Bending thin wooden "rods"

For a school project, my son's building something which requires that he use curved wooden "rods". Not really rods, but 1/4" square bar stock (best term I can think of). A friend had a lot of wood left over from a project, and donated it. There are two types: Balsa, and one which the friend believes is basswood. So...my son got on the web and did some research on steam bending wood. Most sites he found said 10 minutes of intense steam should do the trick. He build a jig using nails, to hold the steamed wood in shape after steaming, and arranged a couple of wide pots with lids so the wood could sit on the rims of the pots, but be covered, and thus bathed in steam.
Within seconds of being removed from the steam, the wood was moved to the jig. 4 hours later, took the wood out of the jig, and it sprang back about halfway to its original shape.
Is there a something he's missed here?
The final shape needed is this: Each 2 foot piece of stock has to look like 1/4 of a circle after bending.
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JoeSpareBedroom wrote:
> Within seconds of being removed from the steam, the wood was moved to the > jig. 4 hours later, took the wood out of the jig, and it sprang back about > halfway to its original shape. > > Is there a something he's missed here?
Not enough time in the jig.
My guess is you need at least 3-4 days minimum.
Lew
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Lew Hodgett wrote:

And I bet it will STILL spring back some. Everything I've heard about bending wood including laminate bending says that there's always some springback. My guess you'll have to experiment with several curves that are greater than the radius you're going for and then settle on the one that gives you the closest result.
I'll also wager that you'll get a bit of give and take for consistency too; some will have a little more or less springback than others.
I think you and yours are learning some good stuff there. :-)
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Now, I'm wondering how he oriented the wood relative to the direction being bent, if you know what I mean, because I can't describe it because the phone's ringing and I gotta fly.... :)
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JoeSpareBedroom wrote:

of discussions about it there. For those interested, you can also search "bending veneer"
http://groups.google.com/groups/search?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=+%22bending+wood%22&qt_s=Search
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http://groups.google.com/groups/search?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=+%22bending+wood%22&qt_s=Search
Thanks, Stewart & everyone else for your tips. The bent wood design has been scrapped for another which uses only straight pieces. My son realized he needed a week to experiment with bending wood, and a few nights to actually build the project. Since there are only 7 days left.....the teenage calendar has kicked into action. Translation: He waited too long. :-)
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