I thought you might enjoy a look at my homemade side bender. I now use a heat blanket, it is much more efficient than the old light bulb bender I used to use. Gets the heat to the wood pronto, evenly and it can get really hot, too hot unless you watch it. This bender comes apart. The top with the screw and handle simply comes off with two wing nuts. Makes getting the bent sides out a lot easier. When I get the first side out I clamp it into the form shown on the left to cool and dry. The second side I leave in the bender til it cools.
Now the newly bent sides are cooled and ready to install. Note the bender shown in side view with the top detached. The waist block sits in front of it and the guides which control its position in the bender are shown. This shaped block slides up and down in the bender like a guilletine. In the background right are tops with necks attached, and bottoms waiting for the sides. The Three Tenors are coming along.
I can never resist setting the pieces in their relative positions to get a hint at their final appearance. Oh! this koa is going to make a beautiful instrument, and with a tight grain cedar top it will have marvelous sound. I have some very nice high figured maple binding to go around the edges. I can hardly wait to get this boxed up, but first I have two more sets of koa sides to bend.