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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

Learn how to transform an old fireplace with new paint and molding.

We brought an old fireplace back to life with a little elbow grease, a couple coats of paint and new mantel (materials found at a salvage shop). It was cheap, easy and the results are stunning.

CI-Susan-Teare_Brick-FireplTools and Materials
wire brush
screwdriver
tape measure
chop saw (optional, if extra wood is added to mantel)
studfinder
simple recycled mantel (to slip over the old stone mantel)
(2) salvaged boards (optional for larger mantel)
4 to 8 long screws
paintbrush and painter’s tape
white paint for mantel (eggshell, latex)
paint for brick (eggshell, latex)
black heat resistant paint for firebox
sandpaper
wood glue
wood filler
water/white vinegar spray
rags
shop vacuum

Here’s what the fireplace looked like before:
Original-Brick-Fireplace_Before_s4x3_lg

Scrub the Brick
Lay down a drop cloth to make clean up easier. Use a wire brush to get all the dust and sot off the brick fireplace. Vacuum the entire area.
Original-Brick-Fireplace_Scrubbing-Brick_s3x4_lead

Wash the Brick
Spray the fireplace brick with a 50/50 mixture of water and vinegar then use a rag to clean off any residue so the paint and adhesives can stick.
Original-Brick-Fireplace_Spray-Vinegar_s3x4_lead

Paint the Inside
Paint the inside the firebox area with special heat-resistance paint. Apply two coats if necessary.
Original-Brick-Fireplace_Painting-Inside-Box_s4x3_lead

Paint the Brick
Paint the rest of the brick with your paint color. Brick is porous, so make sure to push the paint into the brick so there are no pinprick holes showing. Apply a second coat if necessary.
Original-Brick-Fireplace_Painting-Brick_s3x4_lead

Build a New Mantel
Measure the current mantel top and plan a design. We got lucky and found a simple mantel at a recycle center that will slip over our existing mantel. We added molding to the newly found mantel to give it more interest. We attached the molding with wood screws, covered the holes, then sanded and painted the entire mantel.
Original-Brick-Fireplace_Mantel-at-Resale-Shop_s3x4_lead
Original-Brick-Fireplace_Mantel-With-New-Molding_s4x3_lead
Original-Brick-Fireplace_Painting-Mantel_s4x3_lead

Install the Mantel
Place the mantel over the top of the old mantel. Find the studs in the wall, they should be just at the edge of the fireplace. Toe-nail the screws into the mantel through the wall.

Fill the screw holes with wood filler, let dry, sand and then paint to match the mantel.

Joanne PalmisanoJoanne is the author of Salvage Secrets

The question “which central heating radiators are most efficient?” is not straight forward, as in this context the word “efficient” means different things to different customers.  
An official definition of the word “efficient” is:

“Acting or producing effectively with a minimum of waste, expense, or unnecessary effort.

It can be argued that all central heating radiators are equally efficient insofar as the energy put into a radiator will equal the amount of heat it gives out.  In other words, all properly functioning radiators with same heat output capacity, will give out the same amount of heat as one another and will use the same amount of energy to do so.

Radiators are just vessels designed to release energy in the form of heat.  The amount of heat they release will depend on the amount of energy put into them.

In asking “Which central heating radiators are the most efficient?”, customers could mean:

1. Which radiator gives out the most heat for its size?
2. Which radiator is the cheapest to run?
3. Which radiator wastes the least fuel?
4. Which radiator heats up the quickest?

Relevant factors to consider in answering the above questions and ensuring you get the right radiator(s) for your specific needs are considered below.

Size and surface area

Its surface area determines the maximum heat output capacity of a radiator.  The larger the surface area, the higher the potential heat output.

Surface area will be greatly increased by convectors, fins, or double or triple panels.  So for example, the heat output capacity of a flat single panel radiator will be considerably less than a radiator of the same size (height x width) with double panels, and/or convectors or fins.

When considering one model of radiator, then generally, the bigger the radiator, the bigger the heat output.  However this is not necessarily the case when comparing one model of radiator against another.

Water content

In theory, the less water a radiator holds, the less time it takes to heat up, and the less fuel is would require to reach full temperature.  Consequently, the lower the water content of a radiator, the more “efficient” it could be considered to be.  However, in reality, there is little difference in the level of water content across radiator models, although over an entire system the slight variation would multiply.

