Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Yes, I use a electric heated ( a soldering iron with a bulb on the tip) and wooden formers to get the strips to the approximate curve and twist needed. With practice I can now be very accurate with the thing. Soak the strips for a few minutes and go to it! Well worth the cost for the time and energy  saved. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Appreciate the response. Thoughts on a manual bender ($21) Do you think that would be better suited to a beginner?

 

David

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a first time wooden model ship builder - AL's Hermione - so I'm still trying to find the best way to do pretty much everything. I bought one of the electric plank benders but never got it to behave well. I saw the hair curler idea somewhere in MSW pages and "borrowed" one from my wife. I set it vertically by clamping it into a hole drilled into a small piece of wood. I found it to work well and quickly with a lot of flexibility about amount and angle of the bend. It works well when trying to add a twist to the planking. I've also had some recent success with soaking to wood to be bent in ammonia. It seems to allow for tighter bends and there doesn't seem to be as much "rebound" after the initial bending has been done and the ammonia has dried.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another beginner chiming in! I've been using the cheap Amati plank bender (like Sea Hoss), it works very well.

Make sure the iron is hot, then just dip the strips in water for a second (I've found no need to soak the strips for any period of time). I edge bend the strips with the iron and some clamps before using the wooden-form to curve them, found that to give better results.

 

I tried using the manual bending tool before buying the electric one, but found that to be too annoying, frustrating and slow to be of any use.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
53 minutes ago, kriss1 said:

Another beginner chiming in! I've been using the cheap Amati plank bender (like Sea Hoss), it works very well.

Make sure the iron is hot, then just dip the strips in water for a second (I've found no need to soak the strips for any period of time). I edge bend the strips with the iron and some clamps before using the wooden-form to curve them, found that to give better results.

 

I tried using the manual bending tool before buying the electric one, but found that to be too annoying, frustrating and slow to be of any use.

Dear all,

does anybody have experience with soaking the strips for some minutes in hot water (~80°C) and bending them directly therafter by fixing on right plyce of the hull? I read it somewhere in the forum. One simple problem for me: One end (stern) maybe easily soaked, but whats about soaking and heating the other end (bow) when the strip is fixed on the hull. It may be a silly question but I did not got a solution so far.

Clark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, Clark said:

Dear all,

does anybody have experience with soaking the strips for some minutes in hot water (~80°C) and bending them directly therafter by fixing on right plyce of the hull? I read it somewhere in the forum. One simple problem for me: One end (stern) maybe easily soaked, but whats about soaking and heating the other end (bow) when the strip is fixed on the hull. It may be a silly question but I did not got a solution so far.

Clark

Yes, on my first two models I tried this. I did not like this method, it may have been my lack of skills, the wood type/thickness or not enough soak. If I had to use that method again I think i would cut the strips in to shorter pieces.

 

You could also remove the strip after it has dried on the hull - don't glue or fix permanently when wet, it should retain it's shape, and then soak the other end.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kriss,

Each strake of planking is usually comprised of several pieces so it should be easy enough to wet the aft piece and fore piece for each strake separately.  Just be sure they are kept separate, or marked, as the taper for the fore end and aft end pieces will be different.  

Allan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I often use the method of:

 

  • taper plank as required for position to be fitted, either fore or aft.
  • Soak plank in hot water
  • clamp in required position till dry
  • remove ( should retain shape) then glue and clamp in place

The only down side is if the model does not have enough bulkheads the plank will look to be stepped rather than a gradual curve. This is where shaping with an iron wins.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I suggest anybody who wants to master bending wood, before they do anything else, read Bending Solid Wood to Form, a 1957 publication of the U.S. Department of Agriculture: https://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/usda/ah125.pdf There's really no point in "trying to reinvent the wheel" here, guys.

 

There are a few basics. In the sizes modelers need to bend, the task is an easy one. (In larger sizes, the rule of thumb is one hour in the steam box for each inch of thickness!) Remember that bending quality varies greatly with the particular wood species used. Hardwoods bend more easily than softwoods, as a general rule. "Green" (unseasoned) wood bends well. Dried wood, not so well. Even so, bending quality is a crap-shoot. It can vary even based on the location the wood was grown. You do your best with what you have to work with. Again, bending small stuff is a lot less hassle than bending thicker stock. 

 

The bad news is that the moisture content of the wood is a major determining factor is its bend-ability. Kiln-dried wood isn't good for bending and most all of what modelers will encounter will be kiln-dried. "Dry" is a relative term, however. It refers to the moisture content of the stock, not whether it's been soaked in water before bending! That moisture content has to be throughout the stock, not just on the outside. For the scientifically inclined, decent bending stock should have a moisture content of between twelve and twenty percent (of water by weight.) Air-dried stock stored at room temperature in average humidity should have suitable moisture content. 

