Did you know that wood can be bent?
I was initially surprised when I saw this blog with a science experiment for children called “A little science with breakfast”. It demonstrated an interesting science craft by bending craft sticks through a boiling process and letting the craft sticks dry in the bent form to become a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) bangle!
The idea seems marvellous to me and I couldn’t wait to experiment with it myself. However, I was curious why wood can be bent through the boiling process. Hence, I decided to investigate further. Interestingly, I learnt that it is perfectly normal that wood can be bent because of their natural properties from the tree as a living organism. Bends in trees are common so that they can withstand the weather such as strong winds or when it is being climbed by an animal. After reading about these, everything seems to make sense.
If you think further, wood bending is also common in furniture making, where different techniques (kerf cutting, steam bending, microwave steaming and laminated wood bending) are applied to do so. In steam bending, wood is placed into a steam box to accumulate the moisture for bending. Wood grows weaker as heat and moisture are added. The effect lessens the moment it is taken out of the steam box, hence the conditioned wood would have to be dried in a mold in order to be bent to its new form. So, yes, you can also try out the little experiment as described in the blog link above.