Design

The shape of a radiator and its design does have an effect on the amount of heat it radiates, but again this is due to the particular surface area of the model.  For example, a tubular radiator with hollow tubes offers a lot more surface area than a flat panel design without fins as the heat can be emitted from both the outside and the inside of the tubes.  So the design of a radiator does have a direct effect on its maximum heat output.

Material

A radiator’s material of manufacture does not have a direct impact on the amount of heat it gives out.  However, the material will be a determining factor in the speed in which the radiator heats up and cools down.  For instance, aluminium heats up quickly and cools down quickly, whereas cast iron heats up at a slower rate and cools down at a slower rate.

Finish

Science proves that the finish of a radiator affects its heat output in varying degrees.

There is a principal known as “emissivity” that enables experts to measure the ability for heat to leave (or radiate from) the surface of an object.

Levels of emissivity vary between finishes of radiators.  Painted radiators have a higher level of emissivity than bare metal radiators, meaning that painted finishes absorb and release heat more than bare metal finishes.  Matt finishes have a higher level of emissivity than gloss radiators.  Even the colour of the finish can affect the level of emissivity.  For instance, black paint has a higher level of emissivity than white paint.  However, the difference in the emissivity of radiators is negligible and would only be realised in laboratory conditions.

Only a chrome finish has a noticeable affect on the heat output of a radiator as chrome has a very low level of emissivity.  The chrome coating works on the same principal as the space blankets (the silver insulation blankets) used to keep athletes warm.  The chrome coating, whilst looking beautiful, does reduce the ability of the radiator to radiate heat.  Chrome (chromium plated) radiators are proven to emit approximately 20% less heat than the equivalent sized radiators in a painted finish.

In theory, the optimum radiator when looking for high heat output and rapid heat up time, taking all factors into account (no matter how minimal their impact) would be a matt black aluminium radiator with the greatest surface area for its size.

In practice, there are many other aspects that will determine the best radiator(s) for your project, including, aesthetics, dimensions to fit your space, budget and availability.  Your choice will be governed by which factors take priority.

For more advice on choosing the right radiator(s) speak to a radiator specialist such as Feature Radiators.  Contact their expert team directly on 01274 567789, meet them at their large West Yorkshire showroom, where they have over 160 radiators on display or visit their website.

Interest in both self build and home improvement continues to grow, according to a recent survey from The National Homebuilding & Renovating Show. Twenty nine percent of visitors to the Show, held at the NEC in March, are currently involved in a self build project, compared to 20% in 2009, with 38% involved in a renovation project, compared to 34% in 2009. This homeowner confidence is mirrored by recent news from the Nationwide that house prices in the UK have risen by 10.5% in the year to the end of April.
cottage
Homeowners keen to improve, extend, renovate or even build their own home should visit The Southern Homebuilding & Renovating Show , on at Sandown Park on 26 and 27 June. Visitors can pick up the latest in innovative products and services, inspirational design ideas, restoration tips, cost saving ideas and eco friendly solutions – all under one roof. Bring along your plans or drawings, meet with the experts and get great advice and information from the free seminars and masterclasses.

The Show is co-located with The Kitchen & Bathroom Show, the UK’s only dedicated kitchen and bathroom consumer show. Individual manufacturers and suppliers often not seen on the High Street, will inspire with bespoke designs, the latest technology and a fabulous array of colours and styles. New this year is The Kitchen & Bathroom Design Experience where visitors can bring along their room plans and get a one-to-one consultation with experts from The Kitchen, Bedroom, Bathroom Specialists Association (KBSA) and Essential Kitchen, Bathroom, Bedroom magazine.

For more information and tickets, visit www.homebuildingshow.co.uk or www.kitchenandbathroomshow.co.uk. Tickets give entry to both shows and are £5 in advance by calling 0844 5811377or £8 on the door (children under 16 go free).

Don’t despair, save your sofa and become part of the new Make Do & Mend Generation with the innovative new leather recovery patch from MastaPlasta!

Mastaplasta

Mastaplasta


More than 75,000 sofas are thrown away each year by Britons and research published recently by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs showed that an additional 500,000 tonnes of household waste could be saved from landfill by doing more to reuse, repair or find new homes for your old settees and armchairs. MastaPlasta is an inventive new way to save your sofa from scuffs, holes, rips and stains.

