Bending Wood on the stove top


I need to bend some pine for the backs of dining room chairs. The largest is the upper back approx. 1" thick by 12 by 4. I count 12 pieces total that need to be bent.
After doing some major looking through google the only thing I have found is very large steamers using PVC or something similar for stuff like 2x4s.
What if I put the piece in a large pot suspended over water and steam it like a vegetable steamer?
Would something like this:
http://www.dharmatrading.com/html/eng/1695552-AA.shtml
actually work on wood?
If so I think I have some old steel toolboxes that might hold water that I can use.
Opinions welcome please.
Thanks,
Matt
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Matt S wrote:

Matt, You have a number of options: you can bend thin wood 1/4" or less by soaking & bending over a hot pipe. (electric or propane torch heated)
You can make a bending jig & glue laminate thin dry pieces together- depending on the radius, your laminations will have to be thinner for a small radius.
you can steam the wood & put in a bending jig to dry. I did a quick search on woodweb & found this: there a number of ways to make your own steamer
http://www.woodweb.com/knowledge_base/Bending_wood.html Hope this helps Phil
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Matt S wrote:

What's the radius? If you laid the edges down on the table, how high would the center be?
I'd just cut them out of thicker stock.
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Phil,
Thanks for the link. That was one of the places I was looking, I read a lot of the initial material there. I'm going to have to go back through that site looked interesting enough to add to my links. (Just started collecting woodworking site links)
Larry,
Including the thickness of the wood (3/4") about 1.25-1.5 inches. But I only have Home Depot and Lowes at my disposal so that would leave me with gluing two pieces and then cutting them on a band saw. I don't think my band saw even has a 4" opening. But that is something to keep in mind.
Thanks,
Matt
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[...]

... as a bas idea, because of the short grain that such a sawing operation generates, weakening the piece.
--
Dr. Juergen Hannappel http://lisa2.physik.uni-bonn.de/~hannappe
mailto: snipped-for-privacy@physik.uni-bonn.de Phone: +49 228 73 2447 FAX ... 7869
  Click to see the full signature.
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Matt S wrote:

Search this newsgroups archive on "amonia freeze bend" (yes, it's spelled wrong). There is a reference to another bending technique using ammonia. I am not endorsing it, I just remember seeing recently.
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Stove-top steaming will work, but I prefer the electric kettle from Lee Valley, piped to a simple wood steam box. What kind of wood are you using? Some kinds bend better than others.
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Matt S wrote:

Hi Matt,
A lot depends upon how much you need to bend them. At 12 inches long you don't have much leverage. You will find the process easier if you bend the pieces when they are a bit longer. Then cut them to size.
But otherwise boiling is a perfectly good way to do it.
Gregg
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Matt S wrote:

Well, if they are just 12"x4" you could probably do it on the stove using a big pan like a turkey is roasted in. Put the wood on a rack, and cover with foil. Keep an eye on it to make sure all the water doesn't boil off.
Mitch
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Ok, in order:
>>>> ... as a bas idea, because of the short grain that such a sawing operation generates, weakening the piece. <<<<<
Ok, your point taken. Thank you.

spelled wrong). There is a reference to another bending technique using ammonia. I am not endorsing it, I just remember seeing recently. <<<<
Hmm, ok I'll check that out.

Valley, piped to a simple wood steam box. What kind of wood are you using? Some kinds bend better than others. <<<<
I would build something like that if I had a bigger project in mind, and maybe someday I will. As for the wood it was going to be pine, but then I switch to poplar, but in the end I might get oak. But it will be either poplar or oak.

pieces when they are a bit longer. Then cut them to size. <<<
Gregg that's a damn good idea, I never thought of that. Thanks :)

using a big pan like a turkey is roasted in. Put the wood on a rack, and cover with foil. Keep an eye on it to make sure all the water doesn't boil off. <<<
Mitch, yeah that's exactly what I was thinking. My father has a gas stove so I will probably do it at his house (everyone knows cooking with gas is better).
All that being said here are my thoughts so far. My brother owns some property and I'm going to chop down a tree and stack the boards in the upstairs of his barn. It's a small two story barn and gets hotter than hell up there. I was thinking about doing the cutting in March/April and then make my dining set (table/chairs) in August. We'll see if the wood turns out to be crap. I'll be back to square one and buying from Home Depot if it is. But it'll be a learning experience.
I have a lot more reading to do though on drying wood. I want to make sure I know as much as possible before I do this and then the rest I'll learn as I go (we all know some thing's have to be learned and not taught).
-Matt
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