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Problem bending ribs


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What kind of problems? Are they cracking, you can't bend them?

Are the ribs about 1.1 mm or something like that? Is your bending iron sufficiently hot? Are you using a metal strip to back the wood? If possible, give a look in old posts using the search engine.

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Lots of threads/discussion on this in archeives. I think steam helps some, especially when you are starting out. Wrap thin wet towel around your rib (or at least between rib and iron) to push steam into wood. Be sure your ribs are thin enough (1-1.2mm). Getting right temp without burning is key. I still mess some up as I'm not experienced as many here. A number of people use cold bending which takes a little more patience but works great for some.

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I was reluctant to spend $160 on a bender before I knew what violin building was all about so I tried another way and it worked out quite well. Not perfect but quite well.I obtained a peice of brass from a wrecking yard.It was two inches thick and three inches in diameter.I cut a flat bottem on it and secondly a short curve of approx 3/4 inch radius on one end.We heat with wood here in Idaho and I simply set the metal on the corner of the wood stove.Not knowing better,I simply dipped the ribs into a pot of water and then immediately wiped them off and applied then to the brass block. My ribs were quarter sawn and nice tigerstripe maple thanks to Tonewoods of Orca Island.

I did break 4 but I believe this was because of

1. Impatience.I wanted them to bend too fast.

2. Highly figured wood.Flat grain would surely be easier to bend .Easy does it.

3.Lack of a backing strip to help form the wood to the mold.

Take your time and don't be afraid to redo the bend as much as is necessary to get your desired results.You can even use your gloved fingers to help while the wood is still warm.

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I picked up a curling iron for hair from the thrift shop and bent mine on this first violin with it. My wife's worked far better because it got hotter...but she really doesn't know I used it. (Hee Hee) I will probably buy a bending iron for the next one...but this worked....with patience. I would use a small spray bottle with water in it...spray the side against the iron...heat with gently pressure...spray again...etc.... Things began to work when I put the wood with a bit of spray on it against the iron and I heard and saw the steam. I had tearing when I wet the back side of the wood. By the way, I clamped the iron by the handle in a vise vertically with rubber guards to protect the handle.

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Using my wife's curling iron caused it no harm. A gentle wipe with a damp cloth and it was as good as new...at least the careful way I used it. Care must be used clamping it in the vise. On the other hand, the one she has only costs about $20 Canadian at Walmart.

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