How do you bend wood when making a laminate?


I don't think I phrased the SUBJECT very well so pardon me on that.
I'm trying to fabricate a broken piece on a chair. It appears to be made from 5 or 6 layers of thin oak that are laminated together and bent at a near 90 degree angle.
I've been pretty successful in the small amount of work I've done (very small) with laminating thin strips of wood so this must not be a difficult thing to do. My problem is how to make the wood more flexible Do you soak it in water? Boil it? Pray over it? And while I've made a form to help it hold its shape I'm not sure of the steps involved.
It would seem that I'd make the wood bendable, place my glue, layer the pieces, then apply my clamps. Is this right?
It would make more sense then making the piece of laminate and then trying to bend it and that is why I'm asking. When things seem perfectly reasonable, and I never had a doubt, I usually bunk it up.
Any help on this subject, thoughts, opinions or the like are welcomed. Off topic replies (Laminate sucks! or Dude! Your killing trees when you cut wood) or flames will be fwd'ed to my M-I-L (note that is M-I-L not MILF ).
Thanks Bmiller
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On Mon, 17 Aug 2009 05:07:19 -0400, Bewet Miller

I remember seeing steam cabinets at boat building yards for steaming the planks so they could be bent for the hull etc.
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Bewet Miller wrote:

More or less.
1. Wood is inherently bendable. You may or may not have to make it more so depending mostly on how thin the pieces are and how tight the radius of the curve. If it will bend to the desired radius when dry, just glue and clamp.
Whether bent dry or softened, expect some "spring back" after the glue dries.
2. You can increase the bendability (in increasing order of effectiveness) by wetting, soaking, steaming (in a steamer).
How long to soak or steam depends again on how thin the pieces are and how tight the radius of the curve. I know a fellow with a veneer operation...they steam their flitches for 24 hours before slicing.
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dadiOH
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homemade steamer;a big PVC pipe with end caps,a hole cut for steam to enter(and a hole at the other end for it to escape),put over a hot plate boiling a pan of water. Then use Gorilla glue...it activates by moisture.
Google may turn up better plans for wood steamers.
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Jim Yanik
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On Mon, 17 Aug 2009 05:07:19 -0400, Bewet Miller

Some kinds of wood bend easier than others and green wood bends the easiest. You will need to make a form. I use MDF with holes that I can use for clamping the steamed wood. Steam strips inside a PVC pipe standing in boiling water. Loosely plug the top with a rag. Steam for about an hour, maybe less for 1/8" thick strips. Within 20 seconds move the steamed strips to the form and clamp. When strips dry, remove them then glue them up and clamp in the form. Figure about 6% springback so make a 84.5-degree form. Laminates made this way are very strong which is why quality stairway banisters are made this way. BBQ tongs and leather gloves are recommended. Steamed wood is somewhat rubbery, but for just a few seconds.
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What's the radius of curvature? That's important to know.

Steam it, usually. Google "steambending wood".

That's the general idea. You'll get MUCH better advice if you post in rec.woodworking, though.
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Doug Miller wrote:

Rec.woodworking is good advice. I believe hickory was most commonly used to bend in the old days. For thicker pieces of wood, a series of cuts on inside of the curve and not all the way through (of course) is used to bend wood. I did a search on "woodworking bending hickory" and got loads of hits - lots of info out there.
http://www.allwoodwork.com/article/woodwork/methods_of_bending_wood.htm
http://www.woodweb.com/knowledge_base/Rx_For_Bending_Wood.html
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