After reading this thread, which certainly got my attention I went in search for a hot air re-solder station as described.
I was amazed how cheap they are, I opted for a reevla station which is a knock off of a better unit but seemed to have pretty good feedback.
It was only £26 ($40 ish) including delivery so a pretty low risk if it proved rubbish.
It arrived yesterday (late xmas list item) so I spend some time last night having a play.
I must first say how impressed I was with the functionality and even the build (given the price).
Much like Michael's it has a dial for wind speed and a digital readout with up and down buttons for temperature.
It has a sensor in the handle such that when you replace the tool in its cradle it switches to cold air.
That ensures it does not continue to blow hot and shorten element life, be a risk etc.
When you pick it back up it reverts to your last selected temperature and gets there in just moments.
You should wait till lower than 100C before turning it off but that was about 15 seconds.
Because the heat is so localised it is pretty safe, you can hold a piece of timber 1/2" or so away from the nozzle quite easily.
It's very low noise because of the low volume fan.
So I'm pleased with the tool itself.
I ran a few simple trials with some 1/8 x 1/4 maple strips.
A bit early to draw conclusions.
The advise is to use highest flow rate with minimum temperature to prolong element life, so I started low and gradually wound up the temperature.
Below 250C the effects were minimal.
At about 300C the wood was pliable enough to hand bend, I managed to break a few bits by being too keen.
My trials seemed to have a fair amount of spring back, up to half of the bend sometimes.
I think more trials, probably higher temp and better technique might help there.
One problem I did find was the speed of handling required.
You can raise the wood temperature locally and quickly but once the heat is off it cools very quickly.
I need to try with the wood already under strain maybe.
More trials required but I must say it looks promising.
Many thanks to Michael for the pointer.