 

Wood with a sufficient moisture content will be more "plastic," or bendable. If wood doesn't have sufficient moisture content, it can be steamed or soaked in boiling water to increase its moisture content (which takes time) and heat it. (The steam or boiling water is often more effective in transferring heat to the stock than in increasing overall moisture content, though.) Steaming or soaking is often necessary for larger pieces, but much less so for small stuff used in modeling. Generally speaking, you don't have to soak your planking material to bend it and have it stay put. All that usually needs be done is heat it through and through and hold it in position until it cools sufficiently to lose enough of its plasticity that it "sets."

 

In most every instance, it's about the heat, not the moisture. So, you should try to do your bending with dry heat, some sort of a heating iron or in the microwave, before getting involved in the complication and mess of steam and hot water. Use a clothing iron, a curling iron, or one of the commercial electric "plank benders."

 

When planking, do as Chuck Passaro says in some of his great build logs: first spile the plank accurately (cut it to a flat shape that will fit when bent.) You can read up on spiling in the "planking' instructions in the forum resources section. After you have the plank shaped, it should be bent to fit first before fastening it at all. The goal is to have a perfectly cut and bent plank that fits right where you want it. Some trimming may be required, or some further tweaking with the bending iron, but a properly cut and bent plank should be easily glued and fastened in place. You should not have to be trying to bend one end to fit while the other is already fastened. A pre-formed plank will also be much easier to clamp in place while the glue dries. Trying to counteract the spring of an unbent plank with a glue bond is a poor practice that often promises sprung planks down the road.

 

A heat source is a matter of personal preferance. I prefer my old Aeropicola plank bender pictured below. It has a "French curve" shaped heated head that permits bending a fair curve to whatever shape one wants. It also has a spring-loaded bail on the end under which the plank can be slipped to hold it while it is bent and/or twisted while the heat is applied. These two features, which I haven't seen on any of the other "plank benders" on the market, put it head and shoulders about the competition. Unfortunately, they are no longer made, but do come up on fleaBay occasionally.

 

With decent bending stock and sufficient heat, bending shouldn't be anything to intimidate the modelers starting out. It actually is rather satisfying work. Bending wood is the difference between "carpentry" and "boatbuilding!"

 

 

 

 

 

See the source image
Edited by Bob Cleek

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, marktiedens said:

I also have that plank bender - most useful tool I have ever bought.

 

Mark

Thanks all for the hints and the tips. You convinced me to buy a plank bender. The one of Aeropicola is not available at least in Germany. Does anybody has ever tested the one shown in the picture? Clark

image.png.ecba4881c4f031fc66672705c18a05b9.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Clark said:

Thanks all for the hints and the tips. You convinced me to buy a plank bender. The one of Aeropicola is not available at least in Germany. Does anybody has ever tested the one shown in the picture? Clark

 

How about this one?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

 

I have the model craft plank bender but find it only successful if you first soak the plank. I use it to shape the plank and dry it out at the same time. It has never worked when using un soaked planks and has the tendency to scorch it if you persist. 

 

It would be lovely to be able to spil the planks to get the right shape but unfortunately not really feasible with the timber strips provided in a kit as too narrow to start with. Buying timber in the uk, even if you only want to upgrade, is not easy and far too expensive for my budget.

 

£564 for the diana kit and £250 more to change the second planking! I replaced the deck planking for £55 but it needs to go back as quality worse than what came in the kit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, I have noticed that you live in Germany but the plank bender you have shown is 230V. Just check before you buy as I assume you are 110V in Germany.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/21/2019 at 7:34 AM, Thunder said:

Hi, I have noticed that you live in Germany but the plank bender you have shown is 230V. Just check before you buy as I assume you are 110V in Germany.

Thanks for all the replies. Regarding the voltage problem, we have 230 V in Germany. The one shown is 33 Euro. I ordered it. However, I am already facing the problem that the planks I am working with have to be bended in two directions. I will problably start with a longer test perid when the bender has been arrived.

Thanks again 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have the Aeropiccola, but I have never really known how to use it. Do I use a form, or just apply the iron and bend by hand?  I’ve never seen any thread about how to use heated plank benders. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Griphos said:

I have the Aeropiccola, but I have never really known how to use it. Do I use a form, or just apply the iron and bend by hand?  I’ve never seen any thread about how to use heated plank benders. 

Use it however it works for you. The "bail" is for slipping the strip of wood under to hold it while the bend it made over the curved face of the iron. You can slip the plank through the bail and bend in increments progressively to get whatever degree of curve you want. The bail can also be moved to the other hole so you can pick a gentle curve or a sharper one. The iron can also be held in a vise and the plank bent over the iron while it's held in two hands at either end. This is a good way to work twist into a plank.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Griphos said:

I like the vise idea. 

