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Bending wood is not the daunting task that it appears to be at first glance. Depending on the degree of bend, and whether or not the bend is compound, there are a couple of methods for bending wood.

curves-patio-furnitureFirst, you need to have a form to bend your wood around and clamp to to hold thedesired shape. Most bent wood will have a certain degree of “springback”, so you must build your form with an allowance for this. And, unfortunately, there is no established formula for determining the degree of springback that a given species of wood will produce. Springback is also influenced by the bending method used. That is to say that steamed wood will spring, or “unbend” more than wood that is laminated and glued. Another variable is the type of glue used in laminating.

As a general rule, the tighter the bend, the more the wood will spring back, making the allowance a matter of trial and error at best.

As laminating thin strips is the easiest method, we’ll begin with that process. The finished thickness of the project will have a direct bearing on the size of the strips to be used, but generally, the heaviest strip to use is about ¼” thick. Tight bends may have to be done with 1/8″ strips or thinner, depending on the wood species. Sounds like a lot of experimenting, but I’m afraid that’s a necessary evil.

bend-woodThe form required for laminating can be as simple as a piece of pipe or as complex as a multi-station die. I like to keep things as simple as possible.

When laminating thin strips, you can minimize effort and spring back by soaking the strips before bending, and clamping them in the mold without gluing. Once they are dry, remove them from the mold, spread the glue and re-clamp them in the mold. Line the mold with waxed paper to prevent the lamination from sticking to the mold.

When I soak strips, I do so in an open container, and depending on the wood and the size of the strips, I soak them from 15 minutes to overnight. I also mix in a half cup of fabric softener per gallon of water. I find that it softens wood nearly as well as fabric.

If the project is small, and open time on the glue is not a factor, I’ll use poly-vinyl-acetate, or aliphatic resin glue. If I need more working time, I’ll use epoxy or resorcinol. I stay
away from the quick setting epoxies, however, because they rarely harden to the extent that the slow sets do. If you’re using light colored wood, resorcinol dries to a reddish color which might be objectionable on a finished project.

When bending thin woods such as guitar sides, the wood is commonly soaked as above, but it is bent over a hot bending jig, either electric, or heated with a propane torch. Brittle woods are supported on the outside of the bend with a thin stainless steel band to help prevent cracking. Green woods can be bent much in the same way, or by heating the wood over hot coals or with a good heat gun.

For projects where lamination is objectionable, or when the wood is to be bent in compound curves, a steam box is the answer. One can be made fairly economically from PVC pipe, but it needs to be supported to keep the pipe from deforming.

The ends of the pipe need to be closed with a screw cap on at least one end, to allow access to the interior. Fit the other end of the pipe with a DWV reducing tee, and attach a radiator hose to the side outlet and to a new gas can large enough to hold sufficient water to last through the job. The water may be heated with a hot plate or a propane burner.

Drill through the pipe slightly below center in two or three locations and insert dowels for the wood to rest on. Steam must be allowed to circulate freely around the wood for even penetration. A hole about ½” in diameter should be drilled in the cap furthest from the steam inlet to allow circulation. When you build the support frame for the steam box, pitch the box toward the steam inlet to allow the condensation to return to the water supply.

Rule of thumb says that wood should be steamed fifteen minutes per inch of thickness, but here again, some experimenting will be necessary.

The wood needs to be placed into the form as quickly as possible, because as the wood cools, it is more difficult to bend. Make sure that your wood is at least two feet longer than the finished part, because it’s nearly impossible to bend a 3/4″ piece of wood that is less than a foot long, so that last foot will have to be cut off after the wood is dry.

Clamp the wood in the form securely, and leave it there until it is completely cool. If you are working with multiple pieces, place them in the steam box a approximately the interval required to place the piece in the form and clamp it, and remove them from the box in the same order.

With a little practice and a little luck, it shouldn’t take long to become proficient in wood bending. Good luck with your project, and if I can be of any help or answer any questions, feel
free to respond to this post, or email me at campbell5017@bellsouth.net .

To get the e-book “How To Bend Wood” as well as other e-books I have written on various aspects of woodworking, click here.

