How to Deal with Springback

For this example, we used 1⁄4" strips to get significant springback. Where the shape of curves is critical, use 1⁄8" or thinner strips.

Q:

The glue-ups for the curved arms on my Morris chair seemed to go well, but when I took them out of the forms, there was springback. I used Titebond III and 18 "-thick strips of quartersawn white oak. Should I be doing something differently? 
—Peter Bradshaw, Doral, Fla.

A:

You could try epoxies and plastic resin glues that are stiffer than typical wood glues, Peter. But like you, we reach for plain, yellow glue for our cold-bent laminations because it’s cheap, easy-to-use, and readily available.

You’re also on track with the 18 "-thick strips. Just take a cue from your glue-up and relax a little. Don’t sweat some springback in your Morris chair arms, which will be firmly screwed in place. When you can’t count on fasteners to pull the part to the correct curve, create your bent laminations first. Then, springback or no, build the rest of the project around the resulting curve.

MDP-066986.jpg
After gluing up any curved parts in a project, mark and cut adjacent parts to match.

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