Thanks everyone for you advice. To clarify, the wood strip is to be bent so it forms a 90 degree radius for the hand rail. I have used a softer wood and bent it successfully, but it is a light coloured wood which I was planning to then paint a dark brown. I had been toying with the idea of soaking the African walnut in very hot water and then trying to bend. I must admit, I have not seen the Aeropiccola plank bender before. I just have the one that resembles a pair of scissors; which finally broke the other day. I will buy some extra strips when I get the chance and perform different techniques as suggest. I tried to find a video on Youtube, but I couldn't find any on such a hard wood.
Thanks again for all your advice. This is only my fourth ship and I am still learning heaps.