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Old 02-21-2005, 09:23 PM   #29
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It works! Do you think you will need two irons (and two sets of hands) for the longer finish piece? Hmmm, I don't remember a "birch" setting on my iron though
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Old 02-21-2005, 09:43 PM   #30
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Marc - good question. Seemed to remain fairly workable for me. In fact I may have even "over steamed" it. I think this locker is managable by one, but the longer lockers on the driver's side will require some buddy power for sure.
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Old 02-21-2005, 10:21 PM   #31
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Did you use the iron's steam, or did you wet the towels?
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Old 02-22-2005, 06:36 AM   #32
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Uwe - just the steam from the iron. I left the towel (actually two washcloths) dry.
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Old 02-27-2005, 07:23 PM   #33
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Update - Sort of

I wanted to report back on my progress over the last week but there wasn't any. It certainly wasn't for lack of trying. Over the last week I tried three different methods of bending the birch over the frame.

First I tried 1/4" finish birch cut to size using the steam iron. It did not take long at all to realize that the iron that easily bent a 12" test peice just didn't put out enough heat and steam when you upsized it to 67". So the search began for another steam source. After looking at steam cleaners and other ideas I saw a Wagner wallpaper steamer on an end cap at the local HD. $49 later and I had all the steam I needed!

So back to bending; sort of. After steaming the 1/4" birch for about a hour the bending was not going well. The outer plywood was showing some seperation in the grain around the radius and I got some severe warping inbetween the frame ribs. It ultimately made the bend but it looked terrible - kind of wavy.

Next I tried adding some 1/8" kerf cuts to the back of the plywood to try and relieve the stress on the front to eliminate the warping the the opening of the grain. Well about ten minutes into the bend the piece just broke into two pieces. Clearly they aren't joking that the strength of plywood is in the sandwich concept.

So I called around for 1/8" bending plywood and after talking to the wood store guy on the phone it seemed like this bending ply had the opposite properties of regular ply...very flexible and would need a laminate or veneer applied to keep it's shape. Since we thought about laminating if the exposed birch didn't work I was thinking this would be the way to go but they could not get a piece large enough until Monday.

Not being one to sit the weekend out I started experimenting with some other materials I already had around the shop.

First I tried some 1/4" hardboard (like pegboard but without the holes). This bent easily around the frame after about ten minutes of steaming and held it's shape after drying. Hmmm...certainly cheaper than bending ply and with some laminate applied over it who would know. The only downside was that it was really heavy and adding the laminate and 1/4" plexiglass doors would make for some very heavy roof lockers.

So I kinf of thought the 1/8" bending ply with laminate was the plan. That is until until I was playing PS2 with my son in the playroom and looked up at the wall. There hung a 4' x 8' x 1/8" piece of Malonite I had hung as white board for the kids to draw on. This is the stuff in the paneling ailse at HD for about ten bucks and is typically used for paneling bathroom walls.

Five minutes later I had it off the wall and was cutting it to size. It had a lot of potential - 1/8" hardboard so it would bend easily and already coated in a white moisture resistant facing so no laminating or finishing would be required. Plus its cheap and as my wife pointed out - the kids could write on it with dry erase markers on those long trips.

Anyway the test piece bend up well, looks great and other than cutting out the door opening and sealing the endcaps - it pretty much done.

Hope ya'll don't mind the long update but since a few of you out there may be interested in building similar cabinets I felt like the more info the better.

Here's some pics....
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Old 11-28-2005, 01:07 PM   #34
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Any newer updates on this project? Just curious.
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Old 12-02-2005, 10:01 AM   #35
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Alan,
After working on getting the "CCD" look for a while and not having much success bending plywood I ended up going in a different direction. I'm re-using the original cabinet frames, but have stained them dark ebony. I'm also adding frosted sliding doors instead of the raised panel doors.

Interestingly, they look like a darker version of the overhead lockers in the 75th aniversary edition.

Pics here (at bottom)
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Old 12-02-2005, 12:40 PM   #36
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I missed those when you posted them, really looking good in there. It is coming together well.
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