Saturday, April 28, 2007

Heading Home

Here you see Al and Bill standing by the chair that Al made this week. We had already packed up Bills for shipping back to California before we remembered to take a group shot! I hope that when I am seventy that I am still seeking knowledge and working as hard as these guys.
Below, Al is using a heat gun to alter the bend in the hand of his armbow. Heat bends wood. I know this sounds simple but it reveals an important truth. One reason for using green wood and steam to bend wood is because it transfers the heat throughout the piece efficiently without breaking down the fibers. It is the heat that is most important. After the workpiece is dried and set, it is still adjustable by gently and slowly heating the area you wish to bend and then letting it cool in the correct or slightly overcorrected position. Just about any piece of dried wood that is flexible and follows the fibers can be permanently bent this way. Localizing the heat is crucial to getting the wood up to temperature. It is important to hold the heat gun far enough away from the workpiece (about 1 1/2") and to keep it moving to avoid scorching the wood and encouraging a break. Experimentation will show the limitations of this technique. A word about safety, I consider the heat gun to be the most dangerous tool in the shop, it is very easy get burned or to start a fire. Don't make me show you the scar!

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