Introduction: Bent-Lamination Guitar Stand

With this basic technique, you can make strong and graceful curves out of scrap wood and regular wood glue.

Step 1: Cut Your Laminations.

For the center stem of this stand (or any long, stiff element) you want pieces of wood about 3/8" (10mm) thick. Softwoods bend more easily, but hardwoods are more durable. Avoid knots and other defects and pre-bend the wood with your hands to make sure it doesn't crack.

Step 2: Glue and Clamp

The best glues for bent-lamination are slow-cure, hard-setting glues like Epoxy or Urea glue. But never fear; you can get along fine with regular wood glue. I recommend adding about 10% water to your glue to thin it and extend your open time. Brush it onto your laminations, stack them and bend them in place.

Lots of people use a form for this, but I use a central bending point and heavy weights to make the curve. I found chunks of railroad track work really well, but anything heavy will get the job done.

When clamping, you want to eliminate any gaps in the laminations. Use screw-based clamps, like C-clamps and use a TON of them. No such thing as too many.

Leave your glue-up for a full 24 hours. After that, pull off the clamps and sand or plane off any uneven laminations or glue.

Step 3: Connect Elements

Once you have two or more laminated curves, you might want to connect them together. You have a lot of options here. Glue and dowels work really well. Keep your dowels as small as possible to preserve the structure of your laminations. I use little cutoffs from bamboo chopsticks.

You can also use a nut and bolt, especially if you want your piece to come apart in the future.

I don't recommend screws as they are likely to split the laminations.

Step 4: Scale Down for Tighter Curves.

For the first element in this project, we used relatively thick laminations and only a few of them to create a gentle curve that was strong. If you want to make a more tightly curved element and still keep it strong, move to a thinner laminate. Commercially-made veneers are perfect for this application and are pretty cheap when ordered online. For the tight curve shown here, I used 6 strips of standard furniture laminate. It's about as thick as card-stock and easy to cut with a razor.

To get my tight curve, I used a piece of pipe as the form and them put on lots of clamps during glue-up.

Just like before, eliminate any gaps. Dry for 24 hours. Sand to clean up.

Step 5: Finish With Something Durable

You really need to finish bent-wood projects. You can't have moisture getting in there and messing up your work. An oil finish won't do the trick. You need hard film finish like polyurethane. Personally, I like spray lacquer. It's easy, durable, and dries fast.

Step 6: Use Your Piece!

When complete, bent lamination projects aren't just pretty, they're surprisingly strong and springy. I've made a guitar stand this time and the pieces barely flex when I hang the instrument. You could make the legs of a table or even a fancy chair using this technique.

Good luck!