My sister gave me 3, '58 Corvette Wheel Covers. I was going to make a 2 1/2" round Walnut skirt. I was attempting to kerf cut and soak in hot bath water to get the bend. I started off all wrong the saw kerfs would show outside the outermost edge. On top of that I figured my board length too short. I am making a steam chamber to bend. I am also going to make a form. Made a 10 ft. round table for the rotunda of a building once and it was a piece of cake compared to trying to get this tight bend Learned a bunch but got nothing to show for it.  When I took my diameter, I took it to ring that grabs rim. It should have been  1/8" or so past the outermost lip.

      I intend for the strings to come out the base of the flipper. Bridge is going to be on flat ring just outside flipper. Picking area will be in the fluted dish area.I have rotated flipper 1/4 turn (as shown) so valve stem can come out hole Long screw through the middle  to catch neck board where valve would be. Chrome skull to cover screw head, looking like valve stem cover. That is what my head is saying, now I need to get my hands to cooperate.

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Good Luck, it looks ambitious.

I have done a pretty tight radius bend with walnut before. Didn't use kerf method insted palnned to 1/8 thickness, soaked in very hot water for about an hour and bent around a form. I think this will work for your situation.

      I think you and I are on the same page. I am going to use 1/4" plywood for substrate and laminate the 1/8" walnut over the top.II don't have a planer, but when I had use of one I always found thin stuff was problematic.I can re-saw up to 2 1/2" on tired old table saw.I have ordered a steam generator and am going to make a steam chamber out of a 5ft' section of 8" and 6^' diameter galvanized heat duct and a couple cans of spray foam insulation.It will come in handy later for this habit I got.Bent wood on gits is common enough.I might be able to sell rings for hub cap gits. After all i will have to make bending form. Will be good for Chevy 15" rims. Trying to bend using 1/4" nylon or web clamp is a problem. What happens is it starts to bend at it's weakest point and wants to continue to bend there and isn't consistent..I will keep ya" posted.


This is a very interesting post. I don't know very much about forming wood in this way but I have some questions.
What kind of working time do you have after you give the wood a hot water bath?
When cutting the wood to join the ends, do you do it before you bath the wood, or after it has dried? Is it a butt joint or angled?
What kinds of wood are best for hot water method? Do different kinds of wood require longer time in bath?
Can you use strap clamps to hold the wood against the form while it is drying?
Sorry for so many questions, but I tried something like this with a student in the past year that didn't work out too well and this post reminded me of it. We were using balsa and I wasn't able to heat the wood enough and probably not long enough. It couldn't get in a tight enough area, kept cracking... We ended up using the wood cross grain and it worked better.

      Greg, I don't know anything about forming wood either. Keep in mind part of the title of the OP was Epic Fail!. I will tell you what does work. I once trained a 3/8" dowel rod around a broom handle so as to make a snake that I could woodburn. That worked got 2 1/2 turns, to make a walking stick. Accuracy wasn't a problem. I ran a tub full enough to submerge (weighted down).

      Now as far as joint, I mitered my the 3 of the bent pieces I showed in the tub. I let the things soak for about 2 hours and started tightening the nylon cord you see them wrapped. The problem is you have no control over the bend. It starts bending in the weakest place and wants to bend more there than the rest of the radius. I broke one got one to make the bend and clamped it ready for glue up. I miscalculated the diameter so the wheel cover was too big for my trouble. Threw the other one in the boo boo pile for later. Look at the "How its Made" episode that JL linked. That will give you a better description than I can. Good Luck.


Going to reply to my reply bc I left out the fact that you bend a little, let soak, bend some more, run more hot water in tub. Let soak bend some more. Every time you go to the can bend a little more. Takes about a day or so. This isn't a production deal. Good for one off.

maybe this "how its made" will give you some ideas...

      JL, thanks for that one. I really appreciate your help there. I had already figured on steam bending. I was going to miter the pieces but that tapered lap joint they did is the way to go. I think the same jig I use to make scarf joints on my table saw may work to make joint for git body.The neck of the guitar will hide the joint in the builds, but the surface area of the glue line in the snare drum is way stronger than a miter. I have fabricated a steam chamber and got a steam generator. I am into it $100 +/-,right now. I am going to make a form the size of the WC so it will be uniform shape and dimension. Also it will make a glue jig. I need 3 good ones, not 300, so it will probably work. The steam chamber is 1 each 8" & 6" galvanized heat duct with 2 each 6" starters. 2 16 oz cans of spray foam insulation. I also have some 1/2" Styrofoam like you insulate exterior walls.The formula is 15 min. of steam for each 1/4" of thickness. They say kiln dried lumber won't bend. Mine is air dried in my basement for the last 25 years. Had an ol' B-I-L in W. Va. that ran a one man saw mill that gave me a bunch of stuff. I am just guessing, but i say if you soak kiln dried lumber overnight in a bathtub, it will bend. Wood is like a dried out kitchen sponge. Dry, no bend,slightly damp bend a little,wet bend all you want. Steam alone won't penetrate the cellular structure. That is opinion only but I didn't just fall off the turnip truck  (;-D)



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