Bent is Best3 July, 2014
Woodbender products are manufactured from solid bent wood.
Woodbender prides itself in having perfected this unique method of manufacturing which requires specialised machinery and experienced skilled craftsmen, but why?
Here are four reasons why Woodbender says BENT IS BEST.
1. Green: Bending the wood results in an efficient use of timber when compared to machining and cutting out curved shapes where there is a large amount of wood waste. For example taking a plank of wood and cutting it length ways into a number of pieces and then bending the component to achieve a curved shape results in minimal (if any) waste. However when taking a plank and machining out a curved shape will result in far fewer curved components and a lot of negative space which can be difficult to re-use and therefore creates much waste.
2. Strong: By virtue of using a bent piece of wood, the integrity of the timber grain is preserved which retains the timber’s inherent strength. Cutting out a shape, interrupts the grain and as such can cause areas of weakness.
3. Durable: When assembling a chair out of bentwood components, the number of components required is immediately reduced as several parts are created from a single plank, bent into the necessary shape. For example the standard D-shaped seat (used on the majority of Woodbender styles), consists of 2 parts, the back half-moon ring and the front brace, this therefore requires 2 joints on the seat. Other styles require four components and therefore 4 joints. The more joints used the more chance for weak points and breaking parts.
4. Unique: This method of manufacturing allows for unique styling opportunities which are best achieved through the bending of solid timber.
The bending process:
1. After steaming the wood, it is placed in steel formers and placed onto the machine.
2. The wood is put under pressure from the force of the machine and is forced upwards and into the bent shape.
3. Once the the wood is braced in position with a clip it is removed from the machine and is left to set.
As quoted by Charles Mast “All Woodbender furniture is made with the hard working contract market in mind, there are no exceptions.” Chairs are very hardworking items of furniture and need to be carefully made and designed in order to serve their purpose. After bending wood for 25 years, Charles has proved that this method of manufacturing is the best process for producing chairs that are strong and durable enough for the toughest of working environments, whilst being sensitive to the environment.
Photos by Anna Lusty: Made in my camera