Steam Bending and Bent Laminations
A Master Class with Seth Rolland


Furniture Making Series Level:   Level II - III


When you add curves to a piece of furniture you can either cut the piece out of a large board and take your chances with weak areas of short grain (where the wood grain runs across the curve, rather than along it) or you can bend the wood. When larger curves are wider than the boards, bending wood is the only way.

There are two main techniques for bending wood:

Steam bending

Using a steam generator to keep a box filled with hot steam long enough to soften the lignin between the wood fibers and then bending the softened wood around a form. After cooling and drying the wood holds its shape.

Bent Laminations

Boards are resawn into laminae thin enough to bend around and conform to the shape of a bending form. The laminae are glued together and clamped on the form to make the final piece. When the glue is fully hardened the piece can be shaped and joined.

Steam bending and bent laminations, both sound fairly straight forward, but like many woodworking techniques there are all sorts of potential pitfalls. In this two day intensive Seth Rolland shows you the techniques for both processes and how to make the jigs, steam boxes and bending forms.

Seth shares his experience working with different woods and how to assess if a board is suitable for bending. In this class you will bend many pieces including some pushed to the point of failure so you can learn to analyze mistakes.

Bending wood demand both patience and trial and error - let Seth save you a lot of those early errors.

Class Description

In this class will learn about:

  • Introduction to Bending Wood
  • Wood selection
  • Making bending forms and cooling forms
  • Dealing with springback
  • Making a steaming box
  • Choosing a steam generator
  • Backing Straps
  • The Bending Process
  • Setting up a bandsaw for resawing
  • Resawing boards to make laminae
  • Flat lamination
  • Tapered lamination
  • Glues for lamination
  • Mechanical clamping & vacuum clamping
  • Reference books for wood bending

Parts of this class may actually occur in the reverse of a normal class with demonstrations, occasionally, preceding the lecture or discussion of theory. This allows for pieces to heat up, cool or the glue to set.

Tools / What to Bring:

  • Safety gear
  • Notebook
  • Camera

More about this class

  • Class Notes
  • Blog Entries


This class is intended for Level II and above woodworkers. You should have had training on safely using a table saw, planer and bandsaw or equivalent experience.

Class Information and Registration

Class starts at 9:00am on the first day.

Please read our What to Expect page for general information about the School.

Please also read our Registration Policy.

Class size: 10
Cost: $300
Materials Charge: $15

Coming Classes:

When you click on the Register link you will be able to register for the class or, if the class is full, sign up for the wait list.

June 1-2, 2013
Steam Bending and Bent Laminations

About the School
 Location & Lodging
     Our organization
     Vocational option

Woodworking Programs

2014 Woodworking Class Schedule

What others say about us

Stay Connected
   Email us
   Join our email List
   Join us on Google+
   Support the School


Port Townsend School of Woodworking and Preservation Trades Copyright © 2007-2014. All rights reserved.

200 Battery Way | Fort Worden | Port Townsend, WA 98368 | (360) 344-4455 | email

The Port Townsend School of Woodworking and Preservation Trades is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit. Any donations made to the School are tax-deductible to the extent provided by law.