Plywood bending

Bending wood in general

Conventional solid wood can be bent relatively well with water vapor, but requires a great deal of experience. Because each piece of solid wood differs greatly from wood of the same type of wood. Slightly easier is the bending of plywood. There are even different materials that can be used instead of plywood.


  • Bending Plywood
  • MDF Bending Plates
  • Plywood is easier to bend than wood

Basically, the techniques used to bend plywood are very similar to those used to bend solid or glued wood. This means that the most important ingredients you need are water vapor or moisture and a bending aid.

Disadvantages of plywood bending

However, plywood is extremely dry. Normally, very dry wood can not bend. This is different with thin plywood. For very thin plywood panels, it may even be enough to just soak the plywood panels in water well enough. Of course, however, softening in hot steam is clearly preferable.

Turn water vapor into plywood

The steam must reach a temperature of 100 degrees Celsius and there must be no pressure. For smaller plywood boards you can therefore easily build a steam tank. In addition, you also need straps and possibly a negative mold or the fitting on which the curved plywood is to be glued.

Because even plywood tends to bend unchecked even after drying. Therefore bent plywood parts are often already glued to corresponding elements during bending - especially if the plywood was glued without steam.

The Thonet principle

Preferably you have a negative mold. Then a bending band or a bending plate (also in the corresponding bend) made of metal should be placed on the outside of the plywood. Then the plywood is then bent and then fixed with the straps. This approach is consistent with the almost 200-year-old and still current Thonet principle. Effekt Bending more effectively using the Thonet principle

The bending belt or the bending plate absorbs part of the forces that would otherwise act on the outside of the plywood. Thus, the plywood is more flexible than conventional and tears later. However, you must always keep in mind that even flexible plywood is only flexible to a certain degree.

alternatives to plywood

Depending on the application, you can also use the already mentioned and especially thin MDF boards, as well as special bending plywood. As a rule, these materials can be deformed without water or water vapor; for this, they must be fixed to the corresponding negative counterparts while bending. Of course, these types of plywood must be fixed with a strap until the adhesive has cured.

Tips & TricksThe hot steam dissolves the lignin cells and makes them move in opposite directions. By subsequent drying and cooling, the wood cells solidify again, the plywood is bent. The house journal offers you numerous articles for bending of materials. So of course also turn to the wood.

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