Turn beech wood

Sometimes you need round or half-round curved pieces of wood. Instead of sawing them out of a larger piece in the required shape, which requires a lot of waste and effort, there is also the option of bending wood directly into shape. Why beech wood is particularly well suited for this, read in this article.

Turn wood

Wood is a rigid material that has little natural elasticity. Bending tests without additional measures would cause the wood to buck or break. However, wood can be bent into shapes in two different ways: by gluing or by the so-called Thonet process

Bending by glueing

Wood can be bent using urea-formaldehyde two-component glue. Alternatively, epoxies sometimes work. Wood glue does not work. The glue is simply painted on the pieces of wood, and the piece of wood so coated is then placed in the bending mold. When the glue has dried, the wood retains its curvature. But it has to be suitable wood. However, the bend becomes more successful and cleaner according to the Thonet principle.

Principle Thonet

Beech wood is the most commonly used wood for making chairs. This is due to the fact that beech wood can be easily bent directly after steaming the wood. The Michael Thonet found out already around 1830. Since then there are so-called bentwood furniture.

Thonet process (bentwood technology)

The ability to bend wood instead of sawing out curved pieces of wood from a larger piece has important benefits:

  • cost cutting
  • easy reproducibility of the parts
  • less wood waste, thereby saving material
  • lower production time
  • shapeliness

An important prerequisite for bending is that the wood characteristics must be adapted to it. The wood fibers must not break or buckle. However, if a suitable wood (especially beech wood) steamed over several hours hot, it can be forced into bending templates. After drying, the wood then retains the shape dictated by the bending template.

Red beech wood best

Red beech wood proves most suitable for bending. It has the most optimal wood properties for the bending process, it is flexible and stable. Moreover, beechwood is the most widely used and growing wood species in Europe, making it easily available.

Tips & Tricks

If you want to bend wood yourself, you need to make very stable stencils, usually you need metal stencils. The wood must, even after several hours of moistening, be bent with great force into the respective shape and fixed there. The drying process can then take some time.

Video Board: Woodturning - How To Finish a wet turned Beech Bowl