Recommendation for Vacuum Press for Bentwood Laminations

Posted in Bentwood Lamination, News |

Recently a client who purchased WoodWorks Season 5 DVD  and is working on building the Contemporary Dining Chair (episode 507) emailed David about his recommendations for a vacuum press.  This project involves bentwood lamination for the curved chair back.  The vacuum press is necessary for the glue up of the numerous laminates. What vacuum press make/model does David recommend I should purchase? Ken Hi Ken, As you might know, I have built my own vacuum press by purchasing a 3/4 horsepower oil-less pump from Graingers back in 1989, and making my own bags from rolls of 16 mil and 20 mil vinyl as well as my own platens of various sizes from 3/4 inch thick Ultralight MDF. I used to like to make my own bags and occasionally still do, so that they can accommodate various sized projects. The problem I have had over the years is getting small leaks in the bags which I have had to patch with vinyl and vinyl cement. For other woodworkers that are getting started in vacuum pressing, I have recommended the Vacu Press Company in Maine. I have worked with the Vacu Press systems at other schools and they are really solid and reliable systems. Check out their website and review what they have to offer to see how they match up with your needs. I have used their vinyl bags with great success and in recent years I have gone to the polyurethane bags because they are much stronger and don’t seem to get leaks like the vinyl bags can do over time. Some woodworkers have used “Joe” to build their own vacuum presses and they seem to be happy with the results as well as the price, so you could check them out as well. Keep in mind that I purchased an oversized motor (3/4 horsepower ) vacuum pump back in 1989 because I needed to glue up large panels for a floor that I was making and evacuate the air quickly. Most vacuum pumps have 1/3 horsepower motors which are quite sufficient. Take Care, David  ...

Read More

Student Builds Bentwood Laminated Lamp Design from WoodWorks

Posted in Bentwood Lamination, Furniture Making, Wood Lamp, Woodworking |

Phil Crane from the Sacramento area took a class with me early November 2012 on how to make a bentwood laminated lamp from mahogany similar to the one I made on Woodworks episode #512. Bending wood opens up a world of design possibilities that enable one to create things that have flowing curved lines as opposed to the predictable flat planed designs that woodworking is usually associated with. The process ironically begins with jointing the wood to create a flat surface. The next step is to resaw the wood into thin strips, the mahogany needed to 1/16″ thick in order to bend to a tight radius. Laying out the strips on a table covered with plastic makes for a faster method of rolling on the glue. I prefer a slow setting Urea resin glue. The brand I am using is Unibond 800. Here is Phil quite happy that we are ready to put the laminates in the bending form that I made on Woodworks. After the glue has dried overnight at 70 degrees, we unclamped it and the wood retains the shape of the form. Our next challenge was to resaw the bentwood lamination in half which I did on my 36 inch bandsaw because of the wide curve. After that we routed a channel and glued in some 3/8th inch copper tubing for the wire. Once everything was glued up, we joined the legs to the trunk and Phil could begin sculpting and shaping the legs. After much work with a pattern makers rasp and lots of sanding, Phil’s lamp is ready for the finish which he will apply at home in his own shop. This is a photo of the original lamp that I designed and built for Woodworks made from Koa.   The lamp shade was a challenge for me. I finally decided to purchase one made from white Alabaster which seemed perfect for my...

Read More