Henry talks – machine bending

by ercol on July 11, 2012

Post image for Henry talks – machine bending

In my last post I talked about hand bending, well now for the machine bending…

Nearly all of the bends in the dining chairs will be done by a machine, which you can see in the video below.  The type of bend required in the bow means that up to 10 can be placed in a jig and done at one time. These are then put in the big walk-in kiln and dried overnight, removing the moisture left in the timber and setting the bend in place. All these bows, windsor and evergreen, are taking down to the sanding and finishing area in the machine shop, where they’ll be cut down and sanded multiple times to remove the bend marks and make the smooth, sculpted finish.

machine bending chair bows

The final method of bending is done with the RF or Radio Frequency bender. The unbent pieces of timber, kiln dried but slightly steamed, are placed in the cramp and then the machine uses radio frequencies to vibrate the cells in the wood, heating it up such that they then become more malleable.  This is much the same principle as a microwave oven, but at longer wavelengths.  A very large tool enables a large number of low radius bends to be formed in one go. We use this type of bending mainly for the back rails in the renaissance range.

sanding evergreen chair bows

Working in the bending shop has to be one of the most satisfying and rewarding places to work in the factory. It’s such a tactile place to work, you are literally using brute force, especially in regards to the evergreen backs, to bend the wood to your will and sculpt the major defining facet of the design with your own hands.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: