Category Archives: Side Bending

Gluing the sides

Next I am gong to glue up the bent sides to create the form for the body. This is pretty straight forward but one thing is to keep the end blocks centered and square to the side.

Before gluing it up my sides are 100mm wide. The body will have a taper on it. That taper was penciled in before bending so I will know how deep to plane.

With the bent side in the mold make a pencil mark to cut side to length. The end should line up to the center mark on the mold.

Using a square block, clamp it down and cut to length.

The body will be tapered toward the neck so the neck block will be cut to 80mm and the tail block to 95mm. The ends of each block are cut at a 4 degree angle so the dome plates mate nicely.

Make a center line mark on your end block and have the two ends of your sides meet at the center line. Using a square make sure your block is square to the side. Spread glue and clamp it.

After about two hours or so you can do the other end.

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Side Bending

In this next post I will bend some rosewood sides thicknessed down to 2mm.

Tape up the bookmatched sides for the jointer.

Thickness them down to 2.1ish mm.

Some final hand sanding.

The sides will be tapered so I use a template to pencil in the taper and then make another pencil mark as a reference for placement on the bender.

I am using a heat blanket for the heat source and some flashing to make a sandwich. From the bottom up I have wood, flashing, heat blanket, flashing. The flashing protects the wood from getting burned.

See the mark is lined up to to mark on the bender. I want the bookmatching to be the same.

Everything in place I applied a spritz of water on the surface of the wood and start bending.

Let the wood heat up. If you have a thermometer start bringing down the press slowly when the temperature reaches around 250-300F. Don’t force the wood to bend and as you apply pressure you can feel the wood giving in.

Here you can see the bent side in the mold. But I had some problems fitting it. I couldn’t figure it out until I read online that I should make my bending mold about 2mm smaller than my body mold to account for the wood thickness. So I took everything apart and shaved 2mm off the bending mold and did it over.

I was worried that re-bending the wood would not be successful as wood plasticizes and sets when you heat it.

I had no problem with the second bend. A nice fit.

The Fox bending jig really is the cats meow for hobbyist and professional alike. Easily adaptable and almost no fail it’s a total winner. This was my first time to bend guitar sides and even though I had some problems I was able to go back and re-bend the sides to a perfect fit.

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Side Bender

Finally back with some pics uploaded to my server. Still having the same problem with my domain so for now I am updating this from a friends place.

Currently I have the top and back plate finished and will move on to the side bending. There are two basic ways to bend the sides: 1. A bending iron, which can be an electrical device or a simple pipe with a flame heating it. 2. The second is the widely popular Fox Bending jig invented by Charles Fox in the mid 70’s. For mine I made a Fox bending jig.

A simple cradle with the body cut from the template.

Check the fit.

The sides of the jig with a routed slot for the press to slide up and down.

Check the match.

I want the routed slot to match up to the bend.

Screw the sides on.

Make a caul to fit the mold.

Fit the caul in place, screw it altogether with the press hardware.

A finished Fox bending side jig.

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