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I just tried out my new Porter Cable hot air gun for the first time and the results were astonishing! I bent a 1/8" boxwood strip, 1/2" wide, in several directions in less thank a minute. No water, no opening grain and no marks. It's almost as if the lignins are liquified and retain their new shape as the heat is turned off. Although not happy about ruining a perfectly good strip of boxwood I'm never going back to soaking wood and clamping in place until dry to bend. But be careful not to burn your fingers!


I did use a blow dryer previously, as Chuck has demonstrated, and achieved mixed results but nothing comparable to the above. Here's a link for anyone interested. Thanks to Michael for exposing me to it (I believe) in one of his posts.


Edited by dvm27

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Using the heat gun will make Box more brittle so tight bends might be awkward.  Depending on the temperature, it will also char the wood if you're not careful.  By the way, you can use it for low temperature soldering as well.


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Just be careful with the heat, and keep the nozzle moving if you don't want scorched wood (or fingers)...Don't ask how I know about this....


I've got a commercial heat gun I've used for electronics and a wide variety of items...One thing that is very helpful is making a "cradle" to hold the heat gun in so you can have both hands for manipulating the part. I can't find mine in the shop just now so cannot post an image, but definitely helpful.


Once you realize what a strong, localized heat source can do you'll find all sorts of uses! 

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As long as you apply the heat gently and don't overheat the wood to the point where the lignin boils, everything should cool off OK and the strength will not be affected.

As others have cautioned - Be Careful. 

These things can start fires - I saw many fires started using these things for removing paint by pros and homeowners before I retired from the FD. 


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