Bending 4x4 possible??

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Old 10-21-08, 09:07 AM
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Bending 4x4 possible??

Hello,
I am trying to get a curve transition between my 6' fence to 3' fence. The top rail is a 4x4 redwood. Can it be bent? I was thinking of cutting 1/4" slats and steaming/gluing them back together, but is there an easier way? The distance between posts is 7'.

The rest of the fence line has a 4x4 top rail so I would like to keep the look consistent.

Thanks in advance.
-Robert
 
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Old 10-22-08, 12:37 AM
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Wow ! really ? you have a 4x4 top rail? that is a bit much,,,, In fact I am not sure I have ever seen such a size on the top rail. Of course,it could be 4 inches of stacked wood ....

Anyway , to bend... would be something to see . I would think that taking miter cuts out of the back end of the rail and then using metal plates to adhere the rail together again would be an ok way to go. Most times, for something as custom as a section on a curve those things are manufactured. Sure, in the old days men and women alike would make it happen... dropping the wood in the creek and letting it soak until it can be put into a vise to be taught to bend over.. But that is a chore and that would take a bit more time to manage.
I would love to see the finished product... if you have pictures, please mail them on... with your way it was done. This would be something I would like to learn from myself.

Good luck

Greg
 
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Old 10-22-08, 04:08 AM
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Couldn't you just angle a straight piece from the 6' to 3' ?

If it must be curved, could you get enough of a curve by cutting the radius out of 2 - 2x12s and then gluing them together?
 
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Old 10-22-08, 01:55 PM
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Greg,
Thanks for reply; This is pretty much a one-off fence after dealing with the city planning dept. (long story). Anyhow the top-rails are 4x4 as are the rest of the frame with brick post between.

Marksr - I would prefer the curved look, if It can be done. I have seen the 2x12 look but on shorter stepping like 1-2 ft. I donít think it will work for 3 ft x 7ft stretch. Plus i will lose the consistency from the 4x4 look.

Here is my idea, let me know if you think I am wasting my time. Mind that this is just the top rail that needs to be bent.

1. Make a jig out of sheet of plywood 3/4 thick to mount the 4x4 to.
2. Cut a "rough" 4x4 into 1/4 strips on the band saw.
3. Wet/steam the strips into shape and mount sideways onto plywood jig one at a time
4. When the strips total 4" glue them together back onto the jig and let dry.
5. Throw some nails in there for extra hold.
6. Sand smooth
6. Cut end to length
 
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Old 10-22-08, 04:56 PM
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That should work although I don't know if you will need the steam. I've stained/painted curved staircases where they used 1/4" ply to make a curved 3/4" skirt board. They did it all dry. I'd be leary that the steam would both swell the wood and compromise the adhesive. It would probably be a good idea to use the best exterior glue you can find!

I don't know if you intend to stain/seal the fence but keeping a protective coat on the laminated 4x4 should help it to hold up to the weather better.
 
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