Freestanding curved filigree panel

I don’t really know what this is good for… maybe a lamp shade? I just wanted to test how hard it would be to combine bent lamination with filigree cutting. “Bent lamination” basically means gluing two layers of veneer together while bending them; after gluing, they stay in that shape. (Unlike living hinges, the goal is a stable more rigid curve, not a flexible one. )

Here’s my first attempt:

Getting the filigree to align between the two layers requires a little work. Along a curve, the outside circumference is larger than the inside one.


So in addition to enlarging the dimensions of the outside piece, you also need to stretch its filigree pattern too. This example had two opposing curves, so the left side needed to be larger on the back piece, and the right side needed to be larger on the front piece.


In theory, the formula for how much to enlarge it is straightforward; the difference in length is

ω T
ω = arc span in radians,
T = veneer thickness.

But in practice — I think mainly because the wood resists bending — I found I needed to exaggerate the stretch to get the desired curvature.

Getting it assembled is a little tricky. It doesn’t suffice to align the pieces at the corners; you need to align them through the whole length, if you want consistent curvature. I arrived at a process of setting the left and right edges first, then setting the midpoint (50%), then continuing to the next midpoints (25%, 75%)… Using pressure-sensitive adhesive sheets made this possible. You can apply pressure to fix it at the edges, while the center remains repositionable.


That is very cool looking! However, there is a lot of wood and even plywood that can be bent amazingly far if very soaked and then forced to bend. Basswood is the most flexible I found though it cannot be varnished as would be the case with PG wood. I would seal the wood in a plastic bag with an excess of hand sanitizer and leave for several days, and then slowly force it to the shape desired and let it dry, Once dried it will keep that shape.

At one point I made a lot of these lamps with a 360 degree bend.


@Purplie - Wow, that is beautiful! I can see that curvature looking great on the front of a box or in shelving. What a lot of thought to figure all that out! Thanks for sharing.

@rbtdanforth - I hadn’t seen your lamp before as it was posted way before I got my GF, so thanks for sharing it here!


Thank you for working this out. Your willingness to share your experience helps all of us look at things in new ways. I look forward to seeing how you apply this method to innovative projects.


This is so cool!


Wow @rbtdanforth , those lamps are really lovely and unusual! Great tip, thank you!


Those are so delicate considering how strong they likely are!

I could totally see them hanging from a chandelier.


that’s an interesting idea, the chandelier.

It’s not that strong though. It’s still only two layers of veneer, weakened by the filigree, so it remains flexible although it springs back to its set shape. But of course one could use more than two layers.


Using that trick or building the ability to steam the wood you can hold the edges in place or seal the material against humidity and not have the issue. Just look at old wooden boats. The wood stays bent for over 100 years.

Right now in the Discord-Show and Tell, there are some using just living hinge


Yeah. That’s why I’m uncertain about a practical use for this.


Makes for a cool feature. I like how you’re always testing.


It’s not like anything in that chandelier is structural - as long as it would maintain the curve when laying “flat” with strings holding it up along the entire length.


I have made a lot of them flat out of cardboard as window shades, and covering smaller spaces, in the Catalog as lamps. I quit making those round lamps because there was far more effort than there would be a return, but I have now thousands of patterns, with some going into those lamps, and a “dancing angel” coaster that seems to have flopped.
I even tried this…



wow, that weave looks like a huge amount of work


It is just a cut enhgrave and bend. Getting the plant to have appropriate depth was a bit harder and I would mark it a fail, but the weave was pretty straight forward. I have a coaster of similar in the Catalog.

Here is another thing to do with the design style…

Or the front of a kitchen cabinet :slightly_smiling_face: