How to Bend Basswood

What You'll Need
Steamer or large water pot
Vice grips
Electrical tape
Hot water or steam
Working gloves

Basswood can easily bend compared to some other types of wood. This makes basswood easier to manipulate and much better to use in construction. However, knowing how to properly bend basswood can either make or break your project. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to properly bend basswood.

Step 1 - Preparing the Steamer or Hot Water

To bend basswood, you need to steam it first to soften the fibers of the wood making it easier to bend. There are generally 2 ways you can soften basswood. The first is to steam the wood and the second is to place the wood in hot water for a certain period of time.

To steam basswood, you first need to prepare the steamer where you will need to steam the basswood. Fill a steamer with extremely hot water. Make sure that the steamer you will use can be sealed properly to prevent steam from coming out.

To soften the basswood by placing it in hot water, fill a large pot with water. Allow the water to reach a rolling boil. It is important that the water is extremely hot, boiling temperature is ideal, and that it remains hot for at least 6 hours.

Step 2 - Steaming the Wood

Once you have prepared the method for softening the wood you can then start the procedure of steaming the wood or immersing it in extremely hot water. Place the basswood in the steamer. This type of wood is usually quite easy to bend so allow the basswood to steam until the basswood is soft enough to bend. Generally about 5 to 6 hours.

If you prefer to use hot water, place the basswood inside the large pot with hot water. You will need to soak the wood in hot water for at least 5 to 6 hours until the wood is soft enough.

Step 3 - Preparing the Basswood for Bending

After you have steamed or boiled the basswood until it is soft, you can start bending the wood. It is important that you use a working gloves or heavy duty gloves to handle the hot basswood to prevent burns.

Remove the basswood from the steamer or the large pot. Place the hot wood in a container or area where you want to bend the basswood.

Step 4 - Bending the Basswood

Use the vice grip to bend the basswood. Although the wood is soft enough to bend you still do need to use your strength to bend the basswood in shape. To bend the basswood, grip the wood in the shape you desire. You may need to utilize a container with the same size and shape you want.

Step 5 - Holding the Shape of the Basswood

Once you have bended the basswood in the shape you desire, you need to set the wood to hold its shape.  To hold the shape, use a clamp or electrical tape. The clamps are more suitable for holding shapes that are less complicated. For a more complex shape, use the electrical tape to hold the basswood.

Step 6 - Drying the Basswood

After clamping or taping the basswood in place, allow the wood to dry for at least 24 hours. After 24 hours, you can now start removing the clamps and electrical tape. You can now use the basswood with its new shape.