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Daphne Roelants & Manon De Backer


Our experiment is based on the ‘hot pipe’ technique. With this technique, you can bend veneer into nice and controlled shapes. This kind of bending isn’t well known technique and is practiced by a few people. That’s why we wanted to make this our challenge. Learn how to work with a hot pipe, experiment and finally make a nice product with it.

WOOD Wood is a fantastic material to work with. We wanted to know what we can do with wood and what the possibilities are. Later, we chose specifically to work with veneer. There aren't a lot of things you can do with veneer but we wanted to test the limits of this material.

BENDING We started searching for a interesting technique to combine with the material. For us, it wasn't the intention to invent a whole new technique. We wanted to test a technique that isn't used a lot and to experiment with the possibilities of the material.

??? We found it difficult to decide from the begining which product we want to make. We didn’t realy know what was possible. First, we wanted to do test and see which end product we would obtain.

I NSP I RAT I ON BOARD Since we had no idea what product we wanted to create, we searched for an existing products that inspired us. As you see, we want to keep the design simple and not too extreme in terms of the form to accent the bended parts. The simplicity of the form gives the object more character. We also want to limit the number of connections to a minimum, so the product will be a pure and eye-catching.


The first plan was to bend veneer with steam. Later we saw another interesting technique that would be a bigger challenge for us. Hot pipe bending is, as the name reveals, a technique where you have to heat a pipe with a flame. Because of the contact of (wet) veneer and the hot pipe, it starts to bend. With this technique it’s possible to make nice and controlled bends.


We were immediately agree to each other to work with wood veneer. Wood is a well-known material so we searched for a technique that would let the peaople see the material in a different way. After some experiments, we found out that the technique does not work with every types of wood. It’s too dificult to bend tropical types.


It took long before we found a product that fits with the technique, the material and the assignment. We wanted to make something functional but with an abstract look. Through the process, we had totally different ideas of what we wanted to make. (a chair, a bookholder, a candle holder...) We started making random and abstract shapes, which we gave a function afterwards. If wanted, the product can be used as a decorative piece or as a juwelryrack/pad to place pots and pans on. The nice thing about this technique is that the product can be styled however you want and it gives a personal touch to the design.

THE MACH I NE The machine is not only a functional thing. We wanted to give the entire machine an extra dimention by giving it an own style that fits in the idea of the technique and the endproduct. Because the whole process turns round wood, we certainly wanted to work with wood to make the machine. We kept it simple because we wanted to express our style with some eye-catching details. It’s not only the way of producing the end product that is important, the experience while making it is equally important. We think that the styling of our machine contributes to that experience and to make people curious.






DE TAI LS To make the machine a bit better looking, we added some details that give the total more character. To hide the ‘ugly’ gas cylinder, we made a little box with the logo of the subject. Because hot pipe bending isn’t an easy technique, we added an extra manual with all the steps an their explenations. The manual also fits in our style. The color nuances returns in different parts. This makes the entire machine less boring.




Take the torch out of the box and turn the valve to let the gas flow.

When the torch is placed in the box, the flame can be made bigger.



Take a burning match and hold it close to the gas. Be careful of the flame!

Take a piece of veneer and moisten it with some water, to prevent it from burning .



Before putting the torch into the box again, lower the flame by turning the valve.

When the pipe is hot enough (!don’t touch it!) ,bend the veneer around the pipe to the shape you want .



Put the torch into the box... carefully, so the torch doesn’t move.

Afterwards, the product can be finished with varnish or stain.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION DON'T TOUCH THE PIPE! The pipe is extremely hot and can reach a temperature of 500°C. For your own safety we recommend wearing safety gloves.

It's really important that you extingnish the torch afterwards. The gas in the torch can be dangerous. If it comes in contact with fire, it will start a flame and can explode.

Don't force the veneer to bend. For a nice result, you have to take your time. The material is extremely fragile and can break easily.

Read the instructions beforehand and follow them carefully. Take no risks because it can be dangerous.

When you want to finish the product with varnish or stain, be sure that the torch is extingnished. These products are flammable!

CONCLUSION _Did the student find it a good experiment? The first week, I said already I would like to work with wood. I, Manon, am very interested in wood and the possibilities of it. I thought it would be fun to do our experimental with the material that I love. When Manon introduced the idea to me, Daphne, I found it a good idea because I never worked with wood bending before. We both knew we had a difficult start. We knew what we wanted to do but it was difficult to make concrete decisions and we made these decisions a little bit too late. Eventually, we found ‘hot pipe bending’ on the internet. Neither of us knew what it was but wanted to know more about it. After working with it, we both agreed that it is a fun technique, there are a lot of possibilities for shaping the veneer with this technique. We didn’t choose a difficult material because it’s not always necessary to be too innovative. Now you can see a material you already knew in a different way. _Which new insights did the students acquire during this proces? We chose to work with a material we already knew we could work with it. In the beginning, we lost a lot of time experimenting with the usual techniques that were not much of a challenge. It was later that we started to work with new techniques. Eventually, we chose the ‘hot pipe bending’ technique because it is a fun technique with a lot of possibilities. The more we worked with it, the more fun we had while practicing it. We both became really enthusiastic. We made the slow start good at the end. We both learned to take a step into the unknown and it was much better than we expected. _What can the others learn from your experiment and what can you do with it? We think people can learn from this experiment! The combination of the material that people know and this technique is interesting and innovative. Hot pipe bending is not complex and in comparison with other bending techniques, the hot pipe is multifunctional and fun to work with. The use of the tube with the wet veneer is a really simple process that not much people know about. You don’t need to know what you wanted to make before you start. You just bend the veneer and maybe you will discover a fun shape. You don’t need a mould. The most positive thing about this technic is that everyone can use it.

MANON DE BACKER Student Industrial Product Design Howest 04 94 67 56 03 DAPHNE ROELANTS Student Industrial Product Design Howest 04 77 67 73 11

Experimental - hot pipe bending  
Experimental - hot pipe bending