After not burning down the city with my lightbulb-in-a-box scheme, my first CompWood armbow
dropped to 8 percent moisture content overnight. I removed it from its
form and put one clamp on it across the ends – with a 2×4 between.
I resolved to bend my second armbow by myself. So I modified the
bending form a bit. I trimmed the form’s platform so it was close to the
size of the bow. Then I bored some 2-1/2″-diameter holes in the form so
I could clamp the armbow with cheap F-style clamps. I’ve used this
strategy with cold laminations with great success.
Then I went to
work. This armbow is 1″ thick and 1-3/8″ wide. When I have bent armbows
this wide using steam it is like wrestling a bear and usually takes two
people. So I’m happy that I could pull this off by myself. The above
video condenses the entire bending process, which was 10:08.
lightbulb kiln worked great, but there is always that risk of fire. And I
wonder if I can dry the wood faster. Tonight I’ll hotwire our
three-phase power and run 660 volts through the wood and see what
— Christopher Schwarz