Basswood is a lightweight wood ideal for model-building. Often during a construction project, you will need to bend wood. Basswood, as light as it is, is a relatively simple wood to bend. Bending wood allows you to create complex models or shapes that can accommodate numerous woodworking projects. Bending and shaping basswood for your woodworking projects is easy to do and will allow you to make full use of your creative woodworking potential.
Place the wood you want to bend in extremely hot water, or in a sealed container where you can introduce steam. If you use water, you will need to keep it hot (at boiling temperature) for five or six hours; for this reason, steam may be an easier choice. Food steamers are ideal and can be a good investment if you bend wood regularly. Basswood is especially easy to bend, so a steamer is ideal. Another option is to soak the wood in water and ammonia for 24 hours.
Remove the basswood from the steamer or water after four or five hours. The wood should be soft enough to bend. Use a pair of vice grips to bend the wood in the shape you want it. Even when it is softened, you will need to use some strength.
Once you have the wood in the desired shape, use a clamp or electrical tape to hold it in place. One or two metal clamps work well for simple bends, but electrical tape is more effective for more complex bends.
Allow the clamped or taped wood to dry for twenty-four hours before you remove the clamps or tape. The wood will hold its new shape after this.