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 Post subject: Bending balau.
PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:49 pm 
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This spring I'll be building some decking out of yellow balau and would like to incorporate some curved steps.The steps themselves should not be a problem but I need to curve the facia.The boards are 145mm x 21mm.How easy would this be by slotting from the back and bending? I do have a circular saw for the cutting.


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 Post subject: Re: Bending balau.
PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:44 pm 
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keithski122 wrote:
How easy would this be by slotting from the back and bending? I do have a circular saw for the cutting.

I don't think that kerfing is a suitable technique for exterior use. When used internally (on skirting boards in bay windows and the like) it is in an environment where it is hardly likely to come in contact with much moisture - outdoors, however, is a different game. In fact, when you think about it, how many curved stairs have you ever seen outdoors (in the UK)? Only asking because I personally can't think of any. This is possibly because of the three normal techniques for producing curved timbers - steaming, brick lamination and veneer lamination - steaming is limited to the species it works with (most of which, like beech, are not durable) and is difficult to achieve in the two planes required for a curved stair riser, whilst the lamination techniques are dependant on the glue bonds holding which is far less likely when stuff is constantly exposed to the elements. If you do succeed I'd be interested to see what it looks like after, say, 5 winters

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 Post subject: Re: Bending balau.
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:38 am 
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I'm not sure if I've ever used this timber although I may have done but anyway I googled images of it and while they are pretty much not curved this one did appear ,
https://www.evoke-landscape-design.co.u ... yorkshire/
Not sure how the curves equate to what you are planning . They don't mention anything more than persuasion and patience . Perhaps it might be worth an email , they may offer advice or tell you where to go but you won't have lost anything.
There have been times when we've needed a curved timber and have simply wet a length and placed it between two oil drums and piled bricks in the centre adding a few more each day and leaving it for a week or two. It's a bit primitive and hit and miss but the timber pretty much always came out with a bend on it which made the persuasion that bit easier.


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 Post subject: Re: Bending balau.
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:28 pm 
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I'd agree with the others. Most / all bending techniques are as said reliant on the timber used or glue bonds. none will stand the test of time outside.
Sounds to me as if they have just "persuaded" it around the bends on that site that Grendel has posted. First stop for me I think would be to prop a board up on a couple of piles of blocks or something, and see if it will bend by springing, and if so how much.
I would think that you can forget tight radii though.


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 Post subject: Re: Bending balau.
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:22 pm 
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Thanks for the replies.
This is a link to something I had found on curved decking http://www.deckingbuilder.com/0Pfris77w ... dDecks.pdf
As the steps are not very high I would ony need to curve two pieces, probably quite a tight curve though, one internal curve, one external.I would be building a wood block subframe to the rear and screwing it to that.Might have to try with a small offcut before I do the proper deck.


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 Post subject: Re: Bending balau.
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:26 pm 
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I'm still concerned about using a technique such as kerfing on exterior timbers in our wet climate. By kerfing you are in fact sawing through the 2 to 3mm surface layer of treated timber and exposing the core, which is untreated. The technique may be viable in a relatively warm and dry climate such as California, Texas or even Ohio - IMHO it's far less suitable for a climate which is wetter than a large part of the USA (round here you need to pressure wash the mould off decking once or twice a year to avoid nasty slips and falls). The issue is not one of "can it be done?", but more one of "how long will it last?". If you do go ahead with it make sure that you end seal all the cuts thoroughly.

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Last edited by Job and Knock on Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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