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Thread: Fabric Softener for bending sides

  1. #1
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    Post Fabric Softener for bending sides

    I have read and heard that some builders have soaked their wood in fabric softener previous to bending on a hot iron. I tried to search forum for any articles and postings concerning this but have not found the source. Are there any builders who could give me feedback and advice on how to go about using this approach. Pelone

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    Default Re: Fabric Softener for bending sides

    I have no idea about this. What does the fabric softener do?

    Thanks

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    Default Re: Fabric Softener for bending sides

    My limited experience with this method told me that it is no magic bullet and I have no idea how it would ultimately affect the finishing steps. What I have found is that if I get the ribs hot enough they will bend, and the thinner the wood the easier it is bent.
    -Newtonamic

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    Registered User bennyb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fabric Softener for bending sides

    Here's one (of many) threads over at luthiers forum on use of supersoft(the preferred brand, currently). It aids in bending.

    benny

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  6. #5

    Default Re: Fabric Softener for bending sides

    There is veneer softener which is available through Amazon and woodworking supply houses. It is a glycol and intended for these applications.

    https://www.amazon.com/Sauers-Veneer...eneer+softener

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    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fabric Softener for bending sides

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyV View Post
    I have no idea about this. What does the fabric softener do?

    Thanks
    Surely wood bent using fabric softener would be so much kinder to your hands?
    I'm playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order. - Eric Morecambe

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    Default Re: Fabric Softener for bending sides

    Thanks and a shout out to bennyb for leading me to the correct thread. I had used SS fabric softener a year ago on some highly figured maple for the ribs of a mando. I found that it seemed to work well and I did not encounter breakout at the figured wood. I will soak for 24 hours and then bend on the iron. Will post the outcome.

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    bennyb 

  11. #8
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    Default Re: Fabric Softener for bending sides

    Works fine, even for cold bending on a form.
    Stephen Perry
    www.giannaviolins.com - Primarily violin family
    mandovoodoo.com - Acoustic blueprinting
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  12. #9

    Default Re: Fabric Softener for bending sides

    Works,but a steam cabinet (Rockler) and a bending iron is so much better and faster with less rebound.

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    Default Re: Fabric Softener for bending sides

    Success--I managed to bend highly figured sides without experiencing "breaking out" at the weaker sections. To determine if it was just my imagination, I also bent plain flat sawn maple---bent like rubber. Of course, the flat sawn material is nice but lacks the drama of the figured wood that is either vertical grain or slightly vertical grain. Would like to hear about the experience of others.

  14. #11
    Registered User Andy Morton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fabric Softener for bending sides

    Hi---I have been on a mission to use curly maple binding on my current F-5 build. Maybe its a fools erand...but I have had some success. It just looks so cool!!!!

    I have used fabric softener and yes it did seem to work--soaking .04 " thick binding between a aluminum foil sheet for about an hour.

    I then tried "Veneer Tamer" which I bought at Woodcraft (approx--$13) and it seemed to work much better. Again wetting the binding strips (with the spray bottle that it comes in) and letting it soak for an hour or so between a folded sheet of aluminum foil.

    For all but the scroll curves---with this binding (.04") you can "cold bend" all other curves. For the scroll curves it requires heat for the bend--I use a soldering iron and bend around that with a aluminum fabricated backing strip (HoGo describes this in one of his posts--Thannks Adrian).

    In short the Veneer Tamer works very well----and helps prevent delamination---even after the binding strips have dried.

    I will try to post some pics later.

    Good luck--anyone else trying this.

    Andy

  15. #12

    Default Re: Fabric Softener for bending sides

    I used fabric softener for a while, Wanted to buy SuperSoft II but the shipping and custom fees were more than the SS itself. Finally bit the bullet and got a jug. Seeing that you are in the U.S. it would be more advantageous picking up a bottle. The FS can work but SS is much better.

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    Default Re: Fabric Softener for bending sides

    Fabric softener is a surfactant (wetting agent) that lowers the surface tension between a liquid and a solid. It does not impede the bending when used as a “pre-treatment” and smells nice too.

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    Default Re: Fabric Softener for bending sides

    I found super-soft liquid at a made in america store, super-soft flakes, and super-soft 2 veneer softener. Any suggestions on which one to buy?
    Graham

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    Default Re: Fabric Softener for bending sides

    I used SS fabric softener on some sides a week ago---left the ribs in the form for a week while I left on a camping trip, came back to find that the ribs have no "spring-back" and hold the intended shape quite nicely. It appears that there are no negative consequences such as discoloration or staining. A test piece seemed to take dye well. I did notice that even though I had thinned the wood quite substantially there was a bit of thickening to the finished piece. I am interested enough in the process to use it on other pieces of highly figured woods.

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