Deck-board bending takes time, patience, and planning. Most contractors and building professionals will also need to invest in the proper equipment, such as heating blankets and a control box.
So why go to the effort?
Because when you add deck-board bending to your business, you create a new offering that can attract customers far beyond a typical framing, remodeling, or landscaping company.
With deck-board bending, you can offer new and existing customers a unique option for their outdoor space. Instead of the typical square-shaped decks made entirely with straight boards and 90-degree angles, you can offer, quite literally, decks that are a work of art.
You can provide curved benches, rounded designs, and rails that elegantly wrap around natural elements like trees or boulders.
Adding board bending to your skillset will make you more memorable to customers, potentially increasing “word-of-mouth” recommendations. You could win more jobs, including high-end homeowners who want one-of-a-kind customization for their property. You may even charge more per job, increasing overall profitability.
If you are going to add deck-board bending, it needs to be done right. In the end, practice and experience are essential, but these tips will help you start mastering the art and science of deck-board bending.
Deck-Board Bending: A Quick Review of the Process
Create the Form: Depending on the final product you are creating, you’ll need to build a mold or form to which you will shape the board. We won’t dive into the molds and forms here, just remember to have it ready before you start heating the board.
Drill a Hole in the Board: The control box, which heats the board, has a sensor for the exterior and interior of the material being shaped. The interior sensor, which resembles a meat thermometer, needs to be placed inside the board. To start, drill a thin hole in the side of the board.
Create Your “Sandwich”: The board will be wrapped in the heating blankets, which will then be wrapped in insulation. On the floor or workbench, lay a piece of insulation, the bottom blanket, the board, the top blanket, and a final layer of insulation to complete your “sandwich.”
Set the Control Box: Each control box is different, but your model probably has a setting for decking. Set for decking and select a temperature around 205 to 210. (If you need it hotter, you can always increase, but it’s best to start low and get hotter.)
Let the Board Heat: The heating process will take time, especially for thicker material. Continually check the board to make sure it is becoming pliable. (Remember to use gloves, such as welding gloves.)
Move the Board to the Form: The board cools fast, so you need to act quickly but carefully. Remove the interior sensor and, with gloves, move the board onto the form. Use clamps to gently secure the board. Let it cool and you’ll have a solid piece that has been perfectly bent to your exact needs.
Note: This is a short, all-too-brief description of the process. For a more detailed, step-by-step description, see our video featuring expert Jason Russell.
The Solutions You Need for Decking, Framing, and More!
When you add deck bending to your skillset, make sure you have the right fasteners for the job. FastenMaster offers fastening solutions that improve safety while increasing productivity.