A Simple Hot Pipe Setup For Bending Dulcimer Sides

It is time for me to brush up on freehand side bending so I threw this hot pipe rig together in about 10 minutes. The photograph explains it all. Not shown is the spray bottle I use for wetting down the wood as I bend it.

A simple hot pipe set up for bending dulcimer sides

The first 5 minutes consisted of heating up the pipe and fittings outdoors to burn off of any stray adhesive from the price-stickers, protective grease and oil, evil spirits hiding in the pipe, etc.

I read somewhere that you should not use galvanized pipe because when heated it gives off toxic fumes so I did not use galvanized pipe.

I was going to screw the flange to a board with something to protect the board from heat but that seemed like work so I clamped it in my vice and it works just fine.  I imagine there is a chance the flange could break but I don’t use much pressure when bending so I’m not too worried about it.  For the record I am saying “Don’t try this at home” to cover my butt in case someone wants to hold me responsible for their shot at placing in the Darwin Awards.

The bent fitting on the end of the pipe helps keep the heat inside the pipe as well as away from me. I use a low flame and when a drop of water bounces off the hot pipe it is hot enough for bending.

It would be better if I had used aluminum pipe. I might do that some time. It would be even better if I bought an electric thermostatically-controlled cast aluminum bending iron. I might do that sometime as well..

It would be much better if I had a hot tub outside the door to the shop on a roof surrounded by a luxurious garden with a mountain view, an espresso machine and peace on earth. I’m not holding my breath on that one.