Easy, inexpensive and good-looking, the plasta can be attached to any surface, covering a tear in seconds. Incredibly hard-wearing and durable, a MastaPlasta “Band-Aid” is engineered to last and not peel off, making it the ultimate new accessory for those who want to waste less and recycle more, beautifully.

MastaPlasta patches are available in small, medium or large and cost no more than £8.95 each. With the choice of six different designs, rectangular or circular shapes and ivory or brown colourways, there will always be a plasta to suit. For those wishing to hide the rip as discreetly as possible there is the ‘plain stitch‘ design, alternatively why not make a feature out of it and apply a design to suit your personality!

MastaPlastas are suited to PVC and upholstered sofas as well as leather, but their abilities don’t just stop there. Apply to luggage, jackets, handbags, car seats or anywhere for a quick and easy solution to life’s little mishaps or to personalise your belongings.

They are designed and made in England from Axiomhide, a luxury alternative to leather as seen on first-class airplane seats and expensive motor yachts.

Visit www.mastaplasta.com for more information.

modern house at night Are you interested in picking up the latest in innovative products and services, inspirational design ideas, renovation tips and cost saving solutions for the home? Then look no further! The Homebuilding & Renovating Show, the UK’s only dedicated self-build and home improvement show, is at the Bath & West Showground, Shepton Mallet on 21st & 22nd November.

The South West Homebuilding & Renovating Show features over 120 exhibitors, 36 free seminars and masterclasses as well as the unique opportunity to get advice from the Experts. This really is a must-visit event.

Whether you are looking for land to build your own home, want to extend your property to create an open plan kitchen or are thinking about converting your loft or basement to create extra space, you will find the products, services, advice and information to help create your perfect home.

Want to find out more about how you can improve your home? Then attend How to Successfully Add Space and Value to your Home’, a free seminar at 11.30am on both days. Concerned about your impact on the environment and want to do more? Learn more about reducing your carbon footprint by attending ‘How to Heat Your Home for Nothing: Dream or Reality?’ a free seminar at 1.30pm on both days.

If you’re still at the planning stage of your building project, then take along your drawings, plans or just your ideas and speak to one of the many experts at the Show and get some great advice.

For more information and tickets, visit www.homebuildingshow.co.uk. Tickets are £5 in advance by calling 0844 5811377 or £8 on the door (children under 16 go free).

Are you interested in picking up the latest in innovative products and services, inspirational design ideas, renovation tips and cost saving solutions for the home? Then look no further! The Homebuilding & Renovating Show, the UK’s only dedicated self-build and home improvement show, is coming to Harrogate from 6th to 8th November.

Curved House

Curved House


On at Harrogate International Centre, The Northern Homebuilding & Renovating Show features over 210 exhibitors, 54 free seminars and masterclasses as well as the unique opportunity to get advice from the Experts. This really is a must-visit event.

Whether you are looking for land to build your own home, want to extend your property to create an open plan kitchen or are thinking about converting your loft or basement to create extra space, you will find the products, services, advice and information to help create your perfect home.

Want to find out more about how you can improve your home? Then attend ‘How to Successfully Add Space and Value to your Home’, a free seminar at 11.30am every day. Concerned about your impact on the environment and want to do more? Learn more about reducing your carbon footprint by attending ‘How to Heat Your Home for Nothing: Dream or Reality?’ a free seminar at 1.30pm every day. Visit www.homebuildingshow.co.uk to find out more about the other free seminars and the masterclasses that run on the three days of the Show.

If you’re still at the planning stage of your building project, then bring along your drawings, plans or just your ideas and speak to one of the many experts at the Show and get some great advice. Visit the Homebuilding & Renovating magazine stand where Michael Holmes, TV presenter and Editor-in-Chief of Real Homes and Homebuilding & Renovating magazines, will be heading up a team of experts specialising in renovating, design, planning, self-building and greener living.

The Northern Homebuilding & Renovating Show is on at Harrogate International Centre from 6th to 8th November. The Show features over 210 exhibitors, 54 free seminars and masterclasses and the chance to Ask the Experts. For more information and tickets, visit www.homebuildingshow.co.uk. Tickets are £5 in advance by calling 0844 5811377 or £8 on the door (children under 16 go free).

southern showAre you interested in picking up the latest in innovative products and services, inspirational design ideas, renovation tips and cost saving solutions for the home? Then look no further! The Homebuilding & Renovating Show, the UK’s only dedicated self-build and home improvement show, is coming to the South of England.