Grant Campbell. Grant has been a professional woodworker for over 50 years. He would like to pass on some of his favourite tips and techniques through his articles

furniture-movingAfter arriving in your new home, it takes some time before you can settle in and adjust to the surroundings. Arranging furniture is perhaps one of the most grueling tasks after the moving company delivers the pieces. Be ready to rearrange, get rid of pieces that don’t fit and perhaps purchase new items that might work a little better.

Some furniture arrangement tips have been outlined for you. Take a look:

• Remove packing boxes or scattered furniture from the room as you will not be able to visualize how you want the space to look like. The room needs to be ascetically pleasing and functional too. Determine how the space will be used – if possible, plot the details on paper.

• For rooms that will serve more than one purpose, furniture, rugs, bookshelves and room dividers can be used to separate areas. The back of a couch along with a sofa table can make a great room divider as it creates a strong separation without blocking the room’s flow.

• Make sure you know about the proper dimensions of the furniture so that you can decide which piece will be placed at what angle. Movers and packers can help you out in this regard as they need to take measurements of all the pieces that are being moved.

• All pieces should be placed against walls because the middle of the space should also be utilized creatively for depth and interest. Remember the traffic flow – most traffic areas need only two feet of space.

• Balance heavy furniture pieces with other large objects or groupings of smaller items. Look at the height of furniture pieces and try to create multi-levels within the space. If you have a shorter piece and need to add height, hang a larger print on the wall above, elongating the space and allowing the eye to travel up; this will make the room feel taller.

• Keep color patterns in mind while arranging furniture. Eye-catching colours are fine because the room seems vibrant but it is important not to use one particular color or pattern too much throughout one space.

• Arrange major pieces of furniture first, then smaller items such as end tables, chairs and plant stands. Leave enough room for doors and drawers to be opened.

• Make sure that the arrangement doesn’t block the lighting in the room and maintain distance-parameters when needed. For instance, while placing a TV cabinet in a room, sofas or beds should be placed at a minimum of 8 feet away from the screen.

• All furniture-related tasks should be completed before you start working on paintings, mirrors, etc.

Jack Watson – Jack is author for US based E-zmover.

Casbah Decor

When it comes to home décor, there is no scarcity of interior design objects in the modern world. However, when it comes to unique interior design objects, they can be rare to find and obviously will be very costly. Thankfully, there is a group of interior design elements which are unique and are very affordably priced. Moroccan styled interior design is fast becoming a great trend worldwide. Moroccan interior design has gained huge popularity since the renovation of the Riad traditional Moroccan house. You can bring the marvels of the Moroccan interior design to your home by wisely choosing the home décor elements.

moroccan-theme-decorThe Moroccan Furniture

According to expert interior designers, home décor without unique furniture will be incomplete. One of the main advantages of using Moroccan furniture in home décor is it offers great functionality combined with unique looks. The problem associated with most modern furniture is that they will have unique style but most of them will have zero usability. This disadvantage is overcome by the use of Moroccan furniture. Moroccan furniture gives great value for money. According to real estate experts, homes decorated with Moroccan furniture will have great face value when compared to others.

The Moroccan Lighting

Lighting is a critical part of home décor because proper lighting will greatly increase the beauty of the room. You will be well aware that ambient soothing lighting will make any home look peaceful and calm. This is where Moroccan lighting comes into play. You’d have noted that Moroccan home décor will enhance peacefulness. This is made possible with the help of the lighting effects cast by Moroccan lighting fixtures.

Decorating The Bedroom

When it comes to Moroccan home décor, the opportunities to decorate the bedrooms are unlimited. You can apply both Moroccan lighting and place some unique Moroccan furniture in your bedroom to make the room look beautiful and unique. To add to the beauty of the bed rooms, you can throw in some Moroccan lamps which are cheap.

Bottom Line

If you are looking for unique interior design objects, the Moroccan ones are made for you. Head out to a Moroccan home décor store and see the vibrancy by yourself.

Shelves-2Dining room style and design can range from using the most traditional of oak tables, high backed chairs and candelabras, to the contemporary feel of glass and cool metallic touches teamed with a minimalist colour palette. There are countless options for how a dining room can look and feel, so it is important to begin by deciding on the intended use of the room; intimate dining for a couple or large dinner parties?

