Plank benders

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I, too, have used all of the methods shown here, and they all work, with some variation depending on thickness, type of wood and bend radius. The one thing I have been doing differently lately is that I have substituted pure methanol for cold water. I learned about this from a furniture manufacturer. Soaking time is about the same as water, but methanol doesn't remain in the wood and cause swelling the way water does. Rapid and complete evaporation seems to be easier on the wood fiber, too. A soldering iron can still be used after the soak. Rubbing alcohol works fine too, but it does contain water.
This may be a dumb question but where do you buy methanol? I never considered it so have not looked for it. I like the "no swelling" aspect. PT-2
 
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My first attempt as a “novice“ builder was to cut out a template of the curve required for the planks, soak the planks overnight and then let them dry clamped to the cut out form. Since I really didn’t know what I was doing it worked for me.

View attachment 186780

Recently I graduated to this tool.

View attachment 186781

I had to adapt it to USA voltage and after a bit of a learning curve find it does quite the job. It’s sold by Kolderstok.

Jan

My first attempt as a “novice“ builder was to cut out a template of the curve required for the planks, soak the planks overnight and then let them dry clamped to the cut out form. Since I really didn’t know what I was doing it worked for me.

View attachment 186780
I was thinking of doing this on my first build. Should work, I though, maybe add a little extra bend for springback, let's me use hot water but avoid shrinkage. How would this demonstrate that I don't know what I'm doing, other than maybe a lack of sophistication?
 
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Plank bending is definitely a conundrum for the hobby with many solutions! I have used two methods...well three really. First, depending on the thickness of the plank, I use CA gel and anchor one end...then work the plank around the curve using CA gel to anchor in place as I go. Works very well with thinner planks and gentle curves. Second I have used the electric plank bender as described above...soak the plank and work the curve using the hot tool and a form. Last, and actually how I work 80 percent of my curved planks, I use a mechanical plank bending tool. This is the plyer type tool with a blade on one jaw and a flat anvil for the other. It works by indenting the fat side of the plank causing the plank to curve. The closer the indents the sharper the curve. I just planked the Revenge 1577 using this tool (one version made by Amati).
I have the same tool. I bought it with my first kit because it was used in the instructional video. I have practiced and practiced but I have a very high rate of cutting through the wood. Too little and it doesnt bend. Just a bit too much and "snip!". And if I try to do any lateral bend at all the plank breaks at the weakened pinch locations. What's the secret?
 
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I've found that dry heat works best for any kind of bending of wood and have always used an electric plank bender. My first one from Aeropiccola lasted 30 years and finally died last year. I bought another last year and it's doing fine.
 
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I have the same tool. I bought it with my first kit because it was used in the instructional video. I have practiced and practiced but I have a very high rate of cutting through the wood. Too little and it doesnt bend. Just a bit too much and "snip!". And if I try to do any lateral bend at all the plank breaks at the weakened pinch locations. What's the secret?
I guess the secret is more practice? I think you are pinching too much to get the dimple needing to curve the plank. It really does not take much. I use the mechanical pincher plank bender a lot. I discovered a lite dimple works and then the closer the dimples the sharper the curve. I haven’t snipped the plank apart doing this but I can see how it would happen If you try going too deep. This tool is not helpful for lateral bends or compound bends...for those you need to go to one of the soaking methods. So, a lite but firm pinch works...as frustrating as it sounds, practice is the secret??
 
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I'm not familiar with Hakko tools, but if the tips fit the same way as they do into the Walmart iron, (there are holding screws at the tip of the iron) it might work??
I don't have a clue as your electrical outlet voltage, mine is 120v AC 60 cycle.

Mine is currently configured to "iron" my planks, I find it very convenient and have it on my worktable. I found one thing to be a necessity, a good stable soldering iron holder.

View attachment 187322

Jan
Thanks Yan, I am from Canada, so I have the same electric specs than you.
 
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I guess the secret is more practice? I think you are pinching too much to get the dimple needing to curve the plank. It really does not take much. I use the mechanical pincher plank bender a lot. I discovered a lite dimple works and then the closer the dimples the sharper the curve. I haven’t snipped the plank apart doing this but I can see how it would happen If you try going too deep. This tool is not helpful for lateral bends or compound bends...for those you need to go to one of the soaking methods. So, a lite but firm pinch works...as frustrating as it sounds, practice is the secret??
Ok. I've tried a lot of practice, but it seems to work for some people, so it must be possible! I. right take a stone and run it across the cutting edge of the blade slightly. It is very, very sharp. A spare came with it. Good to,know about lateral curves. Once again, in the Amati video, a highly practiced presenter uses it on planks bent both round the bow and laterally to fit the sheer and it worked. Also, when I have used it, and it didnt snip through, the plnk didnt curve as it was pinched, which it does in the video demonstrations, but it did become quite malleable and easy to bend.
 
