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Y.T.

Revelation about Aeropicolla plank bender

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Posted (edited)

I had owned  Aeropicolla plank bender for about two years. I purchased it on eBay. Despite of it being praised as best bender in this world I never was happy about it. Yes. I was able to bend some thin wood strips but it always was with big effort. Lots of good wood strips got broken. Finally a few days ago trying to find what the problem was I dismantled it out of curiosity. Guess what? It was not meant to be taken apart. Heating element got damaged. Heating wire and isolation mica all fell apart with no hope to put it back. 

9634CD74-6BDE-4F68-801C-D98EFA622DE7.jpeg

Edited by Y.T.

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Posted (edited)

Only at this moment it occurred to me to measure resistance of heating element. It was 500 ohms. Well. Going back to school formula at US/Canada voltage of 110V the power of this device was only 25 watts. This was hardly enough to bend wood. As I recall bending element was hardly ever hot enough to have a water to boil. I now am sure I got Aeropicolla device which got to North America just changing an electrical plug but with same heating element. In Europe at 220V same device produced about 100 watts of heat. Here it does just a quarter of it due to voltage. I purchased 40 watts solder iron and connected Aeropicolla head to it as shown. It bends wood much better now than before.  This arrangement does good job but I still wish for something more powerful. Going for 80 watts soldering iron now. I will let you know how it works as I try it. 

B567C48B-FE40-4867-B0F7-2F9D465950E6.jpeg

Edited by Y.T.

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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, Altduck said:

YT

Think of as having saved yourself continued irritation and frustration for years to come, give it a decent burial and find another way to bend your planks.

😉

I still don’t give up. I don’t know better way bending my planks yet. 

Edited by Y.T.

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14 minutes ago, John Allen said:

YT,

 

A soup can, hurricane or tea candle, and soaked strips. Quickest way to bend multiple strips at a time.

Hi John, can you please elaborate on this method? I do not know what you mean.

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Posted (edited)

Mine had no UL labelling, no tags at all. As I said it was 500 Ohms resistance which may provide 25 watts heat power maximum. This is not enough to bend anything. Does your bender have a tag with wattage? What is wattage on your bender? Could you check please? Maybe you could also check a coil resistance?

Edited by Y.T.

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I never needed tools to bend wood. My current boat is 1:10 scale and the planks were 2 mm thick, same for the ribs. My method is pretty simple. Throw the strips in boiling water, leave for a minute or two, take out and immediately secure in place and leave for a few hours. For very long pieces, leave under tap with very hot water coming out and do the same. The wood bends without breaking.

 

I must admit for these tasks I choose wood that bends easily like maple and beech. The wood can take extreme bends. Fruit woods like cherry and pear to my experience do not bend as well.

 

For very tight bends I use the tool women use to get curly hair (My mothers from the 70's). I soak the wood first and then pass it through, it takes crazy bends and easily wraps round my finger

 

Humidity is as important as heat, my 2 c

 

Vaddoc

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Posted (edited)

Guitarbuilders work with woods in this range of thicknesses, and very few of them still use hot water because it raises the grain and takes some time to dry out.  But if you wish to use hot water,  the addition of fabric softener (e.g.Downey) can act as a plasticizer, but it may impart an oder that will take some time to disperse.  Try this on scrap first.


Instead most luthiers bend wood dry or lightly misted and then wrapped in aluminum foil, and use a heating blanket on a mould, or bend dry wood freehand on a heated pipe.  There are commercial electric benders, or some builders place an electric BBQ starter inside the pipe, or the heating element from a hotwater heater. The range of heat needed is ~250-375F in a mould, sometimes to 400-500F on  pipe.  By the way, wood bends in compression, but not in expansion, and so a strap (thin spring steel or stainless steel) on the outer side of a curve helps to prevent greenstick fractures.  Maybe a 1/2"-3/4" tape measure could be used as a strap - use your judgement.

 

https://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tools/Tools_by_Job/Tools_for_Bending_Sides/Bending_Iron.html

Edited by Bob Blarney

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Looks like there is as many wood bending methods as we have users on this forum. This is great. Always learning something reading it. 

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4 hours ago, marktiedens said:

Y.T. - my bender also measures 500 ohms,but the label says 50 watts. I can tell you it gets a lot hotter than any hair curling iron I have seen!

 

Mark

Hi Mark. Thanks a lot for information. 

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For bending, all the water soak does is provide a medium for the heat to reach inside to the core.  Then again, everyone has their own pet method.  Mine is the aforementioned curling iron.  Sometime with a water soak and sometimes not.

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Posted (edited)

All simplistic ways of wood  bending explained here are true. I however work with small scale ship building. This often involves bending of moulding strips which don’t want to be bent right way whatever I do. This moulding has triangular profile. Bending it is tricky. 

72958DB8-BC55-4A2E-B8A5-2D61A7E328E7.jpeg

Edited by Y.T.