Deciding on a feel

The feel of the room will be dictated by the chosen style, so getting this right is essential. If the room will be used chiefly for entertaining, the style can be more formal, incorporating modern touches to traditional pieces of furniture or working around a theme or centrepiece. Personal taste will feature largely in these first decisions but once it has been decided what sort of feel the room should have, and what it will chiefly be used for, ideas will start to take shape.dining_table

Taking inspiration from interior design blogs and magazines can throw up ideas for the next stage by suggesting how to fulfil the requirements of the room. If the room is taking on a relaxed, country feel, soft pine furniture and warm wooden display cabinets can look perfect against traditional china and floral vintage touches. A more formal dining room may call for a darker wood, such as mahogany, and more luxurious classic soft furnishings, such as upholstered chairs and floor length tieback curtains.

Ideas for decoration

Finding an appropriate main paint colour is the all-important starting point, and whether this colour is natural or more striking is an important initial decision. Many dining rooms do incorporate feature walls in striking reds or dark blues; however, opting for a darker paint colour calls for simpler plain pieces of furniture, and it can make the room appear smaller. Going for one main focus of the room, whether it is a wall hanging, a table or a centrepiece, means that other decorative touches can complement this feature. This will provide a balanced and tasteful colour scheme.

Furniture requirements

Most importantly, the room needs functional furniture that will allow the room to beXanadu_range_hero_639x348 used to fulfil its main purpose. Investing in a folding dining table could be worthwhile if space is limited, but if the room will need to accommodate large parties of visitors from time to time it will benefit from extending dining tables, as these allow for flexibility when accommodating large or small parties. Storage for tableware is important and furniture with storage space should be incorporated into the design to meet this requirement.

The final touches

Dining room accessories are the finishing touches in making a room individual and unique. The accessories will provide the final flourishes of style and tie the different aspects of the room together, so finding pieces that complement colour and furniture choices is important. Once the accessories are in place, the perfect dining room will be complete and ready to entertain guests and family members alike.

Aimee Claire – Aimee is an enthusiastic, well-educated freelance writer with a passion for Interior Design. She is fascinated at how different patterns, textures and lighting can completely change the look and atmosphere of a room. One day she will run her own Interior Design company, but for now is happy experimenting with new designs in her own house.

Think of a stylish nation and the French spring to mind almost immediately. With their cutting edge haute couture fashion, brilliant sculptors and painters, world-class film industry, elegant châteaux and fabulous gastronomy, the French really have style in abundance. They seem to have a skill for creating things of great beauty with very little effort – how do they do that?

The Eiffel Tower, ParisTake their interior design style, for example. The French like to do things in extremes, whether it’s the super-bling of the Palace of Versailles, a rustic Limousin farmhouse, elegant parquet-floored Parisian apartment or gilt-edged Baroque country house grandeur, it’s guaranteed to look fabulous.

To achieve a home that twinkles with Gallic charm there are a number of different routes to take. Depending on personal style, this could involve heading off in a rustic French farmyard direction with milk churns in the kitchen, gingham curtains and simple wooden French furniture, such as dressers and armoires, to create a truly continental accent.

If grand interiors are required, then put together an elegant boudoir featuring ornately carved commodes (chest of drawers), large gilt framed mirrors, glittering chandeliers and a sumptuous chaise longue from which to relax and admire the view. The French are famous for being good in the bedroom, and this is certainly the case when it comes to the furniture! There can be fewer more French experiences than falling asleep in the soft, opulence of a mahogany sleigh bed; adding this particular item of furniture to a room instantly translates it into fluent French. Visitors to France should head for Brocantes, flea markets and Depot Ventes, all good hunting grounds for authentic furniture.

Suite_ImperialeUpholstery and linens are taken very seriously across the channel. To get a French twist into fabrics, choose distinctive motifs such as fleur de lis and chintzy fabrics that catch the sunlight. Simple ticking, stripes and linens work well in more relaxed schemes, or for an injection of French formality try out one of the many Toile de Jouy designs, typically French and oozing style. These famous pastoral textile designs are mostly blues, reds and blacks on an ivory background. The designs have become so popular it is possible to acquire lampshades and wallpapers in the same range, to create a unified look.

