I HAVE DISCOVERED a new and better technique for bending pinecone uke sides. I made an elaborate bending jig with several clamp-down devices but find that it is far easier and more effective to ignore those clamps and simply bend the curves over the jig by hand. See the following
Here is the bending jig with its various clamping devices just hanging unused. I simply drape the heat blanket over it and then with leather gloves and a piece of wood in one hand, I slowly bend the side over the jig. In this picture the side is partially bent but it will get better. I am going to remove the hardware as it really gets in the way for future bending
1. Here I have completed the first bend and am holding the ends together with my gloved hand at the bottom of the jig to let the side get a bit of extra heat to set the bend.
3. Here I have turned the bending jig over and am bending the sharper bend where the side curves to be inserted into the neck. Notice the wooden block in my glove holding the end against the heat blanket. then with the other gloved hand you slowly press down on the side and the wood conforms nicely to the sharper curve.
5. This is the turtle, a really slick assembly jig that I built. An invaluable aide in glueing on the sides.
7. The side is glued to the butt plate and to the spruce top and held in lateral position by the adjustable walnut sliding braces. It is held tight against the top by the eight Irwin Clamps, and tight against the butt block by the red handled C clamp.
2. Here are three of the six sides with the wide bottom bend completed. I will do all six of them and then turn the jig over to make the sharper bends at the neck end of the body.
4. Here is the final result, six perfectly bent Pinecone sides. Took me about 35 minutes, easiest bending I ever did. That hardware is useless.
6. First you dry fit the sides to the top and neck and carefully trim the ends to the proper length, They were intentionally made a little long to allow for this last minute adjustment.
8. And here is the goal, The sides firmly glued to the spruce top with tentalones glued entirely around the entire instrument. It will soon be time to start carving the maple backs. Just two more ukes need to have their time on the "turtle" and all the sides will be attached.