Bending Wood

Old 11-25-03, 02:04 PM
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Bending Wood

I want to build a gate that is arched at the top with lattice in the middle. It will be used as part of a fence so I had planned to make the frame out of pressure treated 2x4 lumber.

The arch would be 36" wide by 12" high at the peak, and the dimensions of 2"x4".

I was thinking of cutting it out of two 2"x12" boards but at part of the arch the grain will be short and likely to eventually break.

I tried to find prefabbed arches without luck. Is there any way to bend a 2x4 into the shape of an arch? I have seen plenty of bent lumber in the reject pile at the lumberyard, which gave me this thought.
Old 11-25-03, 03:50 PM
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You can heat lumber with steam and bend it, but bending something 2" thick would be fairly hard this way.....I've bent 3/4" oak like this, but never tried anything twice as it would be sort of a pain to set up steam tube for just one pc....

Probably the best way to do it is make up a laminated you see in church and gym type beam buildings.

Cut your lumber into thin strips, like 1/4" off the "4" of a 2x4 so you have 1/4 x 1 1/2" strips. These will bend easily if the radius isn't TOO sharp. You'll have to make up a form of plywood or something in the shape of the arch you want, then bend the strip around it. Cut another, glue to the first and keep going until you have the thickness you want.....clamp the whiz out of it and let it dry. Scrape off the excess glue when it dries and sand.

You have your arch.
Old 11-26-03, 02:16 AM
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Well, there are several ways you can make an arched piece.

Based upon the type of arch you're going for will depend upon whether a true radius will work.

Believe it or not, there is an art to bending wood too, which most people don't realize. If you laminate the wood together, you need to take into consideration of the spring back. I would highly recommend you buy a book on bending wood. You can find one at

If you do a perfect radius you can lay it out on a big board, then figure out what you would need to miter each piece of wood at so it falls within the marks. Biscut or dowel and use Titebond II yellow glue or Gorilla glue. Lay out however many pieces you're going to need to make this arch.

Make a templete to route a radius. If not sure how to make one, Chime back and I'll explain it as it's a bit of typing to explain it.

Your other option would be to still miter the pieces together, but use a band saw to cut it out on your marks and either use a spindal sander or a belt sander to meet up with the lines.

**Note** Depending upon how tight of a radius you do, sanding the inside with a belt sander could be cumbersome.

Anymore questions or don't understand chime back and tell me what you need to know.

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