Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tech Tip Tuesday

(Photo by Inventables)

DW sent me an email message with a link that seemed to be eerily prescient. On Thursday this week, I'm going to be working with a friend steam bending her kayak coaming so that we can finish up the skin-on-frame boats we're building. However, it appears that there are some other options.

Cold bending - a process that uses heat and compression to alter the structure of wood can provide a piece of wood that can be bent easily without requiring heat or chemicals to alter the wood. To use the product, the high moisture content treated wood is removed from its packaging and bent around a form to the shape that is desired. The material is then allowed to dry and will hold its shape. It was developed by a company called Compwood and seems to be offered by different vendors under different names. WoodenBoat Magazine had a review of the material in issue 213.

(Photo by Inventables)

While it looks like an interesting material, it appears to have a few shortcomings. The material is fairly expensive - a sample package of 5 - 1/2 board feet is $90.00 (US) - that's $16/board foot! The material is only available up to 100" long, can only be worked in limited ways and if it gets wet again, it may move again. The manufacturer claims that coatings will help prevent this, but if you're building a boat, it's likely that some of the coatings may come off from use or weathering.

Still, for certain applications, I'd love to try a few pieces!

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