Low Tech Side Bending - Bending With Forms and Heating Blankets

Form Construction:Bending machine mold made from MDF.

  1. MDF (medium density fiberboard)
  2. Cut outside to exact desired shape. Cut inside of mold 3/16th of an inch smaller than the actual guitar size. This allows for thickness of wood, metal, and heat blankets.
  3. Set mold up on legs high enough so that clamps can go underneath easily.


Side Preparation:

  1. Setting up the mold to bend the wood for the guitar sides.Sand to desired thickness. Mine are .080-.090 inches.
  2. Cut to desired width. Mine are 4-3/4” inches. This starting width works out well for side depth of 3.5 inches at neck and 4 inches at access panel without having to remove an excessive amount of material when bringing sides to proper profile. Most sides are wide enough to yield some bindings when bringing sides down to desired width.
  3. Mark waist on both sides.
  4. If necessary, wrap sheet metal in aluminum foil. I Bending the guitar sides using the low tech bender.use inexpensive strips of galvanized metal. The foil guards against stains on the metal and the wood.
  5. Wet down wood with distilled water.
  6. Lay up sandwich of heat blankets, wood, and metal.
  7. Clamp sandwich at both ends. Clamps are used to handle hot sandwich.
  8. Plug in heat blankest.
  9. Lay sandwich over mold an allow it to sag. This brings the surfaces into close contact.
  10. When sandwich begins to steam and smoke, unplug heat blankets. Press the sandwich tight into the mold using clamps. Be aware of alignment point and waist of mold.
  11. Plug heat blankets back in until the sandwich steams and smokes again.
  12. Unplug heat blankets. Let mold sit over night to cool and for wood to dry out.

Chris Jenkins