Using plywood template to bend wood

A lamination is when wood is sliced thin enough that it can be bent over a form and glued back together. A parallel lamination is when it is a constant thickness all the way through the part that is being bent. This video covers how to calculate layers and thickness of laminating pieces as well as glue options and clamping methods.

This video was produced for its free video library by The Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, Maine. The Center is a nonprofit, international woodworking school dedicated to providing the best possible education in wood craftsmanship and design.

How to Bend Wood with Parallel Laminates with Tim Rousseau

In this video, Tim Rousseau, an instructor at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, demonstrates how to make parallel laminations. The first thing to figure out is what is the component going to look like, and what will be the process used in lamination keeping potential spring back in mind based on the thickness of the wood and glue used.

Start by cutting strips of wood that will equal the total thickness of the component but at a thickness that is pliable enough to get bent to the form. The most common way to make the laminations is on the bandsaw (followed by the jointer and thickness planer). Choose which way to orient the grain before cutting and mark a triangle on the end grain. Another tip to remember is to mill the blank to at least 1/4" over the final desired width and to cut the lamination pieces a little over final thickness as after they will be planed to thickness.

After dry fitting, arrange and tape down the strips to more easily spread the glue and then stack them together. Depending on if a one-part or two-part form is being used, clamp to the form accordingly and let dry at least six hours.

Check out the video above for a step-by-step walk through of how we bend wood with parallel laminations at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship.

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