 

So, basically, I just move the wood over the iron, bending slowly. 

Yes, and hold it in the position in which you want it to stay until it cools enough to stay there by itself. There will likely be some "springback," which may or may not require further "over-bending." Experiment with that and you'll get the hang of it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’m used to soaking a plank in hot water and then bending on a jig with nails to hold the shape.  Does bending with a hot iron improve on that?  

 

Thanks for the help. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Griphos said:

I’m used to soaking a plank in hot water and then bending on a jig with nails to hold the shape.  Does bending with a hot iron improve on that?  

 

Thanks for the help. 

Yes, assuming average moisture content for the wood at ambient humidity levels (e..g. 12-18% water by weight,) bending with dry heat should be adequate and will save you the mess and hassle of dealing with hot water and wet wood as well as using a jig. It's the heat that relaxes the lignin in the wood, making it less rigid and "woody." When the lignin cools, the wood returns to its original rigid and "woody" nature, and the form in which the wood was bent and held until cooled (which takes very little time,) is retained. In many ways, it is like heating and bending a piece of plastic. Lignin is actually a cross-linked phenolic polymer.

 

Steaming wood is only necessary for larger pieces as a method of heating the wood through and through. Steam is a good conductor of heat that won't burn the outside of the wood piece. The same is true of boiling water. In neither case does the steam or boiling water contribute to making the wood flexible, really. It's all about the heat conveyed by the steam or boiling water. This is not to be confused with the "moisture content" of the wood. That affects the ability of heat to be transmitted throughout the piece. The average moisture content of a piece of wood of the size used in modeling will permit dry heat to travel through the piece sufficiently well for bending purposes. If you are building a real boat with 1" X 2" frames, you have to steam them for an hour to get the heat sufficiently distributed throughout the piece to bend the frame effectively. (Steam is used only because it's the easiest way to generate heat and transfer it to a larger piece of wood in a "steam box, " which may be accomplished as simply as putting the length of wood in a stove pipe with a hose from a "kettle" and rags stuffed into either end.) If it's 1/8" x 1/4", direct dry heat applied to the piece from a hot iron should do the job perfectly well. Experimenting with a microwave oven may also be productive, but the drawback there is that the microwave heats the whole piece, so handling it can become difficult without heat-resistant gloves. The wood has to be too hot to hold without heat-protection when properly bending it. The use of a bending iron permits the application of the heat to be localized so one can hold onto the piece and only apply heat where it is needed.

 

Remember the similarity to bending heated plastic: the heat and the bending have to be done together. The wood is only plastic when and for so long as it remains sufficiently heated. As it cools, it will quickly become stiff again. Often, the bend must be held in place while it cools so the bend will "set" when it cools off.

Edited by Bob Cleek

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have used a soldering iron type of plank bender and a compact hairdryer for plank shaping in my builds. I have had my iron type for nearly 20 years of reliable service. When I had to form quite a few planks for the bow of the Confederacy,I remembered GaryKap's note in his log about using a one pound coffee can/tin ( a hard thing to find in this 12 oz  world) for the 6" radius. Attached the can to my work bench. Soaked the planks for 10 minutes in a tall jar. Clamped one end of the planks to the can and using the bender worked them around the the can until the point where they matched the curve + a bit for spring back. I then clamped the other end at that point. Finally used the hair dryer to completely dry the plank. The can also heats up and drys the opposite side. I also use the electric iron to twist bend the planks for the stern runs. Wet the planks, clamp to bulkhead at the start of the run,heat and form to shape required.

Confedercy 001.JPG

Confedercy 004.JPG

Confedercy 006.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

About us

Modelshipworld - Advancing Ship Modeling through Research

SSL Secured

Your security is important for us so this Website is SSL-Secured

NRG Mailing Address

Nautical Research Guild
237 South Lincoln Street
Westmont IL, 60559-1917

About the NRG

If you enjoy building ship models that are historically accurate as well as beautiful, then The Nautical Research Guild (NRG) is just right for you.

The Guild is a non-profit educational organization whose mission is to “Advance Ship Modeling Through Research”. We provide support to our members in their efforts to raise the quality of their model ships.

The Nautical Research Guild has published our world-renowned quarterly magazine, The Nautical Research Journal, since 1955. The pages of the Journal are full of articles by accomplished ship modelers who show you how they create those exquisite details on their models, and by maritime historians who show you the correct details to build. The Journal is available in both print and digital editions. Go to the NRG web site (www.thenrg.org) to download a complimentary digital copy of the Journal. The NRG also publishes plan sets, books and compilations of back issues of the Journal and the former Ships in Scale and Model Ship Builder magazines.

Our Emblem

Modelshipworld - Advancing Ship Modeling through Research
×
×
  • Create New...