchangeable.  If you need more pictures, let me know.  The two lightbulbs are attached to the frame, but protrude up into the form, and heat up the bottom metal sheet.  They produce more than enough heat.


George , Thanks for that and if you do have some pictures I could send them on to my friend on the cnc. 




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