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Can you water bend glued wood?

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I wouldn't recommend it for a number of reasons.  Once glued, then soaked, the planks may come off as the water dissolves the glue (true of steaming also).  Also, wood needs to compress or expand as it is bent in one direction or the other.  You will have differing rates of compression on the outer and inner sides.


Best to place the bulwarks first I think.





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In a word "no". As Pat explained the expansion/compression will cause problems, in addition if you use a water based glue it will come undone whilst soaking. It's not that hard to pre-bend and then fit the inner planks - just need a lot of clips to hold it firmly on the bulwarks as you glue it.


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No... I wouldn't recommend it either. Easier to put the bulwark and then, if needed, bend the individual planks as stated above. You may not even need to pre-bend the planks, just press them hard against the bulwark while the glue dries.

There aren't but two options: do it FAST, or do it RIGHT.


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An easy way to bend these is with a old curling iron.  Put them in water for about 10 minutes, then use the curling iron to bend them into shape.  Let cool and Bob's your uncle.

"The shipwright is slow, but the wood is patient." - me

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If you were to fabricate the multi layer bulwark complex and then bend it:

If the glue joints survived the stress -  which is not likely.

If the interior components did not break due the the compression force  -  depending on the species of wood, also unlikely

The interior components would be applying force to reverse the bend.


If you pre bend each layer and then assemble it, the interior components will help hold the bent shape.

NRG member 45 years



HMS Centurion 1732 - 60-gun 4th rate - Navall Timber framing

HMS Beagle 1831 refiit  10-gun brig with a small mizzen - Navall (ish) Timber framing

The U.S. Ex. Ex. 1838-1842
Flying Fish 1838  pilot schooner -  framed - ready for stern timbers
Porpose II  1836  brigantine/brig - framed - ready for hawse and stern timbers
Vincennes  1825  Sloop-of-War  -  timbers assembled, need shaping
Peacock  1828  Sloop-of -War  -  timbers ready for assembly
Sea Gull  1838  pilot schooner -  timbers ready for assembly
Relief  1835  ship - timbers ready for assembly


Portsmouth  1843  Sloop-of-War  -  timbers ready for assembly
Le Commerce de Marseilles  1788   118 cannons - framed

La Renommee 1744 Frigate - framed - ready for hawse and stern timbers


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