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Curved sofa arms5/2
We have received a commission to build a walnut sofa that is to incorporate the curved arms similar to the attached photos. My first thought is to do a bent lamination assembly. I had considered doing steam bending but two concerns made me rethink that method 1) tight radius at rear of arm using walnut 2) maintaining accurate dimensions between the arms so they can be integrated with sofa frame. Another question is how to best get the tapered shape of the tops of the arm. I could imagine the easiest way is to template rout the flat stock then steam bend. So maybe a compelling reason to reconsider steam bending. I came across this web site for bendable wood, which could work. Anyone have any experience with it? http://www.flutedbeams.com/discovery.html Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
Not sure what your, or your customers, specifications are but are you sure the arms in the image are a single piece?
The image quality is not great but zooming in it looks as though there may be a joint in the left arm. If that were the case one could guess the arms in the image may be 4 piece/segmented?
This is all moot if you, or your client, insists on one piece arms.
It was my thought as welI, thinking that the break would be at the lower part of the notch on the arm. I have a few other photos and as try as I might I can't convince myself that there is any break anywhere.
When doing work like tapering prebent parts we will take a piece of bending ply and cut it to shape. Then we'll wrap it around the curved piece and either flush cut with a router bit and template guide or bearing, or trace and band saw to shape. It is easy to cut the bending ply to shape while it is laid out flat.
Are you suggesting bending the material and then template rout after glue up? I had thought of that but my concern was that the back section of the arm is only 2” wide with a 4” radius and that it would be difficult to keep a laminate trimmer balanced and square to the cut. The more I think about it, it does seem to be the way to do it.
Tapered bent lamination! Simple, repeatable and far stronger that piecing 4 parts together! The bending form can even be used to shape the arm once the glue is cured. Don't use yellow or white glue as it will allow some creep and the glue lines will tend to stand proud of the wood after some time. I use a 2 part U/F glue or hide glue and with walnut you will be very hard pressed to tell that the arm is laminated and you will have an even harder time identifying the glue lines!
Well thinking that the break would be at the lower part of the notch on the arm. I have a few other photos and as try as I might I can't convince myself that there is any break anywhere.
Try to Apply elements of modernism, such as minimalism and asymmetry.
breaks in arms does not look good... as weather changes wood gets shrinked or expand... the breaks will get prominent if wood will get shrinked...