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Thread: how to build a curved wall?

  1. #16
    When I needed to make a bent plywood item years ago I purchased 1/8" thick poplar bending pywood from DSI, a commercial supplier. Bending (wacky) plywood did not always bend smoothly.

  2. #17
    Your a little deep in the process to be exploring such an important detail. I would build a form from stacked insulation foam and cover in a couple of layers of resin impregnated fleece. The fleece stretches easily to conform to complex curves and is fairly cheap. Provided all the sections are identical, I would do a flange on one side of each panel and do a ship lap type joint all the way around. Another option is a simple skin on each facet, followed by thick upholstery I've taken on similar jobs and can tell you this is not a job for the faint hearted. I wouldn't even begin to think about doing this in wood, if I couldn't dedicate six months to it and was paid accordingly. I must have been asked to copy this bed 50 times over the years, and really wanted to do it. I never could make the math work out without approaching six figures
    Attached Images Attached Images

  3. #18
    Bending plywood is pretty easily available and comes 3/8" typically. Sometimes called wacky wood. Both barrel and column forms.

  4. #19
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    Albert
    Did you steam bend those ribs or lam bend them? Nice work either way.

    Now you want boatbuilding skills.

  5. #20
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    If it has to be wood, make it like a barrel, with staves, thin wood steam bent and then joined together and held with glue and reinforced with banding. The more staves in the barrel, the rounder the barrel will be. Determine the stave dimensions based on segments of the diameters at several levels and make a flexible template, then cut many staves to the template shape and steam bend them on a curved form. You are dividing up a circle into multi degree segments, and the width of each segment at any point will be a segment of that diameter, ie. a 36' circumference divided into 36 segments (staves) will be equal in width to 1/36 of the circumference or 10 degrees to = 10". You will need to determine the stave width at many points this way.

    I built a 6' ball one time (a giant baseball), and a pumpkin is a ball, but with decorative pieces attached. This is a very time consuming project. I spent almost a month full time on that ball. Then the decorative stuff, steps, wheels, etc. for your pumpkin will all be extra. You will need to build many forms and jigs as you do this. I ended up hot gluing little blocks to the staves so I could use band clamps around them to pull the stave ends together. Then I broke/trimmed them off afterwards. Don't forget that you will need to devise a way to take it apart in sections, so it will fit through doorways, or your daughter's bedroom might become your workshop and your workshop might become her bedroom. I had 12' wide roll-up doors to go through, so my ball didn't need to come apart.

    Another thought, if it doesn't have to have a wood skin, is to build many ribs and then cover it with something thin like fabric - think old airplane design ribs and covering. This method would take much less time. Look at some YouTube videos about covering and re-covering wooden airplane wings and fuselages. You could do it with linen and then shrink the linen with the dope finish or get large sheets of heat shrink plastic sheeting and glue it on, then shrink it to fit with a heat gun like they are doing in more recent years. Hobby size model airplane builders are doing this now.

    If you make this, please remember to take progress pictures along with the final pictures. I'm certain that we'll all want to see them, no matter how you decide to build it.

    Charley
    Last edited by Charles Lent; 04-08-2020 at 12:54 PM.

  6. #21
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    Easy, in my case start off by trying to make it straight. :-)

  7. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bender View Post
    Albert
    Did you steam bend those ribs or lam bend them? Nice work either way.
    Albert, Wondering the same thing.
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 04-08-2020 at 7:49 PM. Reason: fixed quote tagging

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bender View Post
    Albert
    Did you steam bend those ribs or lam bend them? Nice work either way.

    Now you want boatbuilding skills.
    Hi Tom, No, I didnt use steam bend, I laminated them twice.

    each post/beam are made up of 9 x 5mm (about 3/16) thick slices, I laminate 3 pieces in one set first, and then glue/bend them again when I have 3 sets to maintain the curve/bow.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Lent View Post
    If it has to be wood....


    If you make this, please remember to take progress pictures along with the final pictures. I'm certain that we'll all want to see them, no matter how you decide to build it.

    Charley

    Thanks Charley, I have been contemplating in the last 3 days and I making it with staves maybe the best way forward.

    the wall section will need to be demountable so it can be disassembled and moved around for assembly. the current pumpkin structure can be dismounted.

    the decoration will take the longest time, I havnt had time to think about the interior trim/upholstery. I will come to that when I finish the main structure. here is a picture of what I am trying to achieve.

    Attachment 429802

    will definitely post up the pics when I finish with progressive shots.

  10. #25
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    Your link doesn't work. Can you try again?

    Charley

  11. #26
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    Los Angeles
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    How did you connect the ribs together at the top and bottom to the plywood (?) circle?
    And how will you move the completed pumpkins? Heavy!

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Fort Collins, CO
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    We just completed a new park in Colorado. Check out the "curved" wood structure. It is made from 1-1/8" marine grade plywood frames with Accoya wood slats. It gives plenty of strength for climbing and weathers extremely well.

    Anyway, you could adapt the concept easily for your pumpkin. Use some different stain colors to give it some visual variation. The regular screw pattern on our project looks nice and is a simple way to fasten the slats. Hopefully this gives some ideas for your project!

    - Jon

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    Man advances just in proportion that he mingles thought with his labor. - Ingersoll

  13. #28
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    Michigan
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    Ok how about this; Make it from fiberglass cloth and resin. Make each segment separately. To keep your existing structure clean make 2 more ribs and set them up horizontally and form each segment by gravity. Expect to scrap the first one for practice.

    You may find that it still doesn't drape well and may have to make half segments. Still much easier and lighter than wood.

  14. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Lent View Post
    Another thought, if it doesn't have to have a wood skin, is to build many ribs and then cover it with something thin like fabric - think old airplane design ribs and covering. This method would take much less time. Look at some YouTube videos about covering and re-covering wooden airplane wings and fuselages. You could do it with linen and then shrink the linen with the dope finish or get large sheets of heat shrink plastic sheeting and glue it on, then shrink it to fit with a heat gun like they are doing in more recent years. Hobby size model airplane builders are doing this now.

    If you make this, please remember to take progress pictures along with the final pictures. I'm certain that we'll all want to see them, no matter how you decide to build it.

    Charley
    This is kind of what I envisioned as well, though I was thinking tent/parachute fabric. Maybe awning fabric which might not be flexible enough but might ad some geometric possibilities.
    If wood or gypsum/plaster, that will be one heavy bed!
    That is one cool piece of work though. Can't wait to see the final product.

    Steve

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Edmonton, Canada
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    Depends how much time you want to spend and for what look. You can build (bent lamination, you can use even bending ply for that purpose) bent slats, say about 3" wide, going horizontally between the ribs you already have following the curve of the circle, say about 6" or so apart going top to bottom. You leave a 1/4" groove on the sides of these slats. Then use plywood to run between these slats and "trap" the plywood in the grooves to take the shape of the curve. You can probably replace the groove with a rebate on the outside of the slats and once you bend the plywood over you will get your plywood surface flush with the surface of the slats from outside. Use glue to secure them. This will give you the most spherical shape.

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