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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 8:52 pm 
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Cocobolo
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Well, I tried my first side bending with Super-Soft 2 with unremarkable results. Honestly, I could tell no difference in the ease of bending or the results that I got not using Super-Soft at all.
I'm still finding that hard to believe from what I've been reading from others.
I sprayed the SS on both sides of the sides, hung them up to dry for 12+ hours and then used Todd Stock's sandwich method (with wet paper) to bend.

I could tell no difference in the bendability of the wood while it was wet or when it had dried before I placed it in the sandwich. Does this seem right?

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:49 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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I agree, me too. Didn't notice a different using the same methods. Since I have a gallon of the stuff I'll use it till it's gone.

I have not used it to bend solid linings yet so maybe it will be obvious with thicker wood idk.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2020 2:16 am 
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I use it regularly. Brush a wet coat to both sides and just let dry. About 1/2 hour at most in my shop which is in the tropics of North Qld. Australia.

Works an absolute treat for me. I have lots of timber with consecutive sets cut from the same flitch. There is no doubt that with the Super Soft it bends far easier than the ones without.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2020 7:14 am 
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I stopped using SS2 and went with windex. One thing for sure is that wood is stupid get it hot it bends.
I have been bending wood over 20 years for guitars and have seen lots of methods.
a few things I have learned
A wood selection is most important , not all wood wants to be a guitar
B thickness I bend like Martin at .075 in thick
C heat I use heat blankets and sandwich with wet paper slat - wet paper-wood-wet paper - slat blanket
I tried the alum foil but found that it takes a longer time for the wood to dry.
Start bending as 250F lower bout 275 upper bout and waist then allow heat to 375F then 15 min at 250F
let cool

D time I am done actual bending in 4 minutes.
If you go too fast you crack too slow you crack.
Hint apply some weight to the slat I use a 2 lb alum chunk and let it hang holding the slat against
the wood , when you see the slat dropping your wood relaxes and is ready to accept the bend

the cool down period is also important.

SS2 is not going to make your wood feel floppy what it does do is allow the cell to become more thermoplastic
Windex does the same thing

personally I think that it is still more wood selection

Think pressing when using a machine

Hand bending use a steam iron along with the hot pipe and then once the wood is movable a slat helps to
hold it in shape to set the cells

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2020 8:37 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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I tried Windex with ammonia too and didn't notice a difference :D could be me though, and perhaps the OP.

I'm not really having a problem bending wood. Only on my first guitar did I have a problem and that was because I didn't use enough heat.

I got some SS2 when just this year for the first time ever I used BRW and thought it was a good idea on 1000 dollar wood sets. I know BRW is known to bend like butter but still. This stuff was really old to and over since used it on other species and have not noticed a big difference. I like to bend sides at about .09in.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2020 11:38 am 
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Just ducked in to check my PMs before heading out for the day, but saw this and felt the need to reply.

Make wood floppy? In a word, no.

What veneer softeners do is plasticize cell membranes AND increase permeability of cell walls so as to allow surface cells to fill with a bulking agent (for SSII, glycol) to prevent collapse of the cells under the highest load due to buckling or shear during bending. Much like what filling a pipe with sand does for bending pipe, those glycol-filled surface cells prevent both tension-related failures on the outside of a bend and buckling failures on the inside.

What we found over 15 years of SSII use and when we bent up all of those scrap sides we had around prior to the Big Clean:

- Most common luthiery woods (plain-figured mahogany, vertical grain maple, cherry, walnut, etc) do not need to be treated if bent using the techniques I have already posted (control the amount of water used, bend as soon as the phase change from liquid to vapor begins in the areas of the bends)

- Rosewoods and other timbers high in resin content don't benefit at all from veneer softeners. Cocobolo in particular can be bent with heat alone at temperatures under 260 deg F, reducing or eliminating the color changes seen with oxidation of the resins in the bent sides.

- Highly figured wood - especially those that are high in silica content (curly anigre) or have relatively low resistance to water-related buckling (curly mahogany, koa, and other acacias) will benefit from SSII or other veneer softener...the greater the degree of figure present and the tighter the bend required, the more likely a successful bend will be when SSII or other veneer softener is used.

- After bending up most of our orphaned side collection using three different veneer softeners (SSII, Pro-Glue, and Veneer Tamer) and Windex with Ammonia D, we found the following:

- - Veneer Tamer and Pro-Glue Veneer Softener were about as effective as wetting the wood for bending...in other words, they were ineffective when bending our 0000 cutaway (1.6" radius) in any wood tested.