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I am going to stick to water and soldering iron too. Just curious, but other than the not swelling of the wood, is there any other advantage to using methanol? Some people also use household ammonia in a capped PVC pipe for the same reason.
 
Joined
Feb 22, 2020
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I, too, have used all of the methods shown here, and they all work, with some variation depending on thickness, type of wood and bend radius. The one thing I have been doing differently lately is that I have substituted pure methanol for cold water. I learned about this from a furniture manufacturer. Soaking time is about the same as water, but methanol doesn't remain in the wood and cause swelling the way water does. Rapid and complete evaporation seems to be easier on the wood fiber, too. A soldering iron can still be used after the soak. Rubbing alcohol works fine too, but it does contain water.
Jimmy, you've got way more experience with ship models than I do, but isn't leaning over methanol fumes, as you steam it out of the wood, dangerous? I mean aside from the issues with heavier-than-air highly flammable fumes, methanol can cause a lot of neurological problems and vision damage including blindness.
 
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Jimmy, you've got way more experience with ship models than I do, but isn't leaning over methanol fumes, as you steam it out of the wood, dangerous? I mean aside from the issues with heavier-than-air highly flammable fumes, methanol can cause a lot of neurological problems and vision damage including blindness.
I have started using isopropyl alcohol (97%) and it is doing my needs in cold fluid and hot iron for longer bends; nothing small radius yet. I dries very quickly. PT-2
 
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Detroit Michigan USA
I use this one, I dont think they make it anymore. Works great. You can use either end depending on the radius your bending.
 

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Ok. I've tried a lot of practice, but it seems to work for some people, so it must be possible! I. right take a stone and run it across the cutting edge of the blade slightly. It is very, very sharp. A spare came with it. Good to,know about lateral curves. Once again, in the Amati video, a highly practiced presenter uses it on planks bent both round the bow and laterally to fit the sheer and it worked. Also, when I have used it, and it didnt snip through, the plnk didnt curve as it was pinched, which it does in the video demonstrations, but it did become quite malleable and easy to bend.
If its the black plastic one, the blade is reversible. Remove(may need to lever a corner) turn it over to the blunt side
 
Joined
Dec 15, 2019
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Glendora, California
Wet or Dry wood and use a plank bender. brittle woods need to be wet.

Recently my wife asked if I could fix her curling iron. While fixing a disconnected wire in the Iron it dawned on me that this would make a good plank bender! Fearing the rathe of the house god I could not use her iron.

While visiting the local Goodwill store they had a box full of working curling Irons. I found one with a temperature control for the princely sum of $3. I built a fixture that would hold the iron with the cylinder horizonal and could be clamped to my work bench. So far I find it easer to work with then my plank bender.

Jim Nunn
 
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Ok. I've tried a lot of practice, but it seems to work for some people, so it must be possible! I. right take a stone and run it across the cutting edge of the blade slightly. It is very, very sharp. A spare came with it. Good to,know about lateral curves. Once again, in the Amati video, a highly practiced presenter uses it on planks bent both round the bow and laterally to fit the sheer and it worked. Also, when I have used it, and it didnt snip through, the plnk didnt curve as it was pinched, which it does in the video demonstrations, but it did become quite malleable and easy to bend.
Ah...I think I understand the problem...the blade in my Amati plank bender tool is fairly dull...not sharp. Thus when I create a dimple the indent is not a “cut” but more of a compression of the wood fibers. It is this compression that forces the plank to curve. Try dulling the blade even more so when you apply pressure it does not cut the wood but compresses the wood into a shallow dimple. My apologies for not picking up on this. I hope this works out because I use my tool all the time with very good results.
 
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HI ALL I HAVE USED A REMINGTON HAIR CURLER FOR YEARS NOW ALONG WITH SOAKING AS NECESSARY WORKS GREAT FOR ME NO SCORCHING, I USE THIS CONSTANTLY. GOD BLESS STAY SAFE DON
 
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