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Edge bending planks


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So, I've prowled the forum, and the Googlesphere, but can't find a genuine answer.  How can you bend planks on their edge?

 

I've got the normal bending down OK, using my daughter's old hair curler.  However the model I'm doing now (AVS) wants me to bend edge-wise.  Here's a pic from the practicum:

 

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So far I've tried ammonia and long time soaking.  I've even tried to invent jigs to effect the curve, but it's hit and miss.

 

I don't want to take the easy way of using wider planks and carving to shape.  It will be even trickier for the top, walnut planks!

 

So, any solution out there?

 

Thanks,

 

Brett

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If the wood is soft and wet you can slightly bend (edge set)  and it will stay in that shape when dry.  Harder woods cannot be easily edge set and will lift. 

There are several write ups on this site on planking, including spiling.  Why fight the wood when you can cut it to  the shape that will allow it to lay without trying to fight the wood?

 

Allan

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Hello, I'm here with the gentlemen above: Don't fight with wood! All you have to do is taking a wider plank which you will then trim to make look like curved. I believe for practical reasons is always better to use in our models pre-shaped pieces which have no internal tension trying to reverse to some previous "flat" state. Of course you will need a wood with small grain which will not show the trick. 

 

As a disclaimer, haven't tried that myself, yet for practical reasons when doing planking, instead of using curved wood which comes up very poorly, I generally use 1 mm plywood from which I cut curved "planks". The curve is generally taken with a paper jig, so the finished piece is made to fit perfectly to its place without any need of edgeside bending. 

Edited by Doreltomin
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Greetings Ortho...

 

I generally agree with Allan and my apparent fellow Rhode Islander. It is not natural for wood strips to edge bend because the compression side bunches up and the tension side stretches and wants to pull apart. One solution is to cut small scores (or pie shapes) on the compression side so the compressed wood has a place to go. The scores should extend at least to the middle of the strip, through the neutral axis. If done carefully, this will work but the scores may show if the part is to be left unpainted. Another method I have used, particularly at the bow, is to laminate three or four square section strips of wood together since the square strips bend easily. I do this in place, one strip at a time until the the desired width is achieved.With sanding, the seems will all but disappear if the strips lay together tightly. You can use the same method almost anywhere. Keep in mind that the planking strips supplied with model kits can be out of scale so you could split them in half for an easier bend and still be correct scale wise, especially on a transom. However, it is easier to carve (spile) an oversize plank than to fight with edge bending. wq3296

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Greetings Augie,

 

Note in my earlier response that I mentioned the fact that square stock bends easily. The reason is that in square stock there is virtually no edge bending to be done since the cross section is equal. Therefore the closer the stock gets to square the easier it is to bend - jig or no jig. Agreed? I noticed the stock you used started as 1/8"x 1/16" and you further tapered it bringing it even closer to square. I like the jig idea when doing multiple pieces that must be replicated. However, I would be interested to see how well it works on wider, shorter, stock.

 

wq3296

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ah, the joys of edge bending. On my current build I wanted to edge bend the main rail. I made a jig that worked quite well. First I took a piece of pine board and traced the shape of the rail on it. then I added a bit more curvature to allow for springback. After I cut the jig to shape I ran it through my table saw edgeways to saw a groove in it that was a little less than the width of the rail. Next, steam bend the rail. Lastly place the steamed plank in the jig and clamp it in. I allowed it to dry overnight and the next day had a nicely bent rail. As it turned out I had allowed for more springback than there actually was but still it glued up just fine.

