Seriously cool way to bend wood (SCIENCE. YEA!)


Gold Member
Instead of a steam bath to soften the lingum bonds in the wood, this guy uses ammonia. It essentially does the same thing - disrupts the hydrgogen bonding between the lignum structures to temporarily soften the wood, but the reults are freaking cool. I don't have any experience steam bending wood, but from what I've heard/read, this process seems to get the wood more playable, more easily, with less spring back.

In the video he gets some success bending 3/8" walnut around about a 6" diameter, which is pretty impressive. I think this would definitely work for snares, no matter how thick the shell. Easy.

Guru Ammonia Series?? lol


Staff member
It has some strong advantages. The primary one being no drying phase, but it has disadvantages too. It's more selective in the wood species it works well with, & of course, you're working with some nasty chemicals, & all the associated dangers of that. Then there's the size of pressure vessel necessary to contain a meaningful quantity of drum shell size boards (think bass drums), with all the attendant costs & regulatory requirements that brings to the party.


Platinum Member
Way back when Noble and Cooley were the only steam bent drums you could find, I tried making my own.
There was no information on how to do it.
Steaming the wood into a bendable state is the easy part.
It's getting it out of the mold and making it round and perfect is the difficult part. It takes an extreme amount of skill, and I tried and failed.

I have huge respect for Guru and others who can do this with such skill.


Senior Member
But that wood looked a bit black, spent and toasted. Kind of like a toenail fungus experiment gone wrong. I wonder if it would...
A. Take a stain?
B. Hold a screw?
C. Hold its shape?
D. Resonate a tone with a head?
E. Even burn?