French_shuttersNow introducing a little French flair into the British home has long been a popular pastime. We have welcomed with open arms the chairs with their elegantly turned legs, the gigantic rustic dressers, the light and airy colour schemes and the antiques of the Louis Phillipe and Henri II periods. The naïve Provençal peasant furniture or the ornate dark woods of the Breton styles have all become familiar sights in British homes. Another inspired French invention that has really caught on over here is shutters, such as the type supplied by www.thecaliforniacompany.co.uk. Shutters are used to keep out the hot midday sun, to retain privacy and to insulate against heat loss at night. With a huge range of styles available, shutters offer an elegant alternative to curtains or blinds and lend an unmistakably French flavour to any room.

With careful selection of some key furniture and design elements, it is possible to create a French inspired oasis within the home. Why not embark on a love affair with all things French – who knows where it could lead?

Aimee Claire – Aimee is an enthusiastic, well-educated freelance writer with a passion for Interior Design. She is fascinated at how different patterns, textures and lighting can completely change the look and atmosphere of a room. One day she will run her own Interior Design company, but for now is happy experimenting with new designs in her own house.

ZACK ACCOLO coat rack

The exquisitely finished coat rack is made of brushed satin 18/10 stainless steel. The practical living accessory impresses with its typical, exclusive ZACK material finish which lends the design article its unmistakable appearance and helps keep clothes arranged neatly and attractively.
accolo

The clear-cut shapes and the consistently timeless, clear-cut design language through which the ZACK articles fit harmoniously into a wide variety of furnishing worlds are the outstanding characteristics of the ZACK living accessories.

Hang your hat on one now at Proleno

Also available in six and eight hook lengths.

ZACK SCALA towel stand

The exquisitely finished towel stand is made of high-gloss 18/10 stainless steel. The practical bathroom accessory impresses with its typical, exclusive ZACK finish which lends the design article its unmistakable appearance.
scala-towel-stand
The clear forms and the consistently timeless, clear-cut design language through which the SCALA articles fit harmoniously into a wide variety of bathroom worlds are the outstanding characteristics of this modern bathroom series.

Don’t miss out, order one now at Proleno

Koichi Suzuno and Shinya Kamuro from Torafu Architects designed the ‘Clopen’ shelf, manufactured by Tanseisha. When pulled, a secret drawer appears, to store your valuables such as jewelry, stamps and passbooks.

The shelf panel is constructed from elaborate aluminum parts, and at 34mm thick, it looks as if it’s made of natural wood. Attaching sliced veneer to a thin structure, they made space between two boards which can be opened using magnetic keys. The impression of the shelf completely changes when its hidden aluminum space is revealed from within the sliced veneer surface.

We haven’t, yet, found anyone who stocks them for saleso if you sell them or know somebody who does please let us know.

If you love well-designed, quality furniture, and have spent time and money filling your home with it, the last thing you want to do if you need to move house is to risk it being damaged or broken in transit when you move house. The trouble is that moving house for anyone with more than one room in a share-house to pack up will always involved help from other people. And those people may well mess up, even if they are seasoned professionals with experience of packing up and moving many other people’s homes. When that happens, it can be distressing and expensive. If that precious piece that you saved so hard for, and admire so much, is damaged in a move, it is hard to feel much charity towards those who caused it. So, what can you do to prevent this from happening? And if it does happen, what can you do to get some compensation for your loss?

Choosing a Removal Firm

The first thing to think about is where you get your moving quotes from. If you have any particularly expensive or delicate items to be moved, then you may find some firms which specialise in doing so. Remember to get quotes from a few different firms, rather than just settling for the first one you call. It is important to look at more than just the financial part of the quote. The price is, naturally, important, and you know what budget you need to stick to. However, you also need to look at exactly what the removal firms you get quotes from are prepared to offer. Ask them for their policy (in writing) on damage to your items. Also ask them if their staff have training in how to move fragile items, and what precautions they take to ensure that such items survive the journey intact. Such questions should be fairly revealing about how they will treat your favourite pieces.

Ensure Insurance

If the worst does happen, and even with the best care in the world, it may do, what can you do? Any reputable firm will have public liability insurance which should cover any such eventuality. In order ensure that you will be able to get back the cost of your furniture, check before booking any firm that they do have such insurance. If they don’t, do not even consider using them. Apart from the actual problem that you’ll have if they do cause damage, it is likely such a firm will be cutting corners elsewhere too (regard any particularly low quotes with a degree of healthy suspicion for this reason). If you need to make a claim on their insurance, then you’ll need to liaise with the removal company to do so. It’s best in these situations to keep calm and be reasonable. Of course, you won’t get your antique dresser or designer mirror back, but as long as the company (and you) have taken all reasonable steps to ensure that they were protected, you have to accept the breakage. Human error will always occur. The aim of making an insurance claim is to get compensation for your loss with which you will be able to at replace it with something similar, even if it’s not the same.