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I needed to do just the same for bending the rail on my Cutty Sark. Just drew the shape onto a piece of laminate floorboard, as this does not soak up and water,  then found a piece of stock the right size which was most flexible in the right direction, soaked it in water and then using some clamps and pieces of wood to ensure that the correct shape was obtained clamped it up and left it to dry, final result was perfect with no un-flexing.

post-8065-0-48902600-1393262622_thumb.jpg

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Hi Augie,

 

If you bend  the wood first, as with your jig, is it difficult to mark and taper each piece?  The taper is not a constant from widest portion to narrowest, and each plank ends at a different point along the length of the hull so each piece has to be shaped slightly differently.  The jig would have to be modified quite a few times as the curve changes for every strake, especially at the bow. I would think it is much more difficult and time consuming to  mark and shape the taper on a prebent plank even if you do not modify the shape of the jig more than a few times as the planking goes on. 

 

In the end, whatever works well is a good thing!

 

Allan

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Greetings Augie,

 

Note in my earlier response that I mentioned the fact that square stock bends easily. The reason is that in square stock there is virtually no edge bending to be done since the cross section is equal. Therefore the closer the stock gets to square the easier it is to bend - jig or no jig. Agreed? I noticed the stock you used started as 1/8"x 1/16" and you further tapered it bringing it even closer to square. I like the jig idea when doing multiple pieces that must be replicated. However, I would be interested to see how well it works on wider, shorter, stock.

 

wq3296

There are certainly limitations to this method wq.  I've done flat stock up to 3/16"x1/16".  It comes in handy if working with kit supplied wood where you are not given wider pieces to work width and need a group of planks. 

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Thanks for all the responses.  A couple of follow up questions:

 

  1. If I surrender and cut the curved planks out of larger pieces, is there anywhere in Australia to buy these from?
     
  2. Would real ships have been made using such a difficult technique as edge bending?

Cheers,

 

Brett

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Brett,

 

I can't answer #1.  But #2... they spiled (cut a wider plank to shape).  If wider planks weren't available, they used stealers and/or drop planks with the rest being tapered.   I suggest you see the planking guides in the Article Downloads area and also the 3 pinned topics in this sub-forum.  They will help you get an understanding of planking.

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Greetings Augie,

 

Thanks for the response. There are no absolutes in model building, so whatever works for you is all good. A forum like this allows folks to present different options to solving common problems. There is not necessarily a right way or a wrong way, so long as good result is achieved.

 

wq3296

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Greetings Brett,

 

1. If wider sheet stock is not available, you could edge glue some strips together and cut the plank you need from it. Careful fitting and sanding should hide the glue joint.

 

2. The difficulties associated with edge bending in the construction of real ships were mitigated by spiling and carving required shapes from balks of solid wood - same methods modelers use. Spiling involves measuring and cutting a plank to a specific shape to fill in an odd shape between standard planks, keel, etc.

 

wq3296

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Hi wq3296         

You described what I think are stealers that fill gaps, typically at the stern.  Spiling is shaping every plank as there are no standard planks on a ship other than perhaps the straight pieces found in the quick work.   If you take a look at a drawing of the planking expansion   available for some of the old ships, every plank has some shape to it other than straight and each strake varies in width across its length.  Some widen near the stern, most, if not all reduce near the bow.  Granted, some of the pieces of a given strake near the dead flat will be so close to straight that slight bending can easily be done at the scales we use.  All of this is explained in good detail in the tutorials in this forum.

 

Allan

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Greetings Allan,

 

Thank you for your comment. Please be assured that I know the difference between stealers and spiling, and I meant spiling. I am amazed that you drew your conclusion from my rather general statement relating to mitigating the difficulties of edge bending by other methods. I was attempting to answer a good question, not get into a dissertation on spiling. As you point out, there are tutorials available for in depth discussions of this topic.

 

Sorry for the slight push back.

 

wq3296

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Dan,

 

I do remember your jig and I have not doubt it works, but for me, it is easier and quicker to  spile a plank.  Again, to each his own, there are always multiple ways to skin the proverbial cat.

 

wq, (I really wish you would share a name...if that is truly your name, how is it pronounced? :D)    No push back taken, no problem there, this has been a good discussion and hopefully has  not caused too much confusion for those that have tried neither method up to now.  In the end we will probably find a fifty/ fifty split for the newbies.

 

Cheers

 

Allan

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