I have run into an issue with steam bending the sides for a mandola I am building. I built a steam box for the occasion, but in the test I did, the wood retained only about 60% of its bend at best. Today, after tweaking a few things and keeping the wood (Bolivian Rosewood) a little more damp than the test, I fear the bends will fare little better. Without getting an actual steam bending apparatus intended for luthiers, is there anything I can do to get more bend in the wood? I am mostly limited to simple hand tools in my current apartment, but might be able to accommodate other options.
To bend the wood, I pressed it and clamped it around a form after having steamed it thoroughly, and through the process used the kettle and piping as a steam gun that kept the heat and moisture up. Even still, there is a great deal of tension in the wood. I intend to leave it in the form for a few days in the hopes that it relaxes a bit into its new shape, but I am not hopeful.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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