- - Windex was effective on mild-figured mahogany, and reduced buckling damage on mild figured anigre, but less effective on highly figure mahogany and curly anigre on that cutaway shape (the mild figure anigre was likely repairable or could be sanded out; the high figure mahogany failed on the outside edge of the side in the cutaway but not the waist, and the curly anigre failed almost completely across the cutaway).

-- Due to our bending history with SSII, we tested just the sides thought most difficult to bend - a rift-sawn highly figured mahogany side, a flat-sawn highly figured ash side, and a VG highly figured anigre side from a veneer back board known to be difficult to bend without flaws. No bending artifacts were noted.

- Woods known to produce cross-grain ripples in bending (flat-sawn ash, some sapele, etc.) see significant reduction in cross-grain ripples when bent with SSII (and I assume, Windex), but the most dramatic reduction in ripples was due to using solid or near-solid bending forms AND SSII.

So to summarize:

- For builders making Golden Era Martin or Gibson reproductions in the woods used during those periods (e.g., no cuts; few tight waists, mahogany & rosewood) , there is little need for SSII or other veneer softener in bending

- For builders working in figured woods and bend tight cutaway sections, veneer softeners reduce the chance of losing a side to cracks, fiber collapse, or fiber delamination

- The replacement cost of one failed premium side more than pays for a gallon or two of SSII (or Windex at about 1/3 - 1/2 that cost)...cost-effective insurance

- Where bending is delayed due to what the boss used to call 'head-up-assedness', SSII reduces the chance of a broken side (although it is likely the side will need to be straightened out and re-bent ...which SSII does a nice job of assisting)

- We use SSII because it is the best product for the job, but Windex with Ammonia D will be good enough in many cases and less expensive. We use Waverly tuners in lieu of Grover open backs due to the same philosophy...buy the best product available for the very few situations where that extra performance makes a difference. For some builders, there will be no meaningful difference between a premium product and good enough - economy trumps utility in that case just about every time,

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These users thanked the author Woodie G for the post (total 7): MikeWaz (Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:57 pm) • Ernie Kleinman (Sun Jan 12, 2020 8:51 am) • SteveG (Sat Jan 11, 2020 3:21 pm) • Joe Beaver (Sat Jan 11, 2020 2:56 pm) • Tim Mullin (Sat Jan 11, 2020 2:55 pm) • J De Rocher (Sat Jan 11, 2020 2:00 pm) • Colin North (Sat Jan 11, 2020 1:35 pm)
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2020 2:55 pm 
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Wow Woodie!!! That was very insightfull and extremely helpful post.
It was most appreciated.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2020 3:36 pm 
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In fairness, SSII is made for veneer and it works great for flattening panels and getting rid of ripples. If it helps with side bending that's a bonus.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2020 11:33 pm 
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Thanks everyone for the insight. I think I'll try just letting the SS2 dry on the wood for no more than 30 minutes and see if that makes a difference.
I guess I'll just have to bend about a dozen practice sides and see what works in my hands.

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Last edited by Bill Higgs on Mon Jan 13, 2020 11:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2020 11:39 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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In my experience it takes hours for SS2 to completely dry. I would think the longer you wait, the deeper it will penetrate the side. As stated above, the stuff is made for veneer thickness so we are pushing it beyond its design limits.

I have used SS2 on actual veneer and it really makes it quite flexible. The flexibility disappears after a couple of days.

Guitar sides are too thick to feel any difference when the wood is cold, but I believe it makes a real difference during bending.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 7:13 am 
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woodie
agree with your results good input thanks

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 8:51 am 
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I have had issues with ebony binding and started soaking with super soft and it made the wood much more flexible but had an idea to immerse the binding for at least a day in a pvc pipe with the one end blocked and the other with a screw plug filled with SS and never break ebony anymore. As for sides I like to keep them wet with the SS for a day by wrapping in plastic wrap after treating. I have never broken a side of hard to bend woods though would rather bend the easy ones.

Fred

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 9:06 am 
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Fred Tellier wrote:
I have had issues with ebony binding and started soaking with super soft and it made the wood much more flexible but had an idea to immerse the binding for at least a day in a pvc pipe with the one end blocked and the other with a screw plug filled with SS and never break ebony anymore. As for sides I like to keep them wet with the SS for a day by wrapping in plastic wrap after treating. I have never broken a side of hard to bend woods though would rather bend the easy ones.

