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Thread: Outdoor bench with bent lamination curved legs

  1. #1
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    Outdoor bench with bent lamination curved legs

    Aaron's thread got me really interested in building one of these, so I'm now figuring out what wood to use, and how to build this:

    Outdoor bench idea with curved legs.jpeg

    Not my original idea, but really love the design that Aaron showed on his thread: https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread....dcentury-bench

    I got the okay from SWMBO (especially on outdoor stuff) to not paint it. She would love for it to have the rough appearance of this piece, but I'll insist on the curved bottom legs and it will have slats like the bench above, not a solid top. It looks like 6' wide, as that is a dimension that we can easily get cushions for. I want to challenge myself with a different type of design/construction:

    Upstairs Hall Table 1.jpgUpstairs Hall Table 2.jpg

    So thinking a dark wood for the legs. My first thought is Peruvian Walnut, but not sure how that will do outside. Sapele for the slats might be nice, but SWMBO thinks it's too red. Perhaps White Cypress as a good outdoor wood, though don't know if I can get it around here.

    Any thoughts regarding whether I can get the Peruvian Walnut to bend enough for the legs? And how thin to make the laminations.
    - ďItís not that Iím so smart, itís just that I stay with problems longer.Ē Ė Albert Einstein
    - Welcome to Florida. Where the old folks visit their parents

  2. #2
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    According to this site: https://www.timberblogger.com/peruvian-walnut/ Peruvian walnut has good steam bending properties but I suspect it would be difficult to get air dried stock. That's not necessarily a deal breaker for steam bending, but it may limit the radius of bends you can achieve. A bigger issue is that the site says it isn't great for outdoor applications...

    Mike

  3. #3
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    Not any direct answers for you, but the best thing you can do for exterior bench legs is build a masking tape dam around the bottom of the legs and cast a 1/4" thick cap out of epoxy on the end grain. The epoxy prevents moisture from wicking up into the end grain. Very few woods retain their original color when exposed to UV light. So don't judge the fresh color.

  4. #4
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    Re laminate thickness -- read the thread you posted.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike King View Post
    According to this site: https://www.timberblogger.com/peruvian-walnut/ Peruvian walnut has good steam bending properties but I suspect it would be difficult to get air dried stock. That's not necessarily a deal breaker for steam bending, but it may limit the radius of bends you can achieve. A bigger issue is that the site says it isn't great for outdoor applications...

    Mike
    I wasnít interested in steam bending, just bent laminations. Iím not sure if kiln dried would be an issue for that versus air dried with bent laminations. I agree, might be hard for me to get air dried Peruvian Walnut.

    Of course I could choose another better outdoor wood, and stained it, but that wood does have a beautiful grain and color for the bench.

    Iíve been there, done that with stream bending and while I have a full set up to do it, I just find it too unreliable to get identically radius pieces. The spring back just varies too much piece to piece.

    Of course Iím sure other people are better at it than I was.

    Of course if it turns gray, it would probably please SWMBO as the house is gray as is a bunch of our outdoor furniture

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie Buxton View Post
    Re laminate thickness -- read the thread you posted.
    Iím not sure why I posted that question. I remember the discussion from the other thread. Just a brain fart, I guess, on my part. 🤦

  7. #7
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    Alan, I am not sure Aaron overcame the 1/32 inch thickness for each of the laminates. I have done bent laminations with a 3/32" laminate. 1/16 is thin, 1/32 is really thin. I asked if any members used 1/32 inch laminates and there were no responses.

  8. #8
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    I could make 1/8" laminate pieces with ease. Probably 1/16" too.

    I can't imagine trying to make 1/32" pieces.

    I'll clearly have to get some wood, and make some test pieces of varying thicknesses and see what works, what splits, and perhaps what species I need to use.

    First step will be to make a few test pieces to see what radius curve looks good.
    - ďItís not that Iím so smart, itís just that I stay with problems longer.Ē Ė Albert Einstein
    - Welcome to Florida. Where the old folks visit their parents

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Lightstone View Post
    I could make 1/8" laminate pieces with ease. Probably 1/16" too.

    I can't imagine trying to make 1/32" pieces.

    https://www.accu-slice.com/accu-slice-system.html

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike King View Post
    Mike, visited the website. Interesting. Looked at several of his videos. When sawing 6 inch wide cherry 4 feet long, he pushes the wood thru at 10 inches per minute using an 8 teeth per inch blade. Unusual...very slow. Perhaps this is why his boards have very little bandsaw marks. I cannot find any recent reviews from anyone using this product.

  11. #11
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    I have no experience with it. However, one of the professionals on the Felder Owners Group has used the system to cut veneer from very expensive logs with great success.

    it isn’t cheap…

  12. #12
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    Odd, because their website says thatís itís not compatible with the metric miter slot on Felder bandsaws.

  13. #13
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    Members of the FOG own equipment from vendors other than Felder.

    there are other options for controlled resawing including building appliances to hold stock against the resaw fence. Check this thread https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread....-Woodmaster-CT

    with a good blade, such an appliance, and good technique you should be able to saw 1/32nd laminates with little trouble.

    proper technique is face joint between each resale, then plane the laminate in an appropriate planner. Lunchbox planers excel at this task as they have rubber feed rollers rather than serrated ones…
    Last edited by Mike King; 08-17-2022 at 1:32 PM.

  14. #14
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    My thoughts have now shifted to these issues:

    1.) How to make the tight radius curve in the legs without splitting. Definitely looking to put my smaller bandsaw blade on for this to make the forms, then my 1" resaw blade for the laminates.

    2.) Doesn't look like a fun glue-up with the multiple long pieces going around 2 curves. I'm thinking a U-shaped lamination with the front and back feet. I'll join it to a top piece of solid wood with conventional joinery. I've been thinking that using my large vacuum bag and two mating forms might be my best procedure for that. I can't imagine getting a sufficient number of clamps on this shape, especially for the tight curves on the front and back of the legs.

    3.) For glue - either epoxy or urea formaldehyde glue (Unibond 800) or Ultra-Cat Powdered resin glue. For 1" thick legs, that's a heck of a lot of 1/16" laminates. If I can't bend 1/16" that tightly, then possibly have to double the number of thinner laminates. Wow that would be a difficult glue-up.
    - ďItís not that Iím so smart, itís just that I stay with problems longer.Ē Ė Albert Einstein
    - Welcome to Florida. Where the old folks visit their parents

  15. #15
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    A vacuum bag, even at sea level, will not pull enough pressure for that bend. You will need a bunch of clamps to make it happen.

    Mike

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