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Old Dan Tucker is a fine old man, bent his sides in a frying pan

Posted by Jonnycake White on Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Last month in our local luthier's group, we had two demonstrations of non-Fox side bending.  One guy had a great electric side bending iron from StewMac, the other guy had an electric skillet from a thrift store.  Both were able to bend sides.  I decided to go the cheaper route (big surprise there) and so last night I did the first side bending I've ever done, in a frying pan.  You put in about an inch of water, heat it to boiling, flex the wood so you can get a part of it in, and apply gentle but firm pressure until the wood heats enough to relax and take the bend.  Dead simple.  I think it worked.  These sides are for a banjola (or two) I've just started.  I'll try the second set tonight with any luck.

2 comments on “Old Dan Tucker is a fine old man, bent his sides in a frying pan”

Brian Welch Says:
Wednesday, October 28, 2009 @6:05:19 AM

What kind of wood did you use and how thick was it?

Did you clamp one end to the frying pan? And who held the handle to keep it from spinning around?

Sounds like fun!


Jonnycake White Says:
Wednesday, October 28, 2009 @8:03:47 AM

Cherry, about 3/32" thick. No clamping, it's all done very free form. The frying pan is just used to heat the water, not as a form. A griddle would work just as well or even better if it will hold a half inch of water. I bent the second set last night, cut from a more quartersawn part of the flitch, which meant they were stiffer and harder to bend. One cracked slightly, and it remains to be seen if my efforts to salvage it were successful.

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