Fred

Pretty much the same here, anything I use SS for just gets soaked and wrapped plastic overnight at least.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 10:31 am 
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I pretty much do the same thing as Fred and Colin. Key seems to be giving the SSII some time to soak in.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 1:17 pm 
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My experience, though not extensive, is completely consistent with Woodie and John's. I can add that SS assists a little bit with cold bending, which is useful at times.

As they said, if the wood isn't difficult to bend, SS has no benefit. I tried it once with EIR, and the EIR bent just fine--as usual--but the resin leaked out more than usual and made for more clean-up.

The SS did help a lot with some curly maple binding that kept breaking. Painting on SS with a foam brush and then waiting 8-16 hours (no wrapping or soaking) made it bend almost perfectly in the bender with no breaks. Due to a little springback I had to hand bend the first piece of maple slightly to fit it in the binding route. Pop! Fortunately I'd made 5 strips. I applied SS to the rest of the strips, waited till the next day, and none broke during gluing. Other than increased flexibility there was no difference--the wood glued as usual (I use fish glue for binding).

I also used SS on a set of quilted maple sides and it bent without faceting, which I think was assisted by the SS.

Since then, I've applied SS to bindings at the waist the day before gluing it. This seems to make the strips more flexible at room temperature, helping me get them taped in tight to the rabbets without any tiny gaps.

If you are new to using SS or Windex, I'd strongly recommend you first try it out on some samples of wood--perhaps cut-toffs from wood you plan to build with--to get an idea of how it will work for you,

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 2:31 pm 
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I use SS 2 on sides and binding both of which get bent on a hot pipe. Regarding how long to treat the wood with SS 2 before bending, the instructions call for at least 12 hours and that's for thin veneers. On my last guitar, I wanted to get things done a little quicker and sprayed Peruvian walnut binding and let it sit for three hours. The waist bend cracked on two of the binding pieces. So I sprayed two replacement pieces and left them and the two cracked pieces to sit overnight. The next morning, all four pieces bent with no issues with the hot pipe set at the same setting. It's just a single data point, but it tells me that SS2 does make the wood more bendable and that letting it soak 12+ hours makes it more effective.

Before I started using SS 2, I tried bending some very curly maple sides and had trouble with the grain separating on the outside of bends at the tops of the curls. Last year, I built a guitar with curly maple sides. I treated them with SS 2 and they turned out to be the easiest sides I've bent so far.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:11 am 
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Good to know. I probably didn't notice a difference because I am using common woods that are easy to bend. I do however have some of the most incredible curly mahogany waiting to be resawn in my stash only it's flat sawn. So the SS2 will most certainly be used there. My worry though is HOW to use SS2 on curly wood? Water and curly wood do not like each other so do you soak it over night wrapped in paper or just sprits it?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 11:22 am 
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jfmckenna wrote:
Good to know. I probably didn't notice a difference because I am using common woods that are easy to bend. I do however have some of the most incredible curly mahogany waiting to be resawn in my stash only it's flat sawn. So the SS2 will most certainly be used there. My worry though is HOW to use SS2 on curly wood? Water and curly wood do not like each other so do you soak it over night wrapped in paper or just sprits it?


For the curly maple I described above, I laid the sides down flat on newspaper and sprayed them until wet. Let it soak in (~ 5 min). Turned them over and sprayed the other side of each side until wet and let it soak in. The sides were then placed on top of a single layer of paper towels on the bench and another layer of paper towels put over them and then a weight was placed over that to keep the sides flat. Left overnight. (I put a sheet of wax paper on the bench top underneath the whole sandwich to keep SS 2 off the bench and another layer on top to keep it off the weight.) My use of the paper towels is based on the instructions for SS 2 on the Veneer Supplies website: https://www.veneersupplies.com/products/Super-Soft-2-Veneer-Softener-Conditioner.html

When I bent the sides on my hot pipe the next morning, I spritzed only the inside surfaces of the bends with water.

I know some SS 2 users spray or brush it on the sides and then hang them overnight and that works too.


For curly koa binding, I spray them until wet and then hang them overnight. Again, I only spritz the insides of the bends while bending on the hot pipe. No issues using this approach.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 11:30 am 
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Thanks Jay.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:28 pm 
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I literally just finished bending Binding that was .120 thick . I sprayed it with supersoft left it almost 24 hrs . Came in and wrapped it in damp newspaper and bent 5 pcs at once on my bender. all 5 survived . stuff works really well .

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