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On 8/24/2019 at 8:09 AM, Y.T. said:

I do not know what you mean.

YT

Will send picks later this date, I'll confuse you trying to explain, just confused myself thinking how to explain pics coming in a bit.

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20 hours ago, Gaetan Bordeleau said:

this one is at least 30 years old and works perfectly, the wood must always be wet to bend properly

IMG_1534.jpg

Yeah, but it also must be a certain type of wood and thin enough to bend, I don't care how wet the wood is. If you are trying to bend a 2mm thick walnut strip with that, good luck getting a good curve out of it without breaking the wood. I have tried numerous plank benders including this one and they couldn't get the job done.

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On 8/23/2019 at 10:17 PM, Y.T. said:

I had owned  Aeropicolla plank bender for about two years. I purchased it on eBay. Despite of it being praised as best bender in this world I never was happy about it. Yes. I was able to bend some thin wood strips but it always was with big effort. Lots of good wood strips got broken. Finally a few days ago trying to find what the problem was I dismantled it out of curiosity. Guess what? It was not meant to be taken apart. Heating element got damaged. Heating wire and isolation mica all fell apart with no hope to put it back. 

9634CD74-6BDE-4F68-801C-D98EFA622DE7.jpeg

curiosity kills the cat and breaks plank benders.

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I wonder if I am missing something here. What's wrong with using a tiny travel iron? It steams on demand and is very, very hot. I've been using this for years and it seems to work very well. What would be the advantage of using this little bender? 

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YT,

 

Here are the pics

 

b1.jpg.e2383e4d2e295138119da8b2d8711ca7.jpg

Soup cans graduated sizes up to a large 32 ounce can for very large builds. Tea candles or cheap storm candles can be cut to size to fit in can and a clamp

 

b2.jpg.5e30e9e196694fe32c4b07452091ac8d.jpg

 

b4.jpg.1b7a8ee303b10b4a9c274a9ad7044264.jpg

Exert pressure left index finger while putting pressure with right fingers on plank end

 

b5.jpg.0cfba4ee80d6a4cd8b692fc325495dd0.jpg

Had soaked this strip for 2 mins. bent strip in less than 30 seconds, with practice you can bend 3 to 4 at a time, can will get hot and burn users fingertips if not careful only took once for me.

 

Lot of folks poo pooed this procedure but it works and works fast

can also get an angular bend when planking towards the stern, takes a little practice. 

Its not pretty as a store bought but it do work as they say out in the woods. So if the shoe fits wear it. :rolleyes:

 

b3.jpg

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This tin method looks nice John.

I found this photo, maybe interesting. 100 cm mahogany strip. This strip was used to make mast hoops.

Walnut will not easily bent, will break obliquely due to interlocked grain. 

strip.jpg.79275881e46dc21a3b723ad5cf6a591a.jpg

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2 hours ago, John Allen said:

Its not pretty as a store bought but it do work as they say out in the woods.

I like 'simple' and will try that. There will probably be trouble with the Admiral when she sees why I put '2kg can of beans' on the shopping list.

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Tell her the beans of for the ships crew, but be careful  Admirals like their candles if you lift make sure its a cheapy she won't miss.

 

Made a mistake and took a funny colored candle to begin with, very, very bad was an expensive one she specially ordered to go with her rare Jamestown candlestick.  

You would have thought she caught me cheating with another woman, that tongue lashing lasted 3 days. I'd been better off caught with another woman.:wacko:

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3 hours ago, vaddoc said:

This tin method looks nice John.

I found this photo, maybe interesting. 100 cm mahogany strip. This strip was used to make mast hoops.

Walnut will not easily bent, will break obliquely due to interlocked grain. 

strip.jpg.79275881e46dc21a3b723ad5cf6a591a.jpg

Mahogany bends nicely, as do some rose woods. I wonder if English walnut is substantially different; I haven't particularly noticed any interlocked grain. I've bent American black walnut into curves, but never so tightly coiled, without any problems.  It may be how the wood is sawn or if it's riven. 

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4 hours ago, John Allen said:

Vaddoc,

 

Now that's a winner, a link how that was done?

Pretty easily actually. Soak the strips in water, use the hair curling women's iron. 

I ve never really had a problem to get wood to bend. I experimented with steam, microwave etc but simple boiling water and immediate position in place is really enough for the very thin strips we use. Raising the grain is not an issue as it can be easily sorted with 400 grit paper.

 

Out of the pot, bend straight into position!

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Posted (edited)
44 minutes ago, vaddoc said:

..... but simple boiling water and immediate position in place is really enough for the very thin strips we use.....

 

Out of the pot, bend straight into position!

Yeah. If this is THE solution I will stop throwing money and efforts away. But what to do if strip is 2 x 2 millimetre and triangular moulding profile. How to hold this softened piece in place on my model? Note that curvature is steep.

Edited by Y.T.

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