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How to Make a Bent Panel

Inventor Daryl Kiel's vacuum-molding machine can make decorative curves on panel doors, drawer fronts and stair treads. Here's how to use the VacuPress system to make a beautiful bent panel.

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make decorative curves on panel,drawers and stairs
  • Time


  • Price Range

    $100 - $250

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Create the Mold

To create the mold, start with one flat piece of hardwood the same size as the work piece to form the base. Use a router (or a jigsaw or band saw) to cut the desired curve of the work piece into three or more pieces of hardwood, depending on the desired width of the mold. Attach the curved pieces perpendicular to the base, using glue and nails (Image 1).

Cut a piece of bending plywood (also called "wacky wood") to the same size as the base of the mold. Place the bending plywood over the top of the mold and it nail in place (Image 2).

Step 2: Apply Veneer

Use veneer tape to cover the seams of the veneer (Image 1).

Use a foam roller to spread carpenter's glue over the surface to be veneered (Image 2). Do not apply glue to the veneer.

Place the veneer on top of the glue, and allow the glue to dry (Image 3).

Step 3: Curve the Wood

Use masking tape to hold the work piece in place on top of the mold.

Place the mold and work piece on top of a 3/4" thick scrap piece of particleboard. Place the particleboard, mold and work piece into the VacuPress plastic bag. Seal the bag.

Turn on the vacuum. The vacuum will suck all of the air out of the bag, then begin curving the wood to the shape of the mold and securing the veneer tightly to the work piece.

curve the wood