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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:32 pm 
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Hi All,

been a while since i was here but getting back into this hobby. So since it is a hobby, what are peoples thoughts on side bending machines? I realize buying one is expensive but is it expensive compared to the time and effort it takes to make one? i am not looking to start something controversial but wanted to see what others opinions are. if buying one, which do you recommend? If building, any specific plans out there? I have the majority of other tools so this would really be the only jig left for me (except maybe sanding dishes). And lord knows I spent enough on wood from all the suppliers here in the past...

Anyway, thoughts on this?


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:45 pm 
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Location: Cobourg ON
First name: Steve
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Country: Canada
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I’d rather build guitars than jigs. And luckily, I can afford to indulge myself that way.

Also, I suck at building jigs :-)

Steve



These users thanked the author JSDenvir for the post (total 2): jack (Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:13 am) • Michaeldc (Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:21 pm)
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:59 pm 
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If you do decide to build yourself I can recommend that you contact John Hall at Blues Creek Guitars and get his universal bending caul. I picked up one to add to my bender that I built myself. It’s a great addition and a big step up from the caul I had made from thin slats.

Brad


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:02 pm 
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Depends on how much time you have and how you value it.

I bought one from John Hall as well, full kit with cutaway bender, blankets, and controller. I can save money doing it myself, or use that time making guitars/money to buy it with and get that much closer to another order out, so it's pretty much a wash...

But if times not an issue, you can save loot by making your own...


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:14 pm 
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Yeah that's what I thought since I value my time. And like the other post said, I suck at jig building...that solves that dilemma


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:19 pm 
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First name: Don
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I bought the plans and built one. It went together fine. It would have been faster to buy one, for sure.

Here is a left field comment: I’m really enjoying bending by hand at the moment. Think about buying an electric bending iron instead of buying/building a Fox bender.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:44 pm 
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If I was going to use a bender I'd probably buy one. Sometimes the cost in time alone is enough to justify it plus typically when you buy one you are buying one from someone who has made lots of them and as such is good at it. I'm not big on jigging up myself. I've built plenty of them but only when it really makes sense at least knowing my abilities and frustration level ;)


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:45 pm 
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I've built a Fox-style bender (Georgia Luthier Supply plans) and assembled a digital temperature controller for it, and a pipe bender with a heat blanket, for that one used a dimmer switch I had lying in my electrical pile of stuff, and a clockwork timer for safety's sake, on the pipe bender.

It took weeks and a fair bit of assembling and online ordering of parts when local sources didn't have what I wanted. And a bit of patience waiting for the bender's heating blanket to wander across the Pacific.

It helped to have a fair bit of the lumber for the bender and the mold already on the shelf, and the slats used in the 'sandwich' in the mold, and the surface of the mold itself were scrounged from a friend's stash of aircraft aluminum.

if you can buy what you need without angina, do it. But making your own tooling extends the made-it-myself aspect of making one's own guitars.

It's each person's choice, both approaches are valid.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:56 am 
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I also got the plans and built one. Really, it wasn't so difficult. I have actually made a lot of jigs (including bending forms and molds). I figure if I can make a guitar, I can make a jig. They don't have to be pretty, just functional. It sure saved me some money...


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:42 am 
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I didn't build a bending machine, I built a block form, and I built it with the "off fall" of the plywood I made the building form from. I carefully saw out the outline of the body and use the outside piece for the building form and the inside piece for the bending (block) form. After sanding and routing the pieces (first sand one piece to remove any irregularities and then use it to pattern rout the rest) you have about the right amount of "gap" between the building form (outside form) and bending form (inside form) - about the thickness of the wood for the sides.
When bending I use a heat blanket and a "blanket" of kerfkore that I can clamp around the form. I also use the block form for laminating sides using veneer and West System epoxy. I use clamps in place of the "machine"
For most bending machines you need to build a block form to provide something to bend around, and unless you go with popular shapes you will be making the block form yourself, so why not try using it by itself before buying a bending machine.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:10 pm 
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Jim Olson would much rather build cool jigs than guitars. That's the truth!

I tend to be that way at times. There is a lot of satisfaction in a well thought out jig that actually does what you hoped it would. For me that would be about 20% of my attempts.

Nothing wrong with buying one, as mentioned above you still have to make your bending forms. You might find after you buy it you will probably do mods to make it fit your style better.

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These users thanked the author Terence Kennedy for the post: jack (Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:16 am)
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:17 pm 
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I built my own, but then I enjoy making jigs. It does take longer, especially if you have a job. At one time there were plans available for the Fox style bender, which is what I used, to make mine with some slight modifications. That print has been passed on through this forum, in the classified section, several years ago. Maybe you can advertise in the classified section to buy as set if you choose to go that way. Prints make jig building much less intimidating, and much quicker.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 2:17 pm 
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Well first I bought the plans... I looked at them and thought , “nah I want to build guitars not jigs”, then I got one from blues creek
Message me if you want the plans and I’ll ship them to you at cost of shipping.