On at Sandown Park on 27 and 28 June, The Southern Homebuilding & Renovating Show features over 150 exhibitors, 36 free seminars and masterclasses as well as the unique opportunity to get advice from the Experts. This really is a must-visit event.

Whether you are looking for land to build your own home, want to extend your property to create an open plan kitchen or are thinking about converting your loft or basement to create extra space you will find the products, services, advice and information to help create your perfect home.

Want to find out more about how you can improve your home? Then attend ‘How to extend and improve your home cost-effectively’, a free seminar at 11am on both days. Concerned about your impact on the environment and want to do more? Learn more about reducing your carbon footprint by attending ‘Zero-Energy Homes: can you really heat your home for free?’ a free seminar at 1.30pm on both days. Visit www.homebuildingshow.co.uk to find out more about the other free seminars and the masterclasses that run on both days of the Show.

If you’re still at the planning stage of your building project then bring along your drawings, plans or just your ideas and speak to one of the many experts at the Show and get some great advice. Visit the Homebuilding & Renovating magazine stand where Michael Holmes, TV presenter and Editor in Chief of Real Homes and Homebuilding & Renovating magazines, will be heading up a team of experts specialising in renovating, design, planning, self-building, and greener living.

As an added bonus, your ticket will give you free entry to the co-located Kitchen & Bathroom Show, the UK’s only dedicated kitchen and bathroom event that will help you transform your kitchen from sad to sensational or your bathroom to a spa retreat. Meet over 60 individual kitchen manufacturers and suppliers, often not seen on the High Street, who will inspire with bespoke designs and state of the art technology.

The Southern Homebuilding & Renovating Show is on at Sandown Park on 27 and 28 June. The Show features over 150 exhibitors, 36 free seminars and masterclasses and the chance to Ask the Experts. For more information and tickets, visit www.homebuildingshow.co.uk. Tickets are £5 in advance by calling 0871 945 4547 or £8 on the door (children under 16 go free).

east of england home building and renovation logoWould-be renovators and self-builders should see 2009 as an excellent time to start a building project. For renovators and self-builders in the East of England, the relaunch of The Eastern Homebuilding & Renovating Show, on at exec Peterborough on 30 and 31 May, means the best advice and information is now available to help make the most of their homes.

The recent success of The National Homebuilding & Renovating Show clearly indicates that many homeowners are looking to build their way out of the recession. There could well be an increase in the 20,000 each year who currently achieve this goal as they take advantage of the availability of more plots and contractors as well as competitive pricing. Homeowners looking to improve, rather than move, could also take advantage of keen prices in the current economic climate to make significant savings on their budgets if they plan carefully, shop around and do their homework.

east of england showWhether you are renovating, extending, building or wanting to make the most of your home, now is a great time to visit The Eastern Homebuilding & Renovating Show. Housed in the fabulous new facilities at exec Peterborough, the Show offers over 80 exhibitors, 36 free seminars and masterclasses over the two days as well as the opportunity to ‘Ask the Experts’.

Take along your plans, outline drawings or just your ideas and speak to one of the many experts at the Show. Michael Holmes, TV presenter and editor in Chief of Real Homes and Homebuilding & Renovating magazines, will be heading up a team of experts specialising in renovating, design, planning, self-building, and greener living.

For more information and tickets, visit www.homebuildingshow.co.uk. Tickets are £5 in advance by calling 0871 945 4547 or £8 on the door.

This award winning event for design and inspiration for your home returns to ExCeL London over ten days between 25 April and 4 May.

Kevin McCloud says “Now’s the best time in 15 years to self-build, renovate, convert, extend or remodel….” So, with that in mind, it would seem that all roads lead to London’s ExCeL in late April!

Book your tickets now.

kevin mccloudThis year’s show will be packed full of new interactive features. Listen to our Big Debates in the Grand Seminar Theatre, get a free consultation with an architect or designer in our Expert Advice Centre, shop from over 500 exhibitors offering an unrivalled range of products – many you will not find on the high street. Get hands-on advice in the How To… Theatre, see the gadgets we will be using in 20 years time at The House of the Future, and find exclusive designer accessories in the Icon Shop. Plus visit the inspiring Grand Village dedicated to demonstrating eco-homes of the future.

Whether you’re renovating or simply redecorating, Grand Designs Live will provide you with plenty of amazing tips to turn your dream home into a reality. Click here to view our interactive floorplan.