Bending Wood To Create Rounded Arbors
wood garden structures and furniture have long
been favored by gardeners, naturalist and lovers
of the rustic look.
In fact, this very old form of creating
garden accents and practical pieces is also a
wonderful way to recycle fallen trees and
There are many different methods to build
rounded garden arbors from natural materials.
When using rough wood, smaller branches can be
notched to prevent them from snapping when bent.
Of course fresh wood is more pliable than dried
wood. If more extreme curves are required, it
may be necessary to soak the wood to increase
its malleability. The length of time the wood
needs to soak depends on how thick it is. Once
wood is bent to the desired degree, it should be
secured in place until it is dry.
If your prefer a more polished look for your
arbor and still want curved wood without
notching it, there are other methods that may
work, although they do require some specialized
equipment and a bit of practice. These methods
also involve the use of heat and steam, so use
precautionary measures such as gloves to protect
yourself from burns.
Bending irons utilize constant, controlled heat
to help bend wood against an aluminum or
stainless steel bending strap, and are typically
used to bend small, delicate pieces. Smooth,
fragile wood can also be soaked in sheets and
placed onto a cooling form to help it achieve
the desired shape as it dries. The form can be
as simple as a rack made from plywood and dowel.
Keep in mind that wood from some species of
trees is more difficult to bend than other wood.
Some of the easiest woods to bend include Indian
rosewood (which has plenty of resin to make it
pliable) and maple (because it is tough).
Mahogany and walnut are less easy to manipulate,
while Brazilian rosewood is very hard to bend.
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