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These users thanked the author SnowManSnow for the post: jack (Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:28 am)
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 2:56 pm 
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Built all mine jigs except the current one . kindly donated by aaron craig of the OLF


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 4:34 pm 
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There are two in the shop - one is a Blues Creek (a gift from a former student) and one shop-made (original light bulb bender converted to blanket). We've done a machine for each of the build students that was interested, so 3 so far in the time I've been here. We make a dedicated waist caul for each shape, so removed the universal caul from the Blue Creek bender and installed a standard waist fitting with a 1/4" ply index plate. We also do four-ply forms for each shape (used to do solid, but no real advantage), which minimizes cross-grain ripples when working in ash or other movement-prone woods.

The LMII plans are good, and for a woodworker with even limited experience, a table saw and a band saw, easy to follow and produce a quality bender. We would definitely recommend the Blues Creek bending blanket and spring steel slats, even if the rest of the machine is fabricated in your shop.

We no longer use a thermocouple or other temp controller other than an inline timer and router control rheostat for bends - we start the bend when steam is first observed and bend as quickly as possible through setting the waist. The biggest hazard in side bending seems to be exhausting the water supply before the bend is completed, so we move quickly once steam is present.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 5:55 pm 
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I liked the LMI over-arm side bender a lot. I thought how hard would it be to build one? I didn't like the cauls that are routed into the LMI molds because I wanted to be able to create my own shapes and not be locked into LMI shapes. So it was either buy the LMI jig and throw away all the wood bits I don't like, or build my own.

I went the build my own route. Blanket and controller from LMI. All hardware from McMaster Carr (80/20 aluminum channel hardware mostly). Spring based side cauls like the Fox bender instead of the LMI do-hickeys. After my 3rd order to McMaster Carr, I summed up all the costs. It would have been more cost effective to just buy the LMI jig and just throw away all the wood bits I didn't like and redesign that part of it.

My jig works great. But I wouldn't recommend that path. It took too long to design and go through a couple of revs of building until it was the way I liked.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 6:38 pm 
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I've built my bending form (not a jig, just the form). its ugly and hideous but gets the job done. took a couple of hours to do with my power tool impoverished workshop. 2nd hand blanket, some plywood leftovers, some cauls and 10 clamps (iirc). i don´t even have a rheostat, i just use a meat thermometer and plug/unplug to dial it in.
now i´m feeling cheap... must build a new one.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:12 pm 
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I think it depends on many factors--not the least of which is how many guitars you think you might build. I've built several instruments, but no two were alike. Thus, I have always preferred to bend by hand over a hot iron and fit to an outside mold. With a bit of practice, it can be quite accurate.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 9:59 am 
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Pretty simple really...
Have the time? Build it.
Have the $$$? Buy it.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 10:35 am 
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Knowing I was going to focus on a single size and shape for a while, I banged a simple bending jig out quickly and inexpensively. It works.

Image

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 3:06 pm 
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Haans wrote:
Pretty simple really...
Have the time? Build it.
Have the $$$? Buy it.

Exactly.

Dinner: eat out or at home?

Andy


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 11:48 am 
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I just built a form out of mdf, finished it with polyurethane, and now use it as a bending form held in my vise. I use two pieces of 2x4 cut to width and one piece that I rounded to fit the waist. Then, I use Quick Grip clamps to hold things in place. The process is simple. I use a set of John's Stainless slats and a blanket with a router speed control from HF, and a meat thermometer to control the heat while baking. Like Woody, I bend when I see steam, and am finished before the temp reaches 300* usually. Takes about 1 minute to do the bending and clamping. I do wear gloves! Takes up little room when not being used, which is a plus for me. Where would I put a bending machine?

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These users thanked the author WaddyThomson for the post: Bryan Bear (Tue Mar 06, 2018 12:23 pm)
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 1:22 pm 
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I think that the clamping pressure of the ratcheting clamps outperforms the sprung clamps inherent to a Fox bender. And is infinitely adjustable. Really impressive minimalist bender! Once you don't need light bulbs, things can be different. Wish I saw this before I built my Fox bender.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 5:57 pm 
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FrankC wrote:
Hi All,

been a while since i was here but getting back into this hobby. So since it is a hobby, what are peoples thoughts on side bending machines? I realize buying one is expensive but is it expensive compared to the time and effort it takes to make one? i am not looking to start something controversial but wanted to see what others opinions are. if buying one, which do you recommend? If building, any specific plans out there? I have the majority of other tools so this would really be the only jig left for me (except maybe sanding dishes). And lord knows I spent enough on wood from all the suppliers here in the past...

Anyway, thoughts on this?


If you're still in the market for a bender there is one listed int he classifieds now from Blues Creek with 3 molds (including a cutaway).

Brad

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 6:32 pm 
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At thst price I'd jump at it if I hadn't built my own (for half the price but ten times the time)

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These users thanked the author Colin North for the post: bcombs510 (Tue Mar 20, 2018 7:52 pm)
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