You could also consider taking out your own insurance. If you have a really valuable item to transport, then it might be worth thinking about doing so. Sometimes, your home insurance policy will allow you to insure particular items as an extra even when they are out of your home (although of course, if you are moving home you will need to make sure the insurance applies to your new home too). Generally, a removal firm’s insurance should be all you need to cover your goods, but your own insurance might give you extra peace of mind.

The Last Resort

If the worst comes to the worst, and you have booked a removal firm who don’t have insurance, and they have then broken or damaged your prize possessions, then the best option available to you is to pursue them through the small claims court. Remember, they are in the wrong, and should have had insurance, so you have a reasonable claim to make. Of course, if your broken item is more of sentimental value than financial, it may be best just to lick your wounds and learn your lesson, but otherwise? Make sure you get your money and buy something even more fabulous!

 Author: Izzy A. Woods

Good interior design is about matching form with functionality. No-where is that more true than in the living-room. The kitchen may have been the ‘heart of the home’ in days gone by, but today it is the living-room that is the centre of most homes. Despite this, it can be something of an after-thought in terms of design. Many people will spend considerable time and money getting just the right look in their bathroom or kitchen, but fail to come up with anything much for the living-room.

Seating, in particular, is often relatively un-stylish. Partly that is practical: people want a comfortable sofa more than one that is nice to look at (and that is more than fair enough – coming home after a hard day’s work to an uncomfortable sofa is not much fun). It is also partly because of a lack of options: it can be difficult to find exciting, well-designed living-room furniture that also meets the needs of a busy family. It’s difficult, but not impossible. There are a few ways to make sure your living-room is as stylish as the rest of your home.

Whole-room design

Putting in a new kitchen generally means ripping everything out and starting again. Very often, that’s not so in the living-room. Sofas and chairs in particular are expensive, so many people tend to make-do with what they already have, even if what they have doesn’t fit their ideas for the rest of the room. If you can’t afford to replace your seating, then try and update it with new covers, or pick out elements in the design of them which you can link to other things in the room (for example, if they have chrome feet, make that part of your theme by bringing in chrome picture frames or a chrome fire surround).

Statement pieces

Living-room seating can be a great way of making a statement, so if you are able to bring in new seating, do. Be brave with the designs you choose and make them the centrepiece of the room. The key to finding something that will really act as a focal point of your living-room is to be imaginative. Look a little further than the high street chains: there are many online suppliers and small ‘boutique’ furniture shops which may be able to help supply something that meets your practical needs and looks great.

Think carefully about the configuration of seating and how it fits the room and space you have. You don’t need to go for a traditional three-piece-suite. A corner sofa or modular system that you can adjust according to how you want to use it can work really well, for example. Another option is to have one large sofa for general family use, and one or two statement chairs which don’t match, but contrast.

Use your imagination

As with any kind of design, let your imagination run riot initially. Then consider whether what you want is practical. If it isn’t, then work out ways to compromise. Everyone has their own style, but if you’re struggling to put a living-room seating design together, perhaps these ideas will give you a kick-start:

–          For sophisticated urban homes limited on space, a leather loveseat combined with a couple of leather chairs can be attractive and flexible.

–          For a retro, sixties look try to get hold of a second-hand Eames chair or a modern copy. This design classic adds instant style to a room.

Go for a luxury look with something more old-fashioned. How about an elegant chaise longue? Or a high-backed wing chair? Both can be either understated, or indulgent, with metallic decoration on the feet and patterned fabric.

–          See if you can make your own seating, or hire a professional to do it. With the requisite carpentry skills and some wood un-used space in a bay window can be turned into a comfortable window seat (make the seat hinged, and you also have some useful storage).

There are, of course, countless other options. Good interior design is about matching up your lifestyle, aspirations and interests to create something that feels like yours. If you love design, don’t allow your living –room to let you down – put some thought into it and make it somewhere you love to relax in.

 Author: Izzy A. Woods